THE BLOG

Vote Labour - Save Our Democracy

07/06/2017 13:06

I knew he was popular.

I voted for him. Twice.

But I'll be honest. I didn't expect this.

Jeremy Corbyn is, undoubtedly, a serial campaigner. It's who he is. It's what he's good at.

But he is also becoming something greater: a serial winner.

Not only does Jeremy Corbyn make up the small number of MPs who have - in every election since 1987 - kept their vote share above 50%: he also remains one of a handful of MPs who have retained - at the expense of their Parliamentary careers - their principles.

It's what elected him leader of the Labour Party (twice) and what should, above all, win the election.

It is Jeremy's principles of social justice, fairness and equality that have proven - time and again - that he - not the establishment - was on the right side of history.

Whether working for peace in Northern Ireland, protesting apartheid, opposing the Iraq War or voting against tuition fees and the privatisation of our NHS; Jeremy has made tough - but necessary - decisions throughout his political life, and it is these principles which motivate and energise the Labour campaign.

But for all Jeremy's principles, there is one he holds above all others: Democracy.

It's why he attended the BBC debate and Woman's Hour interview (while Theresa May refused), it's why he challenged Theresa May to debate in the Question Time special and it's why the renewal of Trident remains in the Labour manifesto. Decisions must be made in the national interest - and the national interest must not and cannot be decided by one person.

The process of democratic engagement - of transparency and accountability - are the central principles of Jeremy Corbyn's campaign and, as above, the driving force behind the Labour manifesto.

The belief in acting together - collective endeavour - is what makes Corbyn fit for Prime Minister; and Labour the only real choice for genuine change in this country.

Theresa May has different priorities.

It's why she allowed her advisers to add the Dementia Tax to the Conservative Manifesto (without consulting her Ministers), it's why - until recently - she refused to take open questions from journalists and - again - it's why she's refused to debate Jeremy Corbyn.

Whatever the reason, one thing's clear: the only leader worth having is a leader who's willing to be held to account, examined by the public and challenged on their policies.

Theresa May failed this test a number of times. But it's nothing new. As Yvette Cooper mentioned last summer, Theresa May "hides when things go wrong," helping her "survive as Home Secretary."

I don't want a Prime Minister who refuses to be held accountable. I don't want a leader who avoids scrutiny at any cost. I don't want someone who takes voters for granted; who would rather lose a general election than face the public.

Theresa May is - fundamentally - unaccountable. And when you're unaccountable - when you avoid scrutiny - when you are - clearly - afraid of the public: you're dangerous.

Scrapping the Human Rights Act and policing the internet are just two of the latest knee-jerk reactions of a Prime Minister in crisis. That policies as serious as this could be proposed in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack reveal a weak and chaotic government led by a dangerous and insecure Prime Minister.

I don't want a dangerous Prime Minister leading the Brexit negotiations. I want a Prime Minister with the guts, decency and sense of responsibility to negotiate a fair deal which protects jobs, living standards and public services; a Prime Minister who will be answerable to the voters, who enjoys public interaction; who defends the journalists who interrogate them when they make a mistake.

I want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister because I know - no matter what happens - he is not afraid to be held accountable the millions who elected him.

Don't vote Labour just because of the policies. Vote Labour because - even if you don't agree with everything Jeremy Corbyn says - even if you don't like him - you can be sure he's willing to discuss the issues, to be challenged on the policies and be answerable to you, the public. He will never shy away from scrutiny. Corbyn's campaign - and indeed his 30 years in Parliament - have proven that.

This election is about who is willing to take responsibility for their actions. Who can stick to their pledges. Who can stand by their manifesto and who is willing to be held accountable by the public.

The status-quo isn't good enough. We cannot live with another five years of unaccountability, a refusal to debate the issues, a defensive government basing laws and campaigns on personal attacks and negative press.

Theresa May does not deserve to win this election. She has led a campaign based on fear, personal attacks and a refusal to appear in public. The Conservatives do not want to be held to account in government, and they have not been held to account in this campaign. They have taken this election for granted and watched as their lead has slipped to within just one point of the leader they've attacked so vigorously.

My plea to you is this: demand better.

We do not approve of negative campaigns. We do not approve of hiding from the public. We do not approve of abandoning pledges, uncosted policies and manifesto u-turns. We demand more. We demand better. We demand a serious engagement with the public, participation in the democratic process and campaigns based on policies, not personalities.

On Thursday, make the courageous choice. Whether you're Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, Plaid, UKIP or SNP, vote for the only Party which can - and deserves - to win.

A victory for Theresa May and the Conservative Party is - regardless of policy - completely unjustified. They haven't done the time. They haven't put-in the leg-work. They've taken all of us - across the political spectrum - for granted.

If we want fairness and democracy at the heart of our politics, then we cannot possibly hand the Tories a victory based on negativity, personal attacks and a refusal to engage in public - not to mention a manifesto of uncosted policies, several u-turns and a campaign bankrolled by millionaires.

Tomomorrow, we can send a message: we believe in better.

So when you enter the voing booth, when you look at your ballot, ask yourself this: "Who deserves my vote? Who was willing to be scrutinised? To be held accountable? Who took a beating and a public grilling, engaging in the democratic process, and who hid away in the shadows? Who took every opportunity they could to speak to me, a member of the voting public, and who rejected the chance and the opportunity to engage with me? Which Party - and which leader - deserves to represent me?"

Tomorrow, vote for accounability, vote for democracy and - above all - vote for change.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS