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Corbyn - A Man For The Few, Not The Many

22/08/2016 16:47 | Updated 22 August 2016
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At the risk of revealing my age, I was born during Thatcher's first term, into the ranks of people who suffered under her government. I started life on the estate where Joe Strummer once squatted, deemed slum housing in the 1970's. Our freezing cold council flat with one heater was run by the same council where, down the road, Dame Shirley Porter was selling homes for votes.

As starts go, it was hardly glamorous but was working class through and through and has stuck with me. Through it I gained my understanding of the need for good quality social housing, that education is the best route towards moving on up, and the impact seemingly distant politicians can have on a working peoples' lives.

So then why am I not more excited by the advent of Corbynism? As a working class Londoner employed in the public sector, why am I not reaching for my placard and taking to the streets? Perhaps it's more to do with my political experiences.

One thing I've learnt is that when people organise, they get things done. A wonderful group of people, with the help of the local Labour party, fought the council to improve our housing. It took time, but they won. In the height of Thatcher's Britain, in the face of a 1980's property boom and a renowned Tory council, a housing estate was saved for the working people it was meant for.

Move forward to 1997, I'm 16 and the first Labour government I have ever known comes into power. More money for the NHS and schools, huge cuts in child poverty and homelessness, movement towards peace in Northern Ireland and debt forgiveness - a whole world away from the Tory Britain of my youth. It seemed Labour were about fairness and that everyone should have an equal chance in life. So I became a member.

So much has changed since then, personally and politically. I've moved from city to countryside and back again. I've become an aunt. I've been to university, become a healthcare professional and am now working in a London hospital. Politically, we've had four Prime Ministers, four Labour leaders, September 11th, July 7th bombings and Brexit. Politics has changed, and changed again. But one thing hasn't changed about me - and that is my belief that Labour should stand for fairness, and for those who will never be represented by the Tories who represent the elite class.

Being a Labour member has been arduous at times, now more than ever. I voted for Ed Milliband, with the belief of substance over style. Last year I voted for Burnham, agreeing with him on the NHS, social care and his work over Hillsborough (the worst act of class discrimination this country has ever seen). Corbyn didn't appeal to me then and he doesn't appeal now.

To me, Jeremy's principles seem an indulgence to those facing the brunt of Tory governance. Whilst we faced the coronation of Theresa May, he attended a Cuban Solidarity event. This may appeal to the middle classes of North London but it does nothing to address the issues working people are actually facing. Millions of people can't afford a leader with such low personal ratings. They can't afford the party to be going into an election so far behind in the polls. They can't afford the luxury of a principled but powerless Labour Party. The Labour governments I knew of 1997 - 2010 weren't perfect, but a huge improvement after 18 years of Tory rule.

I've seen the improvements made by a Labour government to social housing in the 2000's. I've seen the decline in the NHS caused by the Tory government since training for a career in healthcare. I feel the very real threat of Brexit to my family. I cannot face the idea of waking up the day after the next election with another Tory government in place.

If the NHS as we know and love it survives this government, we'll be lucky. We need more than parish council victories to stand up against this threat to our greatest institution. We need a Labour opposition that actually does what it is meant to, oppose, not one led by someone who goes on holiday during the most important political event of my lifetime.

As such, I cannot vote for Corbyn. I cannot fathom how someone so disorganised and out of touch with the public can possibly win an election against the Tories. A Labour party in perpetual opposition does nothing for working people. Vote Corbyn for Labour Leader if you wish, but don't pretend it's for the benefit of anyone other than yourself.

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