The Needs of the Forgotten Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few

Tuesday night was an odd night for me. From the outset it wasn’t that different a night to any other I watched TV, poured myself some coke and then watched more TV. What was different about Tuesday was that it was the first time, in what I call my political life, that I and another family member disagreed on a public political issue. The much publicised Labour leadership debacle.

Before I start on the issues and debate we had I feel like I need to add context. I’m a twenty two year old who graduated this week and as such realise that I am not in the same position as everyone else around me. One of my biggest flaws, of which there are many, is that I am an idealist. While I realise that this may change with age I also accept that this is the stage I am at. You may mistake this for naivety but for me I believe that a left wing government is both an ideal and feasible one. That does not mean I am unwilling to compromise.

I recognise that I am biased towards a left wing Corbyn and accept that, to put it mildly, he is not to everyone’s taste. There are numerous issues that have sprung up, both pro and anti Corbyn, that have for better or worse seemed to harden my views. From the moment my Corbyn vote helped usher him in as the new labour leader last September the parliamentary party has tried to oust him. Brexit has seemed like the worse time they could chose to do it but also an opportunistic one.

There is clearly something here that is wrong, even recent changes to the leadership voting regulations, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36654418), show us this. The tightening of the rules, to me at least, did not seem to be as much of an issue when he was running as an outsider last August and September but now that they could help Corbyn stay on as leader they have been changed to make it harder for new members to vote. While the rules on voting are a whole other debate, it is clear that there is a disconnect between a labour membership and the parliamentary party that could genuinely split the party officially. Just ten days ago Labour officials were trying to work out who exactly owns the name of Labour, (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-party-assets-owns-jeremy-corbyn-leadership-a7121961.html). While this is only a precaution it shows the real danger that the party is in. My debate on Tuesday helped me realise that while part of me says if they want to split let them split there is in fact a bigger picture at stake here. Not just a credible opposition, a credible left of centre government that would look out for the poor and vulnerable in our society.

As much as you can praise Cameron and the latest government for fiscal security, it is hard to deny they have achieved something, I still believe that there is a way more benefiting for those lesser off that could have taken us to the same destination, just down a different path. Rising food bank usage is just one example of the social inequality of the Tories’ actions. The Trussell Trust wrote up a press release just four months ago that noted food bank level uses at an all-time high. ‘1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by the charity’s network of 424 foodbanks in the 2015/16 financial year, compared to 1,084,604 in 2014/15’, a figure that is constantly growing. While not intentional this is one result of what I think comes with a right of centre line of thought. People will disagree with me, the Tories won a majority in last May’s general election after all. The point is that to me I see a left of centre government as being beneficial for those more vulnerable. This debate on Tuesday was not a debate about left or right, we are both left to varying degrees. It was about how under the current Labour infighting and its possible consequences we could be stuck with a right wing government for decades. Something that neither of us wants.

On Tuesday night I defended Corbyn in the same way that I have since September, he has the mandate. What I failed to realise until recently was that this is not simply the PLP versus the membership. The many million 2015 labour voters interests should play a bigger part and they are represented by the PLP, a factor that didn’t cross my mind until Tuesday night. I still think the treatment of Corbyn is unfair and unjust. The way he has been treated and disrespected is ironic to me. One of the reasons I voted for him was not because he would win a generally election, although I think it possible that he could, but because I was convicted to support a man who seemed to be above the slimy, untrustworthy and sleazy politics that have plagued the system since I have become involved, the MP expenses scandal was one of the first major things to happen when I started to take a more active role within politics. The sleazy politics that is now trying to remove him and has had people dropping out of his cabinet rather than working with him. To me Andy Burnham is one of the only people whose reputation hasn’t been dented because while he has been public of his differences with Corbyn so has he also been public about how he wants to try and make things work, there is very little he can do to change things when he is away from the table. The problematic issue I face is that the side of me that is disgusted with how he has been treated is fighting against another principle of mine social injustice and inequality.

I mentioned earlier that I think the best for the poor and marginalised is a left of centre labour government, not just the Blairite model but a genuine left. This is why I support Corbyn but over the last few days I have come to realise that as left as I am I must be willing to compromise otherwise we will not get a Labour government at all for the foreseeable future. The battle is how far I am willing to budge to vote for a different candidate against the need for an effective opposition that could prevent years of the Tories. I am maddened by the way Corbyn has been treated by the very style of politician that caused me to vote him in but I am weary the effect five consecutive Tories governments would have on those lesser off while labour either united under Corbyn or separated. Labour would have to reinvigorate themselves to a point where they would be electable again. I don’t know the answer here but with each day I am swinging towards the latter. I think a suitable opposition for me that prevents a ‘focused on the rich Tories’ is more important than the need for a radical left wing at this moment in time.

It is a conflict I am going to be trying to resolve right up until we eventually vote on the leadership, I can actually vote in this as I’ve been a member of the party for a few years now. The Labour Party members are not the be all and end all I have to take into account the Labour voters that the PLP represent. While it may not completely justify all their actions it does change my perception. Along with this I simply feel too strongly about the need for greater equality, an equality that would seem further off if I voted for Corbyn and was one of the reasons for a potential split. Having said that we need to find a suitable candidate who is trust-worthy and capable of both unifying the Labour Party while simultaneously being honest and offering a new era style of politics. I don’t think I can vote for Angela Eagle. I’ve come to realise that Corbyn probably needs to go, as much as that pains me, but I want a suitable candidate to run against him. When someone who can unify the party arrives I will vote for them, it may be a pipe but it’s a requirement. An austerity heavy government would cause more pain for the poorer than my need for my heavily leftist views to be represented in Labour. For the first time in my political life I am having a legitimate political struggle. But, as Spock rightly says in The Wrath of Khan, ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’.

A Democratic Vote Doesn’t Mean a Unanimous Decision

I hate the term Millennial, the connotations of which make us a self obsessed generation. ‘Seventy-one percent of American adults think of 18-to-29-year-olds — millennials, basically — as “selfish,” and 65% of us think of them as “entitled.” That’s according to the latest Reason-Rupe Poll, a quarterly survey of 1,000 representative adult Americans.’ (http://time.com/3154186/millennials-selfish-entitled-helicopter-parenting/)

This article is going to be one of self indulgence because, and I realise the irony, once again our voices have not been heard. I’m emotional and angry and I know we need to be unified but as a young person living with other people’s decisions I’ve had enough.

In the wake of the referendum ‘the people have spoken’ is a notion that I struggle with. I respect that this has been a democratic decision but I don’t agree with it and herein lies the struggle; I have to respect your decision and you mine, mine and the generation of young people who will once again feel hard done by.

Much has been said in the press over the last decade or so about how millennials are selfish (http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/study-confirms-millennials-are-generation-me/) (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/04/why-are-the-baby-boomers-desperate-to-make-us-millennials-hate-ourselves) but I’d argue the opposite. We are rebelling against a system that has been built and fitted around a generation that damaged our economy. The baby boomer generation have not had it all easy but they have had the following which we will not, free university education and an unsustainable pension scheme that mine will pale in comparison to, I bet that by the time I am of retirement age I will be about 80. A far cry from the 65 that has been the norm for decades.

As a young person I was subject to a conservative government who tripled university fees, as a recent graduate am sitting on a minimum of £45,000 in debt and that doesn’t include the recent devious move around interest rates (https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/nov/25/student-loans-george-osborne-criticised-freezing-repayment-threshold). I was subject to another 5 year term of fiscal inequality and a recession that I was not responsible for. And now I have been subject to leaving the EU, again something my demographic were seemingly overtly against. ‘Those living in Scotland, with a university education or aged below 30 are most likely to want to stay in the EU, according to new polling data released by YouGov.’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/22/eu-referendum-which-type-of-person-wants-to-leave-and-who-will-b/).

As a man turning 22 in three weeks the last decade or so have taught me that I am going to be paying the price for decisions that I did not want or could not have a say in. Call me greedy if you want but I had no hand in the over extension of borrowing that caused the 08 crash. Call me selfish but I have had university fees forced upon from a government who took advantage of those who weren’t even of age to vote and a party who went back on an explicit promise.  ‘A poll published last week showed the extent of the generational schism in the EU debate. It was revealed that 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they supported remain, compared with 38% of 50- to 64-year-olds (and 34% of those aged 65 and over). For many of us, this is the generation of our parents, our friends’ parents, our uncles and aunts. We have been raised to believe that they have our best interests at heart, but as far as this referendum is concerned all I have seen is self-interest.’ (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/20/britain-young-people-eu-older-generation-brexit-vote). Call me self-obsessed but there was an overwhelming cry from my age to remain a member of the EU and look at the bigger picture and yet again we have been overruled, I guess that is just part of democracy.

I’m not saying I know the perfect way to run a county or make decisions, I don’t agree with them but I have to respect the democracy, the problem is that democracy is not in my favour. I  understand that this was a democratic vote and necessary but that doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it and not be frustrated by it. It does however mean that I have to respect it.

There is a reason that young people seem to become disengaged in politics and it is because time and time again we are bearing other people’s consequences.  We are the future of Britain and yet again we have been overruled by the very system that we are meant to believe in. So call us millennials and call us selfish or disengaged but remember that we are living with the consequences of others choices. We have been told to trust a system that has continually let us down. Don’t be surprised when we become ambivalent towards that system.

We have had choices forced upon us. We have been overruled constantly and yes we are young and learning but unfortunately we are learning that no matter how hard we shout or how hard we try we are being forced to go it alone. Even in the face of an EU split when we are meant to pull together and unify, and I stress again that we will try, we are finding out yet again that going it on our own is ‘best for business’. I don’t want to do that and will actively try to not to but it is hard when our voices are not heard and we have to bare others choices.

This is a momentous day in politics for good and bad reasons but it is also a momentous day for my voting habits as my faith in the system and value of the ‘young vote’ has been seriously dented. Just another one in a long line of injustices that I cannot help but feel hard done by. I said this article would seem selfish and an emotional response and it has been but while I’ve had enough of having a minority voice I still have to live with the consequences and we should all work together to work out how we move forward. I need to get over my disappointment and will do in time, we need to be a United Kingdom, but it will not be easy. Once again I’m am going to struggle to try and accept a decision that my generation didn’t want but we will try anyway because we want a better Britain, even if that confidence is fading every time decisions are made on my behalf. Remember that while 52% voted to leave 48% still want to stay. We need to accept the fact that it is done but also that it was not unanimous.

Despite this lets soak in this moment whether we agreed with it or not we have changed the face of the U.K., Europe and the world. We may not like it but we have no choice now what has been done is done. I just pray that my generation aren’t disenfranchised by it. Just remember that we are not a selfish generation we are a generation who are seriously losing faith as our voices are drowned out time and time again but a generation who will try to move forward in unity with the rest of the UK. It is not, as some have said, only dark days ahead, we have control of our future. I am merely trying to raise the issue that there is reason that the young can feel disenfranchised.

A Place to Ramble

My name is Matt, in less than three weeks I will finish university, that’s it. Done. I don’t know what I want to do, what I’m going to do or what will happen and personally that’s exciting. There is nothing that will prepare me for the next year. Currently I’m thinking of applying for masters course. I don’t know whether or not I will but its the ‘plan’.

I’m starting this blog to ramble. I love all things from all works of life, even more so writing about them. I am a man who loves to write, a man who loves to read and a man who loves to talk. I don’t know why I’m urged to start this but I am. I’m not new to blogging or even writing in general, I have started many for different reasons, but for some reason I have a refreshed appetite for writing. Will anyone read this? Who knows. Will anyone listen to what I say? Who knows.

This is a personal project of mine there will be no specific theme that we will always talk about, well there is one theme. My personal taste. I mentioned the fact that I love all things and I do have a wide range of interests, these interests are what I will ramble about. Some posts will be about movies, some politics and some will just be my thoughts. This is not an attempt at a professional style of writing its just a man who loves writing and wants to improve. It’s an alleyway into the mind of Matt.