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Don't tell me who is electable

One need not rehearse all the arguments on both sides of the Labour divide. Everybody has had their say, several times over: mainly in the media who seem to be the determinants of what is an acceptable or electable politician these days. But there are many of us who are attracted to the Corbyn concept for very good, sound reasons. We aren't 'Trots', or 'Leftists' (an expression I always associate with the far-right) but are instinctive Labour supporters who have decided it is time to find an alternative.

I am from a working class background, single parent family, grew up on a council estate and have plenty of sound Labour 'credentials'. But I am not poor any longer, work in culture (opera, in fact) work with, know, like and don't resent many people who are wealthy (some extremely so), partner with business (banks) am not against commerciality, free markets etc etc. I have no issues with the meritorious accumulation of wealth. I guess you could call me ripe pickings for either party. The fact that I have never, and would never, vote Conservative is simply as a consequence of my perception of the Thatcher years, of wealth at the expense of others' misery and suffering, of unfairness and the dismissal of a road sweeper merely because he doesn't have a degree.

When Blair came to power, like many, there was a rush of elation because we had finally rid ourselves of the Tories. But soon, it became clear that what Blair's Labour meant was essentially the pursuit and retention of power after a long period of conditioning people to believe that the only valid way to run a society was represented by the 'middle', the indistinguishable mush of greed led politics, with only a sliver of social justice at the edges. There was no denationalisation of utilities, something that I saw as representative of the abuse of the nation, that essentials for life were commoditised and profited from. And then there were decisions such as Iraq, student fees etc. Most of all, I became aware of the plastic, PR led power-at-any-cost-or-ditched-principle that is led and fed by the media and which has now given birth to this narrative of "electability" in relation to Corbyn.

Millions of people did not vote in the last election - many of them because they believed that Labour was hardly distinguishable from the Tories. On the surface of it, you might consider someone like me to be unlikely to benefit much from a Corbyn manifesto, but it is folly to believe that only the very poor have an interest in the fabric of society as it applies to them. It would serve me well to put a stop to the grotesque avarice of landlords and the rental market, for example. But most importantly, it serves all of us when huge swathes of our society are not being shat on, abused, attacked and held responsible for the failures of financial markets or other global institutions. Our society is judged, I believe, by how well it treats our most vulnerable. You see, it isn't only self interest that drives us, even though for decades the British public has been given that message.  Blair's Labour spoke much about equality and fairness in society, but we never really saw it because he felt it too risky to be overly nice to poor people. The Middle would disapprove and he might be outed from power. In opposition, Labour tried to ape and emulate what the government was doing because of this fear of scaring the natives. It voted for horrenidous welfare legislation. And so the cycle continues.

I, and many like me, genuinely don't want "presentable" plastic politicians, moulded and manipulated by the media and big business.  It is no longer about power at any cost, with a supposed "Leader". What appeals about Corbyn is that he seems utterly uninterested in playing the media presentation game - and he has suffered horrendously for that. He rises above paper-thin platitudes of media-savvy (and media-cowed) supposedly "electable" politicians.

So the characterisation of Corbyn supporters as far-left, Trots is about as wide of the mark as it is possible to get, and I suspect the establishment is actually starting to realise that too. So when you try to tell me that Corbyn is "unelectable" because someone at the BBC or the Sun, or the Telegraph planted the idea in your head, I will respectfully request that you don't have the temerity to tell me who I will or should vote for. There is yet another truth; I would far more willingly tolerate a genuine Tory government than a manufactured, plastic, PR led and ultimately deeply disappointing Labour one.  And if Corbyn is ousted by unfair and undemocratic means, I will simply never vote Labour again, as will be the case for many people. Which could of course bring a level of electoral threat to the replacement Blairite tendency, although having lost the last two elections, the most recent of which should have been a walk in the park to win, I suppose they are used to that anyway.

I want to see Corbyn propose a manifesto. And in the event he was elected, I want to see what is possible in our society with a real alternative view (although it is only 'alternative' because of the middle-hugging dishonesty of politics for the last 25 years.) If it doesn't work, we vote him out. But I am not afraid to try - and I know millions would actually agree with much of what he would propose, too. There will still be big business, people will still be, or become, wealthy, they will still have their big houses and super-well paid jobs. It would just mean that those who won't ever have those things and live a more modest life - like me - can actually enjoy life without being bled dry by the very society that uses me and others even further down the social totem pole to create its wealth.

If that makes me a Leftist Trot, then guilty as charged comrade, but I suspect you know it doesn't.


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