This post is not travelling related, but listen: shut up. This post is about politics, it is about ideologies, and it is about bravery.
The UK will have a general election on the 8th of June. Current polls have Labour some 20 points behind the Tories. If nothing changes in the next six weeks, Labour are set to take a pasting, Corbyn will be savaged, and a triumphant Right will cheer the fall of left wing politics across the Western world. Because, you know, the idea of affordable housing and fair pay for nurses is fucking nightmarish.
Then, once the festivities have died down and everyone has stopped paying attention once more, the Tories will turn on the general public, this time with a larger mandate. No more pesky socially conscious do-gooders to trip them up as they run around doling out parts of our National Health Service to the highest bidder. Best not to get ill, over the next five years. Or ever again.
I’m a lifetime idealist, and a newly baptised realist – I dream big and expect disappointment. I used to only be the former, back in the pre-Brexit halcyon days of summer 2016, when I was optimistic about humanity, and naive. Before Jo Cox was murdered, before everyone voted themselves poorer, back when Corbyn’s ‘kinder, gentler politics’ was gaining steam and inspiring the masses, before it was rubbished by the media. Two years spent watching Prime Minister’s Questions and seeing my hero being drowned out by Tory laughter while trying to read a letter he received from a single mother on foodstamps has kicked the milk teeth from the mouth of my inner child.
Well, fuck that. That dreamer in me, the one forcibly suppressed by the cruelty of the everyday, he isn’t dead just yet. I’m done with quenching the river of my imagination to be more in line with the right wing rhetoric of the UK press. Just because something is shouted loudest doesn’t make it right.
I don’t want a world where staggering wealth disparity, arms dealing and gross injustice are all we can expect. I remember a row over politics with my dad once, where he told me “that’s just not how the world works”. Fuck that nonsense. The world works how we damn well tell it to. We flew to the moon, learned to transplant live organs and invented the internet within a few decades. I’m supposed to just suck it up and believe that capitalism is the best we can hope for? Sure, we can access the collective consciousness of humanity through a handheld bit of plastic, but feeding the poor? Hah! Perish the thought!
Finding a new economic system that works for every single person shouldn’t be ‘radical’, it should be fucking priority. Call it Socialism, if you like, call it whatever you want, but an answer is out there, if only our government was willing to strive for it. And Jeremy Corbyn has been striving his entire life. I wish I had half the drive and courage of that man.
Jeremy Corbyn is a good man, he speaks for me, and to see him as Prime Minister would restore my pride in Britain and my faith in humanity. A lot of the UK debates will focus on who is the better leader – especially the Tory angle, as it’s the easiest way for them to keep Labour at bay without engaging them in actual debate.
But here’s the thing about leadership: a true leader does not live their life in an ivory tower, floating down new, cruel legislation folded up into paper planes to the increasingly bewildered masses. A true leader leads from the front of the masses, in their journey to a better future.
In 2016 I saw Jeremy Corbyn speak in Leeds during his tireless 2016 leadership election campaign. I went alone, and joined a crowd of thousands in a queue that wound through the city. The hall he was set to speak in filled up quickly, and a thousand eager faces, including mine, didn’t make it inside. I stood there, dejected, until an announcement rang out that Jeremy would be coming outside to speak to us, prior to speaking to the crowds inside.
We waited, and finally, he emerged. He spoke to us without notes for 45 minutes, covering all Labour’s pledges, speaking about the most deserving and needy in society, condemning zero hour contracts and tax avoidance, advocating affordable housing, education, disability benefits, funding for the arts, and everything in between. He was jovial and witty, he made us laugh, he was sharp, concise, and charismatic. I looked at him, this unassuming man stood just two metres before me, with a nation sneering at him but continuing regardless, and I knew, and I still know, that he is a leader in the truest sense of the word.
When he bid our crowd farewell and headed inside for the official rally, I stood alone as the crowd dispersed. I felt electric. Everything I had believed was absent in politics, in humanity – here it was. It existed, and it still exists, in the form of Jeremy Corbyn. I was his supporter then, and his supporter I remain, and I will be until the end. I signed up for a kinder, gentler politics, a fairer world for all, and a brighter future for humanity, and I’m standing by my beliefs, come what may. If the election leads to disaster and humiliation despite all of this, so be it. I know what is right, and I am taking my stand for it.