Thursday, 5 May 2022

Today, May 5th 2022, is polling day, and I just voted for a party that is not Labour for the first time in my adult life. I suspect I am not alone here.

In the build up to the local elections, I was genuinely not sure who I was going to vote for. I told myself that if there was a socialist on the ballot paper, I would vote for that socialist. And I did not care which party they were representing, I was going to vote for principles, not a party, because the team sports way of doing politics is what is killing this country.

Many people say we should vote Labour, no matter what, because the only alternative is the Tories and they are always worse. Only, I've genuinely reached a point where I'm not sure the Tories would be worse than Labour - and I think the Tories are truly horrific. 

The Labour Party is an establishment, pro-capitalism party that only represents the interests of its corrupt wealthy donors. It is inherently racist, anti-democratic, anti-union(!), and it glorifies the war machine. It stands for everything I oppose. I am not anti-Tory, I am anti-establishment.

Some people say we should vote tactically to stop the Tories and I think many of these people are well-meaning, but they don't understand they're voting tactically for parties like the Lib Dems who only exist to stop the left and prevent meaningful change in this country.

My position is the left should vote tactically to defeat the establishment, to vote for any candidate who believes in democratising our system, ending the corruption and taking key issues like the climate crisis seriously. Any candidate offering more of the same is not getting my vote because they simply do not represent me. They believe in things that actively harm me and my children.

I pushed my daughter's buggy into the polling station today, genuinely unsure if I was going to vote or just write something like "socialism" on my ballot paper in protest. I thought it might be emotionally difficult to not vote for Labour, given how much time and effort I have previously put into fighting for Labour governments, given how I've never voted for anyone else, but when I got into that voting booth with my nine month old baby beside me, my choice was surprisingly easy. In fact, it was effortless.

My first option was The Conservatives and I was not going to put an X in that box under any circumstances - not to punish Starmer, not to embarrass Labour, not under any circumstances whatsoever would I be voting Tory. That was just not going to happen. I am not a dick.

Next, I looked at the box marked Labour and immediately thought this is just not Labour any more. This is not the party of Keir Hardie; it's the kind of party Keir Hardie was determined to defeat, and it was easy to look away from that box.

This left me with one option: The Greens.

Now I do have reservations about the Greens. I remember how Caroline Lucas tried to form a government run entirely by white women, subconsciously overlooking prominent BAME females. I also remember how she clearly did not want to help Jeremy Corbyn form a minority government when we had the chance to get rid of the Tories with a No Confidence vote. 

Lucas is no socialist, she is just another middle-class centrist who leans ever-so-slightly left, but... I had my baby girl next to me and Green is the one party I could vote for who are remotely serious about the climate crisis. That's the one issue that trumps all others and I can only lend my vote to a party that would try to ensure my baby girl has a future. For that reason, I became a reluctant Green voter.

Now you can yell at me all you want. You can scream that I should have voted for your guy (like that would win me over), but the simple fact is votes have to be earned and the Labour Party has not done even the bare minimum to earn my vote. Plus, they have crossed many of my red lines.

There are the ten broken pledges that Sir Keir Starmer made to become Labour leader. You can't seriously complain that Boris Johnson is a pathological liar and then insist we get behind another pathological liar.

There is the way Labour have distanced themselves from the excellent Green New Deal, draughted by Rebecca Long-Bailey, and instead want to implement a watered down version. My baby girl is going to end up living in a watered down planet, for fuck's sake. 

There is the way Labour has buried the Forde Report into the leaked docs which showed Labour was guilty not only of horrendous racist bullying, but also of throwing the last general election. You can't call us Tory enablers if you're voting for the people who quite literally enabled the Tories.

There is the way Starmer sneers at the left as though we're the enemy, refuses to back socialist policies popular with 2/3 of the public, like energy nationalisation, and bans his MPs from even expressing left-wing views like criticism of NATO.

There is the way Starmer bans his MPs from writing for, or speaking to, left-wing publications, but he will write for the scummiest publications on Earth like The S*n and The Daily Mail.

But more than anything else, there is the way Labour stands for absolutely nothing now, how it can't spell out its positions on anything, other than being anti-left, and how Starmer even knighted mass-murdering war criminal Tony Blair.

The Labour Party is now abhorrent to me. And if you're going to lecture me about how life under Labour would be better than life under the Tories, you would do well to consider I was a homeless teenager under Blair and people like you never gave a fuck about me then, so I am not interested in voting for your guy now.

I am not exactly thrilled with my vote for the Greens. I would have been happier to see a candidate from the Northern Independence Party (anything to escape the grip of Westminster) or the Breakthrough Party or TUSC. And this is a problem the left need to address. We need to see socialist candidates in every constituency.

I, like so many, just want a party we can believe in, someone we can vote for, rather than against. And what unreasonable lefty things am I demanding? A green industrial revolution which is not optional but essential to our survival. An end to the housing crisis which has left younger generations at the mercy of rip-off landlords. Nationalisation of key services like energy which are currently making life unaffordable. 

These are not unrealistic pie in the sky ideas. They are things which are absolutely needed to stop the decline in living standards. But older people who bought their homes for about 50p in the 1980s and then bought seven more homes because they could, think we are being childish.

I will not play their game any more. I will not vote for the continuation of their shit system. I will only vote for a politician who is prepared to seriously address the issues that are destroying our lives. And if you all do the same, we might have a chance of fixing this country.

If you appreciate the work of Council Estate Media, even the most modest of donations can help massively, but please only contribute if you can reasonably afford to do so.