Monday, 23 November 2020

Corbyn Storms the Internet: 100k Tweets Showing Solidarity

Yesterday, a huge storm took over Twitter with the hashtag #WeSupportCorbyn. 

Shortly after midnight, an incredible 100,000 tweets expressing support for the former Labour leader had been sent out. The storm was organised to urge the current leader Sir Keith Starmer to restore the whip, and it's safe to say a strong statement was made. If Starmer thinks he can marginalise and silence so many passionate activists on the left, he is sorely mistaken. 

The #WeSupportCorbyn storm completely overshadowed an attempt by the Labour hard right to launch their own Twitter storm ridiculing Corbyn. Troublingly, some hard-right Labour accounts have resorted to smearing and dog-piling those on the left, knowing they could not win any moral or political argument. At some point, the public is going to start seeing through this tactic.

My advice to the Twitter left, for what it's worth, is to not dignify these dog-pilers with a response - because that is exactly what they are looking for - a response. Instead, let's show solidarity with one another and keep the message overwhelmingly positive. The Labour hard right is rattled.

It's natural for us to express frustration (I certainly do), but what sets us apart is we don't target ordinary people, or set out to humiliate or destroy members of the public, because we are better than that. We care about people no matter which side of the political spectrum they fall on. 

Let the Labour hard right focus on the trolling and we'll concern ourselves with pushing the policy ideas that will transform our society. We all know the Starmerists have nothing in terms of policy, which is why they set out to destroy a good man in Jeremy Corbyn. He holds up a mirror and shows them for what they really are.

I'm hearing Jeremy Corbyn and his family are thrilled by the overwhelming public support and indeed, his wife Laura and son Tommy even participated in the Twitter storm themselves. Let's look back at some of last night's finest moments:

First Jeremy's son Tommy:

Next Jeremy's wife Laura sharing an absolute banger from Craft-D

And this from the man himself... Okay, it's a parody account but still...

Kate Osbourne was one of the few Socialist Campaign Group MPs to speak out

Unquestionably the most powerful contribution of the night...

And finally here's my contribution... 

Obviously there were many more great tweets we could've shared so make sure you get on Twitter and click on the hashtag #WeSupportCorbyn to check them out. I'm hearing Starmer's team is rattled by the huge showing of public support for the former Labour leader. Bizarrely, they genuinely seemed to believe that by making an example of Corbyn, by humiliating and destroying the man, they would destroy an entire movement. What they completely failed to understand is we're not actually Corbynites or Corbynistas, we're socialists. 

We didn't spontaneously appear when Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015. We've always been around, our problems have always been real, and we've always needed the representation which the Labour hard right would deny us. But now we have a voice and we are not going away.

Jeremy Corbyn is one of the finest among us, and if you come for him, you come for us all.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Top 5 Reasons I Support Corbyn

I may not be a Labour member anymore, but I am certainly still a socialist. Here are the top five reasons I still support Jeremy Corbyn.

1. Corbyn proudly represents my views

Jeremy Corbyn emerged as Labour leader while we were in the midst of a worldwide recession caused by centrist neoliberal economics. While other countries were in a mess, the Nordic social democracies kept their heads above water and continued to offer their people the world's highest living standards. Even historically conservative groups like the WTO were advising countries to emulate the Nordic model. To me it was plain as day we must shift left, yet UK politicians for the most part were glued to the economics which had failed so badly. Then along came Jeremy Corbyn who wanted to give us a little bit of that Nordic magic. It's worth noting he was vilified by those who wanted, and still want, to maintain the status quo.

2. Corbyn is strongly antiracist

Corbyn has fought racism throughout his political career. He was arrested protesting apartheid outside the South African embassy in London. At the time, both Reagan and Thatcher considered the ANC to be a terrorist organisation. Corbyn campaigned to save a Jewish cemetery from demolition and called for Yemeni Jews to be granted asylum in the UK. He is a proud advocate for Palestinian rights and has spoken up for marginalised people around the world, often jeopardising his political career to do so. Jeremy Corbyn is as committed an antiracist as you will find, and as a father of Black children, this is a matter close to my heart.

3. Corbyn is a long-term supporter of LGBT rights

Today many politicians claim to be supporters of LGBT rights, but this was certainly not always the case. Corbyn didn't need to wait until a view became trendy or politically necessary to adopt it. He has simply relied on his judgement and sense of morality since learning about these issues in 1967 when he was in a minority of one in his class. He attended the earliest Pride parades in the 1970s and he helped set up a North London gay centre. He opposed Thatcher's notorious Section 28 which banned teaching about homosexuality in schools, and as Labour leader, he pledged to put gay history on the school curriculum. Corbyn is a true LGBT ally.

4. Corbyn warned us against the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Jeremy Corbyn correctly warned us about the consequences of Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other imperialist invasion. As a young man, I had mixed feelings about Iraq and was anti-war at the time, but also swayed by the lies of Blair. I distinctly remember speeches from politicians like Jeremy Corbyn and celebrities like George Michael. I remember thinking history will show us who was correct. And history has shown Corbyn and the anti-war brigade to be correct, emphatically so

Here is Corbyn's famous speech from February 15th 2003 at the UK's biggest ever political demonstration in Hyde Park:

5. Corbyn is always on the right side of history

Hopefully, the examples given above show Corbyn to be on the right side of history on key issues where his stance was often unpopular at the time. I certainly believe they do. 

As Tony Benn Famously said: "Weathercocks will spin in whatever direction the wind of public opinion may blow them. And then there are signposts, which stand true, and tall, and principled. And they point in the direction and they say, 'This is the way to a better society and it is my job to convince you why.'"

Jeremy Corbyn is a signpost.

So these are my five biggest reasons for supporting Jeremy Corbyn, what are yours?

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Saturday, 21 November 2020

Twitter Storm for Jeremy Corbyn!

There has been a huge outpouring of support for Jeremy Corbyn throughout the country in the past few days. CLPs up and down the UK have passed motions demanding the whip be restored to the former Labour leader. Others have said they weren't allowed to do the same. One CLP even pass a motion of No Confidence in the current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Earlier this week, the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg suggested withdrawing the whip from Corbyn would be a popular move among Labour supporters. Who the fuck did she ask? Luke Akehurst?

People are livid. They feel betrayed, insulted. 

Corbyn's only crime was to defend the left from unfair criticism.

And even those like myself who've given up on the Labour Party, still have a huge amount of respect for the former leader. We know that after giving decades of his life to Labour, he deserves so much better. We also know Corbyn is a much better representative of the values Labour was founded to represent than Sir Brylcreem will ever be.

For this reason, a huge Twitter storm is planned: 6.00pm Sunday 22/11/20.

Keep your eyes peeled, feel free to share our memes (h/t @rachael_swindon), and think of a good tweet to lend your support. Let's make this one huge!

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Monday, 16 November 2020

Jeremy Corbyn: MP of the Year

Back in July 2020, Council Estate Voices posted an article entitled Let's make Jeremy Corbyn MP of the Year! It was one of our most popular articles, getting over 35,000 reads at the time of writing. It's safe to say Jeremy Corbyn had huge public support with many online activists pushing for his victory.

This push was for the annual MP of the Year award run by the Patchwork Foundation. Unfortunately, I will not be linking to their website today because our push gave them lots of traffic which quite frankly, I no longer feel they deserve. This is because they have cancelled this year's award, citing "voting irregularities" and are instead suggesting their judges will decide a winner.

Many are claiming the "irregularities" stem from the huge popularity of Jeremy Corbyn which meant he was almost certain to win, and the Patchwork Foundation were not keen on that idea. When you consider that last year, Chris Williamson was kicked out of the competition after receiving huge public support, you can start to see a pattern emerge. I have read claims the Patchwork Foundation is funded by Tory donors who would prefer not to see a socialist winner. I'm sure many of you will draw your own conclusions. 

Whatever is going on here, the fact of the matter is the Patchwork Foundation has denied two hugely popular socialists a chance at winning their MP of the Year competition in consecutive years. It's no wonder people believe they are simply cancelling a result they don't like.

So let's agree to not mention the Patchwork Foundation ever again. They and their competition have lost credibility in the eyes of many, and we don't need them anyways.

We at Council Estate Voices can easily designate our own MP of the Year, and there can only be one winner of that award: Jeremy Corbyn!

The MP for Islington North has not only gained a huge amount of public support which would surely see him sail to victory in any fair competition, but he has inspired a generation. He has engaged people in politics who were otherwise forgotten and this 71 year old has connected with the youth in the way other politicians can only dream of.

For proof of that, look no further than top 20 iTunes single A Letter to Corbyn by Craft-D. It's amazing by the way.

And let's not forget the chants of "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!" at Glastonbury. How many other politicians can attract the crowds and achieve rock star status like this jam-making septuagenarian?

On a personal level, Jeremy Corbyn inspired me to join the Labour Party (sadly I have since left). I was a council estate lad who'd seen nothing but marginalisation my whole life and here was an MP who was actually on my side. I had little interest in British politics prior to Corbyn and many, many others would say the same.

Jeremy Corbyn is a man who was awarded the Gandhi International Peace Award and Sean McBride Peace Prize. He has stood on the right side of history since his days as a young activist, getting arrested outside the South African embassy in London, protesting apartheid. He has been prepared to put his reputation and career on the line, again and again, to make principled stands, as he is doing today with Palestine and Bolivia. He has been a proud campaigner for LGBT rights. He stood alongside the miners during the strikes. He correctly warned us about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He has defied imperialism and challenged the status quo when so many others have fallen silent.

Jeremy Corbyn has inspired the masses because his track record speaks for itself, because he is a man of substance, and unlike most politicians, he genuinely wants to create a better world for everyone. He shocked the establishment by getting to within a whisker of power in 2017 and showing the nation that change really is possible. He has been unfairly smeared and vilified as a result.

In the past 12 months, Jeremy Corbyn took huge strides to tackle Labour antisemitism alongside Jennie Formby and was unfairly maligned by the press, despite clearly acting in good faith. Outrageously, he was suspended from the Labour Party by the new leader in 2020, despite speaking the truth about the situation, as acknowledged by deputy leader Angela Rayner. Corbyn has been the victim of McCarthyite practices and he has handled the situation with admirable dignity. 

Everyone who's been paying attention is well aware that were it not for members of his own party acting against him, Jeremy Corbyn would likely be prime minister today. It would seem he was destroyed by a fifth column, but the fact he came so close with the entire establishment acting against him is a remarkable achievement in itself. Corbyn represents the strongest challenge to the status quo in decades.

More so than anything else, Jeremy Corbyn deserves to be MP of the Year because every ordinary person he comes into contact with immediately loves him. He carries a magic and connects with people with absolute sincerity. You can see it in the eyes. Theirs and his. This is not something that can be faked. Young and old alike cannot help warming to the man when they see who he really is, and it's an absolute tragedy there are so few others like him in politics.

Jeremy Corbyn is the Council Estate Voices MP of the Year.

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Saturday, 7 November 2020

Joe Biden: "Nothing Will Fundamentally Change"

Joe Biden has been declared president-elect of the United States of America to cries of "Thank God the child cager has finally gone!" and I fully understand the sentiment, I really do, but the problem here is Joe Biden built those cages to lock up unaccompanied minors, as confirmed by Politifact. He actually started the process of caging children that Donald Trump is so rightly vilified for, and he lied about it during the presidential debates.

"... and when they were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they were shipped to Nogales from overwhelmed processing facilities in Texas. But they are still children in cages, not gangsters, not delinquents. Just children, 900 of them, in a makeshift border-town processing center that is larger than a football field." The Arizona Republic reported on Biden locking up children.

Yep, that's 900 children Biden locked up, and that's just what we know of... 

How can anyone lambast Donald Trump for locking children in cages and give Joe Biden a free pass for doing the exact same thing? If you scrutinise Biden's political record, it shows he is nearly identical to Trump on almost every level, just more subtle in his approach. You can barely call him a lesser of two evils. He's the kind of politician who claims to be on your side to win your vote, but takes a Republican stance when he thinks you're not looking, and is cynical enough to attack Republicans for what he himself is guilty of.

If you are to criticise the outgoing US President, as you rightly should, you simply cannot overlook the track record of Biden. From white supremacy to sexual assault to ruthless corporatism, the president-elect strongly looks like Donald Trump's Democratic twin. 

A history of white supremacy.

In the early 1970s, Joe Biden opposed moves to end the segregation of black and white school children, which was embarrassingly highlighted by his VP Kamala Harris during the Democratic primary. Harris was herself a victim of segregation until she was bussed to a desegregated public school.

“You also worked with [those segregationist senators] to oppose bussing,” Harris said. “And there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.”

It gets worse. Biden was mentored by white supremacist Senator James O. Eastland who once called to "abolish the negro race." During the Democratic primaries, Biden was forced to apologise for his past praise for his mentor after being challenged by rival Senator Cory Booker. During his early political career, Biden surrounded himself with white supremacists, so his claim that Martin Luther King jr was his hero rings hollow. 

Sickeningly, Biden even pretended he took part in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and was slammed by civil rights activist Shaun King for his inconsistencies. This claim, and many others, were fact-checked by The Washington Times (and other publications) and appear to be completely false. 

Joe Biden is a renowned serial liar who once plagiarised a speech by Neil Kinnock, which included parts of Kinnock's personal life that he passed off as his own! Biden later claimed the plagiarism was accidental, that he simply forgot to cite Kinnock, but "accidental plagiarism" is still plagiarism. Plus, he also plagiarised Robert Kennedy, JFK, and Hubert Humphrey! These gaffes, along with past law school plagiarism and exaggeration of his academic record is believed to have cost him the presidency in 1988. He is not just a racist, but a fraud.

Maybe some people outgrow their racism, but Biden certainly didn't.

In the 1980s, Joe Biden supported crime bills that disproportionately hurt black communities, under the false belief that harsher punishments and militarised police = lower crime. He authored The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 which essentially created the prisons-for-profit system which is a key reason America has the world's highest prison population. The act led to prisons being filled with black men who faced shockingly harsh sentences for relatively minor crimes and it tore families apart, leaving a devastating impact which is felt to this day.

The fact is Biden owns mass incarceration — it's his baby — so comments such as: 'If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black,' are a kick in the gut of the black community.

Whatever you do, don't mention Tara Reade.

You don't need me to tell you Donald Trump faced credible accusations of rape and sexual assault to outcry from the #MeToo crowd who were rightly insistent we should believe women. However, the troublingly partisan nature of certain elements of this movement was exposed when the believe women mantra was not extended to Tara Reade.

Tara Reade is a domestic violence advocate and lawyer who worked as a Congressional aide for Joe Biden from 1992 to 1993. She described in harrowing detail how she was the victim of demeaning comments from Biden and later raped by him. Her accusations, while unproven, are no less credible than any accusation levelled at Donald Trump. It's also worth mentioning, Biden has a history of inappropriate behaviour around women, which includes sniffing their hair and kissing their heads, and he faces a total of eight allegations of harassment and sexual assault. In this context, any accusation of rape must surely be taken incredibly seriously.

A corporatist, not a progressive.

Biden's voting record makes for grim reading: from cuts to social security, to restrictions on abortion, to NAFTA, to Wall Street bailouts, to military campaigns, he has taken a conservative stance. He even voted to cut welfare, knowing 70% of the recipients affected were children. Plus, he called award-winning journalist Julian Assange a "hi-tec terrorist"; voted to bomb Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Serbia; and condemned Palestinians for their "poor choices" so don't expect him to be a champion of human rights.

The president-elect is currently lining up Republicans for roles in his cabinet to the dismay of leftists, and is rumoured to want Dick Cheney to advise him on foreign policy! Hard to say whether the Dick Cheney thing is a joke, but fossil fuel lobbyists and war mongers are certainly making the shortlist, according to Politico. On top of that, Biden has expressed no empathy for the younger generation who so desperately need change:

“… And so, the younger generation now tells me how tough things are — give me a break! No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break." Joe Biden, January 2018

Do those words sound like the words of a man of the people? Do they sound like the words of someone who wants to make a positive difference? Someone who wants to solve the problems crippling his country from prisons for profit, to police brutality, to the broken housing market, to private healthcare, to sky high student debt, to extreme wealth inequality, and the climate crisis?

If your answer is that you're still unsure, consider that Biden recently told his 131 billionaire donors that "nothing will fundamentally change" if he becomes president. Just consider the problems I've highlighted above, consider the horrors of the Trump administration, and then consider again the words "nothing will fundamentally change."

In the UK, Starmer-supporting centrists are thrilled with the election of Biden. They've used it as an opportunity to punch left, as though Biden's dismal performance against the worst president in memory is something to brag about. These people love to lecture the left that you can't change things without first getting into power, but here's their guy literally boasting that he won't change things! It's hard to tell whether they're being disingenuous or just showing signs of cognitive dissonance, especially when you consider they like to claim progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while simultaneously trying to destroy UK progressives in the same way Nancy Pelosi tries to destroy "the squad" (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Presley, and  Rashida Talib).

"When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood. But the persistent singling out ... it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful ... the explicit singling out of newly elected women of colour.” AOC told the Washington Post about Nancy Pelosi's criticisms of her. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is hated by establishment Democrats because, like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, she shows them for what they are - an anti-progressive, corporatist mob interested only in their own career advancement. When Joe Biden scoffs at policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal which are backed by 2/3 of the US public, the squad aren't shy in calling him out. That's why it's so laughable when UK centrists try to claim both Biden and AOC as their own in order to score points over the left.

Let's be absolutely clear: Joe Biden did not reach out to progressives, and the left did not rally behind him (although some did grudgingly lend him their vote). What actually took place was left-wing grassroots movements were co-opted by billionaires to create the illusion there was a groundswell of support for Biden among progressives. At the same time, Bernie Sanders was cheated by the Democrats in the primaries. He had a clause in his contract which stated that in order to run as a Democrat, he was obligated to campaign for the winner of the primary, were it not to be him. The Democrats' master plan was not to win over the left, but simply to assimilate left-wing voices and defuse them, to mixed success.

Much has rightly been made of Donald Trump's anti-democratic behaviour, but how can we overlook the Democrats are every bit as corrupt? After rigging the first primary against Bernie in 2016, their lawyer actually argued in court, the Democrats had the right to choose their candidate in a back room, if they wanted to!

Many well-meaning progressives on social media have been pushing the line that Biden chose not to punch left and instead form a unified coalition with progressives. I'm afraid it's nonsense. The left were marginalised and disavowed by establishment Democrats like Pelosi and Biden, and virtually no concessions were made. In the presidential debates, Biden placed huge emphasis on the fact he would not endorse progressive policies, saying things like: "That is not my plan. The Green New Deal is not my plan."

Biden wouldn't even consider adopting universal healthcare during a pandemic, scoffed at the Green New Deal and said he would go ahead with fracking, even when clear evidence shows it causes tremors and poisons local water supplies. 

Even if Biden did want to compromise with the left, instead of publicly ridiculing them, he couldn't anyway. He has lost control of the Senate and lost seats in the House of Representatives, making him a lame duck president from day one.

And then there is the elephant in the room - Biden's early signs of dementia.

A decade ago, Biden was sharp as a whip, but now he can barely finish a sentence. The left mocked Trump for this for four years, but with Biden it's worse. Much worse. At times, the man is incoherent. He frequently loses track of what he is saying mid-sentence and simply stops in his tracks. He certainly does not appear to have the mental faculties to run a country and I don't think he will run his country. Like Trump, I think he was just a face to get his party into power and that's where his role ends, apart from making occasional public appearances and greeting foreign dignitaries. But he can't keep up the pretence forever and my guess is Biden will not see out his presidency. He will step down in a year or so, citing medical reasons, and make way for ex-cop Kamala Harris who is so progressive, she jokes about her eagerness to jail parents if their children skip school.

Be under no illusions: the Biden/Harris victory is not a victory for the left. It's not even a victory for them, given the deadlock they'll face when trying to pass any meaningful bill. In a situation where the Democrats have the House and the Republicans have the Senate, the only winners are corporations. This is because no changes will be made, no new regulations brought in, and the wealthy elite can basically do whatever they want. It's a billionaires' free-for-all, and when the mid-terms come along in two years, you can expect a backlash as the public show their frustration at an administration which has changed precisely nothing.

And that may well pave the way for another Trump.

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Saturday, 31 October 2020

The Impact of Jeremy Corbyn on a "Waster" Who Was Once Trapped in a Drugs Den

Rewind to 2003. 

I was staying with my mate in his uncle's council flat. It was basically a drugs den and my last resort, having found myself with nowhere else to go, again. The place was foul with resin-coated walls and a smell that would not shift, no matter how much Febreze you sprayed. Buckets were lying everywhere. Picture the movie Trainspotting and you're getting there. I made the mistake of walking barefoot to the toilet one night and got a minging fungal infection. 

We tried cleaning the place from top to bottom when we first moved in, even painted one of the rooms with a tin of pastel blue paint given by my mate's mother. We were trying to make the place habitable, but my mate's uncle, who I shall call Nobhead, told us he'd moved in with his girlfriend and would honestly not be staying there, yet Nobhead kept coming back and trashing the place. He only wanted us there to guard his stuff, not that he had much. 

We lived in absolute squalor. It was nightmarish. We'd go days without food, depending on handouts, but my mate had cannabis and that got us through our toughest spot.

I wasn't even a drug user, but anyone would be a drug user in that situation, with that level of depression and anxiety, so we'd sit on a foul, battered couch and get stoned. It was self-medication. We had nothing to do, apart from listen to gangsta rap and play Metroid Prime on the Nintendo GameCube inside a smoke-filled living room; I Made You Look by Nas blaring from the hi-fi speakers. 

If you've never played Metroid Prime, you really should. It's fucking amazing. That and weed got us through those grey and miserable days.

I remember walking through the streets of Seghill at midnight once. A fiver blew into my mate's hand like a gift from God. A minute later, a lad approached and asked if we had seen a fiver. My mate said "No" and we shrugged and ran to the local garage to buy food. We were fucking starving. I still feel bad about that poor lad though. He was probably just as hungry as we were, his belly aching just as badly, but we were desperate on a level you could never understand unless you've lived it. And we were living in a world that didn't give a crap about us. This is one of the reasons I'm so passionate about helping people now. The world should care.

Weeks we were living like this, while our Jobseeker's Allowance claim was being processed, and honestly, I had friends in prison back then who had things easier, but still we had fun.

Between our games of the mercilessly tough Metroid Prime, we'd rummage through the ash tray and the minging carpet for any crumbs of tac so we could make one last joint. And more often than not, we would talk about politics. Not from a party political perspective though. We knew nothing about that nonsense. We never gave a crap about it. But we did give a crap about our situation. Our marginalisation. 

We wanted radical change but didn't know we were socialists. I knew nothing about socialism, other than loony lefties were bad. I was a Sun reader then. Don't judge me!

This was back in the Blair days and we'd been so badly let down by Blair. That's why it makes me laugh when centrists tell me centrism is what we should aspire to, even be grateful for. Can they even hear themselves?

We had a six week wait for Jobseeker's Allowance under Tony Blair, and without occasional handouts and trips to Cash Converters, we would've starved. Centrists love to get outraged about the six week wait for Universal Credit under the Tories, but they never gave a fuck when people like me were waiting that long under New Labour. They had their preferred brand of Tory in charge so they could sip their lattes and pretend everything was okay. 

I would watch these people walk into coffee shops and think I'll never be in a position where I can just walk in there and spend £4.00 on a coffee whose name I can't even pronounce! The thought was insane to me. The thought of having a permanent minimum wage job was insane to me. I drifted between working temporary jobs where supervisors spoke to me like shit and offering my body for medical research. I was literally a guinea pig, locked away in a medical facility for weeks at a time as nurses injected untested drugs into my arm and wired me up to a cardiograph, just so I could eat. 

It was fun though. It was like participating in Big Brother. I made some good mates, met some nice girls. Some of my favourite memories are from my guinea pig days!

So anyways, back to the drugs den. 

Me and my mate and his teenage brother would get stoned and we'd talk about politics from our perspective, which revolved around lack of jobs and lack of education opportunities as rich people hoarded all the country's money. 

When you're at the bottom, it's plain as day the system is broken because you know that no matter how negatively others judge you, that if you were born into a different set of circumstances, life would've been so different for you. But it's so much easier for the comfortable middle class to look down on you. I'm utterly convinced about 50% of them actually need people to look down on. It's like a psychological craving they have and it's responsible for much of the evil in the world. The other 50% are well-meaning but utterly detached and so could never really understand you.

It's so easy to write people like us off, just assume we were wasters. Nothing could be further from the truth though. 

I was the most gifted kid in my school. My teachers would tell me so. Other parents would say I'd be the one to get out this shit hole and make something of myself. I swear I was a beacon of hope to some until I became homeless and dropped out of college! My mate was a super-talented chef who worked for an agency but nothing was available for him at that point. We were super-creative. We'd draw amazing anime pictures, write hip hop songs, and we'd apply for literally every crappy job in the JobCentre. We wanted to be constructive and creative. We had talents that could be put to use by society, but where we lived, hardly anyone's talents were put to use. You were either a drone or you were unemployed.

When we spoke of politics, one line often came up: All politicians are the same.

The politicians didn't give a fuck about people like us. They wanted their hierarchy. They wanted their lives of privilege to be propped up by our misery. And they had absolutely no desire whatsoever to change the system in a way that would give lads like us a fighting chance. We were beneath them. And that's the way they liked it.

Sometimes, we'd talk about how let down we felt by Tony Blair, about how we genuinely believed for a while that he would change things for us. But any changes where we lived (and there were some) were minimal, and we never saw the benefit ourselves. Things never changed for the overwhelming majority of us. We lived in a different universe to the middle class centrists who love to say "socialism can't work" like capitalism ever did.

So obviously I was a waste of space, even though I did get myself back on my feet, working for one of the world's biggest banks for the best part of a decade. I did pretty well there too, ended up coaching their complaints staff, among other things. My wages were still shit though. I was still living on the breadline. You see, when dickheads like Tony Blair talk about "aspiration", they don't mention that most can aspire to no more than making a stupidly rich person richer while we remain on the breadline, even if we're bloody good at our job, like I was. 

Neoliberalism is a lie. And all politicians are the same.

And then Jeremy Corbyn came along. 

Corbyn had been around for decades, of course. But he arrived in my life at a time when I'd given up on UK politics. I'd never had anyone I could vote for because no party offered anything to people like me. I was more interested in US politics. I was a massive Obama fan until he let me down too. My politics at that point was anyone who won't bomb the shit out the middle east = good, and Obama couldn't even meet that low bar. But then a funny talking old guy named Bernie Sanders started making waves and I had the internet at my fingertips so I began fact checking. It was eye opening. 

I had no idea countries were making a real success of left-wing ideas and their governments were actually representing their people. Suddenly, a new world of possibility was opening up and the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader brought that hope to the UK. Suddenly, we had a choice between more than neoliberalism or neoliberalism. We had the option of meaningful change, of more than poverty.

I was more politically clued-up at this point, but on another level, still rather naive. I honestly assumed, for example, the Labour Party would unite behind their new leader, that whatever their political differences, their ultimate goal of a Labour government would bring them together. Seems hilarious now.

I actually felt like I had something to fight for. I'd married an immigrant and had a baby and we'd been put through hell by the Tory government and their bullshit immigration policies. I was driven to activism and went from having no one to vote for, to joining a political party. A party which had returned to its socialist roots. Labour.

It seemed self-evident to me that 40 years of Thatcherism had failed us. A devastating recession and grotesque levels of inequality meant this was surely undeniable. It never occurred to me that people, the media, politicians, would cling so spitefully to this system that was such a failure. How could any decent person not want change at this point? It never occurred the media would launch such a grotesque smear campaign to maintain their power and privilege. It never occurred the establishment would close ranks so effectively to snuff out any chance of meaningful change.

When they came for Jeremy Corbyn, they came for me and people like me. When they smeared him, they kicked me, stamped on me. They told the working class to get back in our box. They told us we weren't supposed to have a voice. We weren't allowed change. We could have poverty and unemployment, or we could work on the breadline to make them even richer and be fucking well grateful. 

We were being so selfish. We were Generation Me. Fucking laughable.

The problem was the cat was out the bag. The internet not only meant I was fact checking, but we all were. We were developing our political literacy. We young 'uns were learning the older Tories who hate "Generation Me," climbed the ladder of socialism, took advantage of their free university tuition, bought up all our housing stock, including council houses, and when they found themselves in privilege, they voted to deny the same opportunities to us. We watched in horror as they ignored the climate crisis and destroyed our planet, safe in the knowledge they won't be around to see the damage. We saw them acting so utterly selfishly while calling us "Generation Me".

But now we had a figure head. 

We weren't a "cult". We were an entire class of people who badly needed representation. And that's why so many rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn. Crowds of thousands came out in the rain because he showed us so emphatically a better world is possible. He came to within a whisker of power in 2017. And the establishment vilified him for offering something so terrifyingly radical, northern Europe calls it normal. And northern Europe enjoys the highest living standards in the world.

But the young understand this. And by the young, I don't mean a bunch of sixth formers. I mean people of working age. If only people of working age voted, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour would have won in both 2017 and 2019. Fact check it. You have Google.

The reason is simple: Corbyn understands we deserve a living wage. He understands we deserve stable employment with guaranteed hours. He understands education is a right and not a privilege. He understands homelessness is a stain on this country. He understands aspiration in a way the Blairites never could, because he offered the opportunities they would deny us. Corbyn understands society.

We refuse to settle for neoliberal "centrism". Even if Sir Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister, we will still fight on. They won't silence us again. Two thirds of the British public want nationalisation. We want our green new deal. We want radical change. As far as I'm concerned, the beige Sir Keir can fuck off just as badly as Boris Johnson can.

Socialism is not only electable, but it's coming. It's just a matter of when. The only thing that can stop its arrival now is fascism. And we'll fight that to the death.

We have social media. The alternative media. We are ignoring the mainstream. We are informing each other. And even if Jeremy Corbyn's political career ends tomorrow, his legacy will live on. The thing is, we love Jeremy, but it was never about him, it was always about us. He just helped ignite the fire in our bellies. We will not give up the fight for socialism because our lives, and our children's lives, depend on it. The planet depends on it. And we know a better future is possible.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

A List of All 322 MPs Who Voted to Starve the Kids

Here is a list of all 322 MPs who voted to starve British school children during the half-term holidays while we're in the middle of a pandemic. Is your MP among them?

Nigel Adams (Conservative – Selby & Ainsty)

Bim Afolami (Conservative – Hitchin & Harpenden)

Adam Afriyie (Conservative – Windsor)

Imran Ahmad Khan (Conservative – Wakefield)

Nickie Aiken (Conservative – Cities of London & Westminster) 

Peter Aldous (Conservative – Waveney)

Lucy Allan (Conservative – Telford)

David Amess (Conservative – Southend West)

Lee Anderson (Conservative – Ashfield)

Stuart Anderson (Conservative – Wolverhampton South West)

Stuart Andrew (Conservative – Pudsey)

Edward Argar (Conservative – Charnwood)

Sarah Atherton (Conservative – Wrexham)

Victoria Atkins (Conservative – Louth & Horncastle)

Gareth Bacon (Conservative – Orpington)

Richard Bacon (Conservative – South Norfolk)

Kemi Badenoch (Conservative – Saffron Walden)

Shaun Bailey (Conservative – West Bromwich West)

Duncan Baker (Conservative – North Norfolk)

Steve Baker (Conservative – Wycombe)

Harriett Baldwin (Conservative – West Worcestershire)

Steve Barclay (Conservative – North East Cambridgeshire)

Simon Baynes (Conservative – Clwyd South)

Aaron Bell (Conservative – Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Scott Benton (Conservative – Blackpool South)

Paul Beresford (Conservative – Mole Valley)

Jake Berry (Conservative – Rossendale & Darwen) 

Saqib Bhatti (Conservative – Meriden)

Bob Blackman (Conservative – Harrow East) 

Crispin Blunt (Conservative – Reigate) 

Peter Bone (Conservative – Wellingborough) 

Peter Bottomley (Conservative – Worthing West)

Andrew Bowie (Conservative – West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine)

Ben Bradley (Conservative – Mansfield) 

Karen Bradley (Conservative – Staffordshire Moorlands)

Graham Brady (Conservative – Altrincham & Sale West)

Suella Braverman (Conservative – Fareham)

Jack Brereton (Conservative – Stoke-on-Trent South)

Andrew Bridgen (Conservative – North West Leicestershire) 

Steve Brine (Conservative – Winchester)

Paul Bristow (Conservative – Peterborough)

Sara Britcliffe (Conservative – Hyndburn)

James Brokenshire (Conservative – Old Bexley & Sidcup)

Anthony Browne (Conservative – South Cambridgeshire)

Fiona Bruce (Conservative – Congleton)

Felicity Buchan (Conservative – Kensington)

Robert Buckland (Conservative – South Swindon)

Alex Burghart (Conservative – Brentwood & Ongar)

Conor Burns (Conservative – Bournemouth West)

Rob Butler (Conservative – Aylesbury)

Alun Cairns (Conservative – Vale of Glamorgan)

Andy Carter (Conservative – Warrington South)

James Cartlidge (Conservative – South Suffolk)

William Cash (Conservative – Stone) 

Miriam Cates (Conservative – Penistone & Stocksbridge)

Maria Caulfield (Conservative – Lewes)

Alex Chalk (Conservative – Cheltenham)

Rehman Chishti (Conservative – Gillingham & Rainham)

Jo Churchill (Conservative – Bury St Edmunds)

Greg Clark (Conservative – Tunbridge Wells)

Simon Clarke (Conservative – Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland) 

Theo Clarke (Conservative – Stafford)

Brendan Clarke-Smith (Conservative – Bassetlaw)

Chris Clarkson (Conservative – Heywood & Middleton)

James Cleverly (Conservative – Braintree)

Thérèse Coffey (Conservative – Suffolk Coastal)

Damian Collins (Conservative – Folkestone & Hythe) 

Alberto Costa (Conservative – South Leicestershire) 

Robert Courts (Conservative – Witney)

Claire Coutinho (Conservative – East Surrey)

Geoffrey Cox (Conservative – Torridge & West Devon)

Virginia Crosbie (Conservative – Ynys Môn)

James Daly (Conservative – Bury North)

David T C Davies (Conservative – Monmouth)

James Davies (Conservative – Vale of Clwyd)

Gareth Davies (Conservative – Grantham and Stamford)

Mims Davies (Conservative – Mid Sussex)

Philip Davies (Conservative – Shipley)

David Davis (Conservative – Haltemprice and Howden)

Dehenna Davison (Conservative – Bishop Auckland)

Caroline Dinenage (Conservative – Gosport) 

Sarah Dines (Conservative – Derbyshire Dales)

Jonathan Djanogly (Conservative – Huntingdon)

Michelle Donelan (Conservative – Chippenham)

Nadine Dorries (Conservative – Mid Bedfordshire) 

Steve Double (Conservative – St Austell and Newquay) 

Oliver Dowden (Conservative – Hertsmere)

Jackie Doyle-Price (Conservative – Thurrock)

Richard Drax (Conservative – South Dorset)

Flick Drummond (Conservative – Meon Valley)

David Duguid (Conservative – Banff and Buchan)

Iain Duncan Smith (Conservative – Chingford and Woodford Green)

Mark Eastwood (Conservative – Dewsbury)

Ruth Edwards (Conservative – Rushcliffe) 

Michael Ellis (Conservative – Northampton North)

Tobias Ellwood (Conservative – Bournemouth East)

Natalie Elphicke (Conservative – Dover)

George Eustice (Conservative – Camborne and Redruth)

Luke Evans (Conservative – Bosworth) 

David Evennett (Conservative – Bexleyheath and Crayford) 

Ben Everitt (Conservative – Milton Keynes North)

Michael Fabricant (Conservative – Lichfield) 

Laura Farris (Conservative – Newbury)

Simon Fell (Conservative – Barrow and Furness)

Katherine Fletcher (Conservative – South Ribble)

Mark Fletcher (Conservative – Bolsover)

Nick Fletcher (Conservative – Don Valley)

Vicky Ford (Conservative – Chelmsford)

Kevin Foster (Conservative – Torbay)

Mark Francois (Conservative – Rayleigh and Wickford) 

Lucy Frazer (Conservative – South East Cambridgeshire)

George Freeman (Conservative – Mid Norfolk) 

Mike Freer (Conservative – Finchley and Golders Green)

Richard Fuller (Conservative – North East Bedfordshire)

Marcus Fysh (Conservative – Yeovil) 

Mark Garnier (Conservative – Wyre Forest)

Nusrat Ghani (Conservative – Wealden)

Nick Gibb (Conservative – Bognor Regis and Littlehampton)

Peter Gibson (Conservative – Darlington)

Jo Gideon (Conservative – Stoke-on-Trent Central)

Cheryl Gillan (Conservative – Chesham and Amersham) 

John Glen (Conservative – Salisbury)

Robert Goodwill (Conservative – Scarborough and Whitby)

Michael Gove (Conservative – Surrey Heath)

Richard Graham (Conservative – Gloucester)

Helen Grant (Conservative – Maidstone and The Weald) 

James Gray (Conservative – North Wiltshire)

Chris Grayling (Conservative – Epsom and Ewell)

Chris Green (Conservative – Bolton West)

Damian Green (Conservative – Ashford)

Andrew Griffith (Conservative – Arundel and South Downs)

Kate Griffiths (Conservative – Burton)

James Grundy (Conservative – Leigh)

Jonathan Gullis (Conservative – Stoke-on-Trent North)

Luke Hall (Conservative – Thornbury and Yate)

Stephen Hammond (Conservative – Wimbledon)

Matt Hancock (Conservative – West Suffolk)

Greg Hands (Conservative – Chelsea and Fulham)

Mark Harper (Conservative – Forest of Dean)

Rebecca Harris (Conservative – Castle Point)

Trudy Harrison (Conservative – Copeland)

Sally-Ann Hart (Conservative – Hastings and Rye)

Simon Hart (Conservative – Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire)

John Hayes (Conservative – South Holland and The Deepings)

Oliver Heald (Conservative – North East Hertfordshire) 

Chris Heaton-Harris (Conservative – Daventry)

Gordon Henderson (Conservative – Sittingbourne and Sheppey)

Darren Henry (Conservative – Broxtowe)

Antony Higginbotham (Conservative – Burnley)

Damian Hinds (Conservative – East Hampshire)

Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative – Thirsk and Malton)

Philip Hollobone (Conservative – Kettering)

Adam Holloway (Conservative – Gravesham) 

Paul Holmes (Conservative – Eastleigh)

John Howell (Conservative – Henley)

Paul Howell (Conservative – Sedgefield)

Nigel Huddleston (Conservative – Mid Worcestershire)

Eddie Hughes (Conservative – Walsall North)

Jane Hunt (Conservative – Loughborough)

Jeremy Hunt (Conservative – South West Surrey)

Tom Hunt (Conservative – Ipswich)

Alister Jack (Conservative – Dumfries and Galloway)

Sajid Javid (Conservative – Bromsgrove)

Ranil Jayawardena (Conservative – North East Hampshire) 

Mark Jenkinson (Conservative – Workington)

Andrea Jenkyns (Conservative – Morley and Outwood)

Robert Jenrick (Conservative – Newark)

Boris Johnson (Conservative – Uxbridge and South Ruislip)

Caroline Johnson (Conservative – Sleaford and North Hykeham) 

Gareth Johnson (Conservative – Dartford)

David Johnston (Conservative – Wantage)

Andrew Jones (Conservative – Harrogate and Knaresborough)

Fay Jones (Conservative – Brecon and Radnorshire)

David Jones (Conservative – Clwyd West)

Marcus Jones (Conservative – Nuneaton)

Simon Jupp (Conservative – East Devon) 

Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative – Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Alicia Kearns (Conservative – Rutland and Melton)

Gillian Keegan (Conservative – Chichester)

Julian Knight (Conservative – Solihull) 

Greg Knight (Conservative – East Yorkshire) 

Danny Kruger (Conservative – Devizes)

Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative – Spelthorne)

John Lamont (Conservative – Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk) 

Robert Largan (Conservative – High Peak)

Andrea Leadsom (Conservative – South Northamptonshire)

Edward Leigh (Conservative – Gainsborough)

Ian Levy (Conservative – Blyth Valley) 

Andrew Lewer (Conservative – Northampton South)

Brandon Lewis (Conservative – Great Yarmouth)

Julian Lewis (Independent – New Forest East)

Ian Liddell-Grainger (Conservative – Bridgwater and West Somerset) 

Chris Loder (Conservative – West Dorset)

Mark Logan (Conservative – Bolton North East)

Marco Longhi (Conservative – Dudley North) 

Julia Lopez (Conservative – Hornchurch and Upminster)

Jack Lopresti (Conservative – Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Jonathan Lord (Conservative – Woking)

Craig Mackinlay (Conservative – South Thanet)

Cherilyn Mackrory (Conservative – Truro and Falmouth)

Rachel Maclean (Conservative – Redditch)

Alan Mak (Conservative – Havant)

Kit Malthouse (Conservative – North West Hampshire)

Anthony Mangnall (Conservative – Totnes)

Scott Mann (Conservative – North Cornwall)

Julie Marson (Conservative – Hertford and Stortford)

Theresa May (Conservative – Maidenhead)

Jerome Mayhew (Conservative – Broadland)

Karl McCartney (Conservative – Lincoln) 

Mark Menzies (Conservative – Fylde) 

Johnny Mercer (Conservative – Plymouth, Moor View)

Huw Merriman (Conservative – Bexhill and Battle)

Stephen Metcalfe (Conservative – South Basildon and East Thurrock) 

Robin Millar (Conservative – Aberconwy)

Maria Miller (Conservative – Basingstoke)

Amanda Milling (Conservative – Cannock Chase)

Nigel Mills (Conservative – Amber Valley) 

Andrew Mitchell (Conservative – Sutton Coldfield)

Gagan Mohindra (Conservative – South West Hertfordshire)

Robbie Moore (Conservative – Keighley)

Penny Mordaunt (Conservative – Portsmouth North)

David Morris (Conservative – Morecambe and Lunesdale) 

James Morris (Conservative – Halesowen and Rowley Regis)

Wendy Morton (Conservative – Aldridge-Brownhills)

Kieran Mullan (Conservative – Crewe and Nantwich)

David Mundell (Conservative – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale)

Sheryll Murray (Conservative – South East Cornwall)

Andrew Murrison (Conservative – South West Wiltshire)

Robert Neill (Conservative – Bromley and Chislehurst)

Caroline Nokes (Conservative – Romsey and Southampton North)

Jesse Norman (Conservative – Hereford and South Herefordshire)

Neil O’Brien (Conservative – Harborough)

Guy Opperman (Conservative – Hexham) 

Owen Paterson (Conservative – North Shropshire)

Mark Pawsey (Conservative – Rugby)

Mike Penning (Conservative – Hemel Hempstead) 

John Penrose (Conservative – Weston-super-Mare)

Chris Philp (Conservative – Croydon South)

Christopher Pincher (Conservative – Tamworth)

Rebecca Pow (Conservative – Taunton Deane)

Victoria Prentis (Conservative – Banbury)

Mark Pritchard (Conservative – The Wrekin)

Jeremy Quin (Conservative – Horsham)

Will Quince (Conservative – Colchester)

Tom Randall (Conservative – Gedling)

John Redwood (Conservative – Wokingham)

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative – North East Somerset)

Nicola Richards (Conservative – West Bromwich East)

Angela Richardson (Conservative – Guildford)

Rob Roberts (Conservative – Delyn)

Laurence Robertson (Conservative – Tewkesbury)

Mary Robinson (Conservative – Cheadle)

Andrew Rosindell (Conservative – Romford)

Lee Rowley (Conservative – North East Derbyshire)

Dean Russell (Conservative – Watford)

David Rutley (Conservative – Macclesfield)

Gary Sambrook (Conservative – Birmingham, Northfield)

Selaine Saxby (Conservative – North Devon)

Paul Scully (Conservative – Sutton and Cheam)

Bob Seely (Conservative – Isle of Wight)

Andrew Selous (Conservative – South West Bedfordshire)

Grant Shapps (Conservative – Welwyn Hatfield)

Alok Sharma (Conservative – Reading West)

Alec Shelbrooke (Conservative – Elmet and Rothwell)

David Simmonds (Conservative – Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner)

Chris Skidmore (Conservative – Kingswood)

Chloe Smith (Conservative – Norwich North) 

Greg Smith (Conservative – Buckingham)

Henry Smith (Conservative – Crawley) 

Julian Smith (Conservative – Skipton and Ripon)

Amanda Solloway (Conservative – Derby North)

Ben Spencer (Conservative – Runnymede and Weybridge)

Mark Spencer (Conservative – Sherwood)

Alexander Stafford (Conservative – Rother Valley)

Andrew Stephenson (Conservative – Pendle)

Jane Stevenson (Conservative – Wolverhampton North East)

John Stevenson (Conservative – Carlisle)

Bob Stewart (Conservative – Beckenham)

Iain Stewart (Conservative – Milton Keynes South)

Gary Streeter (Conservative – South West Devon) 

Mel Stride (Conservative – Central Devon) 

Rishi Sunak (Conservative – Richmond (Yorkshire))

James Sunderland (Conservative – Bracknell)

Desmond Swayne (Conservative – New Forest West)

Robert Syms (Conservative – Poole)

Derek Thomas (Conservative – St Ives)

Maggie Throup (Conservative – Erewash)

Edward Timpson (Conservative – Eddisbury) 

Kelly Tolhurst (Conservative – Rochester and Strood)

Justin Tomlinson (Conservative – North Swindon)

Michael Tomlinson (Conservative – Mid Dorset and North Poole)

Craig Tracey (Conservative – North Warwickshire)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Conservative – Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Laura Trott (Conservative – Sevenoaks)

Tom Tugendhat (Conservative – Tonbridge and Malling)

Martin Vickers (Conservative – Cleethorpes)

Matt Vickers (Conservative – Stockton South)

Theresa Villiers (Conservative – Chipping Barnet)

Robin Walker (Conservative – Worcester)

Charles Walker (Conservative – Broxbourne)

Jamie Wallis (Conservative – Bridgend)

David Warburton (Conservative – Somerton and Frome) 

Matt Warman (Conservative – Boston and Skegness)

Giles Watling (Conservative – Clacton)

Suzanne Webb (Conservative – Stourbridge)

Helen Whately (Conservative – Faversham and Mid Kent)

Heather Wheeler (Conservative – South Derbyshire)

Craig Whittaker (Conservative – Calder Valley)

John Whittingdale (Conservative – Maldon)

Bill Wiggin (Conservative – North Herefordshire)

James Wild (Conservative – North West Norfolk)

Craig Williams (Conservative – Montgomeryshire)

Gavin Williamson (Conservative – South Staffordshire)

Mike Wood (Conservative – Dudley South)

William Wragg (Conservative – Hazel Grove)

Jeremy Wright (Conservative – Kenilworth and Southam)

Jacob Young (Conservative – Redcar)

Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative – Stratford-on-Avon)

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