politics

Why I’m voting Labour in the 2017 general election

It’s just two days until the UK descends unto the polling stations to have their say on who should run the country. A snap election, no one was really ready for this; we were all essentially hurled into a situation where we have to make a major decision in a really short space of time. Cue: freakout by many.

For us in our twenties, I think it’s fair to say this ‘snap election’ is attempting to unfairly take advantage of our belief in the electoral system. Theresa May’s government is well aware that we got royally screwed over by the Lib Dems in 2010 – an outcome that left many disheartened. Theresa May and the Conservatives are relying on this. They are counting on us feeling betrayed, and on us not voting as a result.

I umm’d and ahh’d about writing anything about the election, because I honestly felt like it wasn’t really my place. I wasn’t sure if I was well enough informed, and I wasn’t sure if  I could make any difference. But the reality is that for perhaps the first time in my life, I feel incredibly passionate about politics – about our current political situation. So you better believe I’m going to talk about it. And I’m going to talk about why I think you should vote Labour.

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Why am I voting Labour?

I think a lot of people struggle to make sense of how political manifestos will personally affect them – I know I have! Applying politics to your own life is really hard when they’re all spouting mumbo jumbo. What does this mean for me? I asked myself these questions…

What will Labour do for the NHS?

I think we all need to have a pretty frank think about what private healthcare would mean for each of us. Because as I understand it, if Labour do not win this election, and the Conservatives have their way, then we better sort our affairs out in the next couple of years. There will be no NHS. We will have to pay for our care, regardless the severity, from our own pockets. The so-called ‘jewel’ of our society will be dulled and our nation will suffer beyond comprehension.

Labour are pledging £6bn to the NHS, taken from those who can afford it from their taxes.

What will Labour do for education? 

I fell victim to the Lib Dems’ false promises of 2010 when I was a student, so I am perhaps more sensitive than others when we discuss the potential future of higher education in the UK. Labour plans to abolish university tuition fees as of 2018, with the  potential for debts from 2017 & earlier being taken into account.

In many primary schools, Labour will seek to reduce class sizes to less than 30 pupils. In secondary schools, they seek to put funding into ensuring that state school pupils are no less prepared or educated than those of private schools. This, like the plans for the NHS, will be funded by the high earners – the people who can afford to put back into our society. And if all education standards were equal, why would we need this divide? Why would we need a mix of state and private schools if all offered the same quality of education? This is the ideal I think Labour wishes to seek out – no more class divides.

Labour will increase taxes – am I going to end up paying more and losing out?

Unless you currently earn more than £80,000 a year, then a Labour government will not increase your income tax. This is 95% of all tax payers. As a ‘creative’ (read: humanities student/millennial/hipster) I could never dream of earning this amount, so I would not be affected by this. But allow me to digress, for a second.

I think all of us see income tax as a burden. We also see corporation tax, set to increase under Labour government, as a burden. I think we are wrong.

I think we need to start seeing what our tax does for us. Our tax pays for our national institutions; our NHS, our schools, our care for the elderly. Look at Scandinavian countries; they pay much more in terms of tax but are far more content as nations. Not to mention that the new proposed corporation tax is still one of the lowest in Europe. Even if we pay more, are we not investing in the sustainability of our nation? Not just for us but for our family we bring into this community?

Why do I back Jeremy Corbyn?

If there’s one thing we can all agree on right now, it’s that Jeremy Corbyn has proven to be one of the most divisive party leaders in recent history. These are the reasons I’m backing him…

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  • He’s always been true to his beliefs. A quick look at his voting record shows that Corbyn has been consistent in his social and political beliefs since he became an MP in 1983. There’s not a whole lot of backtracking going on over the decades, and that’s why I believe he won’t go back on what he’s proposing today, e.g.. Brexit. Corbyn didn’t vote for Brexit, but he will not go back on the decision. He will make it work for our country. I think we can trust him.
  • He’s a socialist. He is a man of peace, and has never pretended to be anything else – regardless of the potential personal gain. Anti-war through-and-through, even his controversial historical connections to the IRA were in the hope of implementing calm, not terrorism.
  • He’s against the use of nuclear weapons. In a rather remarkable segment on BBC QT, Corbyn had to defend his stance that we should not be so readily implicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. He hasn’t, as some outlets falsely suggest, ruled out nuclear action altogether, but he has made clear that this response would only be implemented as an absolute last resort. To quote “I will decide on the circumstances of it at the time.” – which is surely the most balanced and reassuring response any leader should give at this time.
  • He shows emotion and empathy. I’m not going to spend time making comparisons to other party leaders (although the term ‘Maybot’, coined and used frequently in John Crace’s brilliantly satirical politics sketches, feels increasingly relevant), but there’s no denying this election campaign has really shown Corbyn’s human side. Deemed ‘unelectable’ by many a few months ago, his public and TV appearances have shown that he is confident, collected, and capable of connecting. From his impassioned speeches about terrorism to his shared values with the Grime music community. From tackling Paxman and Marr to munching Pringles with supporters. Corbyn is about a community. And I feel his humanity.

 

I want to round things up with the statement that Labour are championing this election: for the many, not the few. I truly believe that Labour will do what is best for the majority of our country, and that under Corbyn’s leadership we will give life to the critical institutions (healthcare, education, social care) that set us apart from other nations. The institutions that make us great. We are not a third world country. And we should not treat an incredibly large percentage of our citizens as if they are such.

I am, of course, providing a biased argument, and I accept that. But if you are still undecided, I ask you to read this piece on Labour’s and Corbyn’s policies to see how many you agree/disagree with. You may be surprised.

Thursday 8th June is when we have the chance to have our say. Don’t let your voice be silenced. Vote.

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