A Dual Account:
Youth no1: Below is a list of reasons I decided to join the Labour Party. This is not intended as a list to convince you to vote for or join Labour, but is rather a list of reasons that I decided to join – although you may view them as ignorant, naive etc.
Youth no2: Last month I joined the Labour Party. Even though I’m not a labourer. Even though it’s not 1964. Even though I’m not male. Even though I’m not a member of a Trade Union.
Why then? And it was definitely NOT because of Harry Styles.
1. Ed Miliband – despite being called ‘Red Ed’ by right wing press (which unfortunately he is far from being), has still shown some promising support for more left wing policies – such as nationalisation of the railways. He has also shown his ability/ willingness to take on the right wing capitalist market forces, such as his campaign over energy prices, and Labour’s promise to freeze them.
2. Nationalisation: I’m committed to nationalisation because it ensures workers’ rights (to strike, to proper pensions/salaries/conditions/leave etc.), public benefit from profits and the prevention of the condensing of power into the very few people who make a fuck load of money out of fizzy drink businesses.
3. Labour’s donations are generally morally legitimate; Tories’ donors are dodgier even than is widely known. Yes, they have lots of extremely rich ones (which proves who their policies are designed for) and that alone is a bit of a grim fact anyway; but these guys also have loads of influence on what policies are made/or even considered. They have shadowy meetings where party lines are discussed in order to safeguard the high profits of these big corporations. This stuff can limit human rights etc. – but it’s also a transfer of power into the hands of people we didn’t even elect.
4. Futility of division; realistically (or cynically) I also believe that Labour are the only (current) alternative to getting rid of this insidious TORY government. This is due mainly to the FPTP system, however I believe the Left needs to unite during this time, overthrow the Tories, and then think about reform etc. At a time when one of our last remaining socialist institutions (the NHS) is being threatened, I do not think now is the time for the Left to divide.
5. The NHS. Clement Attlee, Labour PM after WW2 created this shit. And I really like it. Whatsmore, there is plenty of terrifying evidence that this government is slowly outsourcing the NHS to the private sector, without us knowing. It’s really, really, really sickening.
6. Community Spirit. Also, truthfully, in an age when young people have relatively little actual power I have to admit it feels quite nice to be part of a bigger organisation, where you feel like something positive could actually be achieved. For a young person interested in politics, yet with no idea of how to channel this constructively, it can feel productive to be part of something as big (historically and currently) as the Labour Party. (Does this sound too Hitler youth-ish?
7. Labour Party members are nicer. John O’Farrell, thoroughly objective author, said this so I’m not making it up. His research shows Tories’ houses to be neater (yawn) and for Labour supporters to be more likely to have a disused moped in their garden (cool!). But really, I genuinely believe this. Labour is a liberal party, the party who legalised homosexuality – arguably before the majority of British wanted it – in the 60s. No other party is committed to social equality of opportunity in the same reverence. Nice people vote Labour, a more representative party including more women and ethnic minority MPs than any other.
8. Positivity of representation now/in the future. Like many, I don’t believe the Labour Party is perfect, and personally I would like it to openly commit to many more left wing policies, as well as hold greater reflection of the working class in its membership, or people with varied life experiences. However, like others such as Owen Jones I believe this CAN be achieved within the party, rather than outside of it.
9. Equality. Cos of my belief in the propagation of wealth amongst the many, not the few. Labour favours higher taxes for the rich (eg the mansion tax) and higher benefits for the poor to create a more equal society.
10. Politics and women/ethnic minorities. The Labour Party also has a MUCH greater emphasis on the recruitment of and appealing to both women and ethnic minorities. Recently I read that if Labour wins a set of key seats in London they will have equally as many women MPs as male. Whilst I am aware that the Party is by no means completely representative of Britain, in comparison with the Tories they are moving much faster in this direction.
11. Commitment and belief in a better society. Labour Party members believe stuff way more strongly. Hence, the well known and destructive internal fighting that Labour has often suffered – which the Tories HAVE NOT to the same extent, in modern Britain. That’s cos the Tories don’t care. They’re all careerist anyway. Labour CARE passionately about the future of Britain and the happiness of its population. They care enough to deliberately lose elections (I’m not advocating this), to abstain from Conference votes, to push policies that had no chance of winning them elections (unilateral disarmament). Maybe I’m young and naïve – and I do worry about that – but maybe that’s just really fucking commendable. The Tories do not argue, they just need to be told what to do to restore/remain in power. Like under Thatcher. That’s not even democratical – plus it’s lame.
12. Red is a better colour than blue.
13. Historical reasons. Finally, I think part of the reason for me joining the Labour Party is nostalgia for the old Labour, and I (possibly unrealistically) hope that they can some day return to the Socialist, anti-Capitalist Party they once were, with a true emphasis on working class rights and power.
14. Societal reasons. Labour is the party of the PEOPLE and of together-ness. The Tories are the party of the rich, the party of individualism, the party of no society, of every man as an island, with a frankly revolting get-rich-quick-fuck-others attitude. This is an obvious point, but it’s the most vital. Especially in the age we live in – the age that Thatcher created – the age of 650 TV channels, branded clothing, food banks in a city the bankers run. They stand for competition not community, status not kindness. I could go on. You probably get it.
BTW if you’re still angry about Iraq (which I am and I get that it’s hard to forget) then good news: Jack Straw (foreign secretary at the time) has been suspended – so you can rejoin the Party (if they ever let you leave, which apparently they didn’t to quite a lot of angry ppl)
If this has, amazingly, pesuaded you then you can apply easily on Labour’s website for just ONE POUND A YEAR.
– you get a cool, really old looking (*retro*) membership card too