Being soft left, and having a bit of time on my hands now that I'm retired, I joined the Fabian Society a few years ago. I even attended a meeting and I quite enjoyed myself, and might even go to another one day.
You will have gathered that I am a camp-follower rather an activist. I'm almost apologetic about it. To some people, learning that I am a closet socialist will come as a shock. Worse than declaring myself a Satanist to some. Less fun certainly, there having been no ritual dancing, or worse, at the Fabian Society meeting.
I may well have kept quiet about the whole thing. Politics being a done deal, the pinks are out, the oranges are dead in the water, the pale blues are triumphing over us for a while, you know, same old, same old, nothing changes, I only vote out of habit.
Then I got something interesting in my Twitter feed a couple of months ago. A stirring, a rumbling, a gentle start to a very quiet revolution. 'Put Corbyn on the ballot!' some lefties were saying and I thought "Hey-ho, well, in the interest of fairness, might as well." You know, hardly a response.
Then I started to watch the guy, listen to him, see what was happening. People were actually INTERESTED. Young people. The great number of turned-off people who I may be the first to call the 'unelecting'. I even thought about stumping up £3 to put my oar in.
Then a Fabian email told me I didn't have to. If I registered, and was duly checked out and verified as a True Fabian and not a Tory taking the piss, I was already entitled!!! So I did, and I can.
Today I received an email from my nice Labour MEP Ms Clare Moody,( UKIP one, not so nice. Never answered my query about his attendance record and expenses claim. SHAME ON YOU, EARL OF DARTFORD!) Ms Moody wrote to me telling me that she was voting for Yvette in the Leadership contest. I wrote back telling HER to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. I know you're dying to know what I said, so here it is:
Dear Clare Moody,
Thank you for your email today recommending that I should vote for
Yvette Cooper. I'm going to take time to explain to you why I'm voting
for Jeremy Corbyn.
Firstly, who I am. A retired primary school headteacher, who owes a
great deal to socialism. Without the great reforms following WW2 I may
have died because my parents couldn't afford hospital treatment when I
was four , and I would have been undereducated, having been denied a
decent education ... .
The Labour Party in those days seemed unafraid to be passionate about
social justice. Today, it appears to me to be 'Tory-lite' entirely
concerned with 'being electable' - a spurious and self-defeating
concept at best, that turns off many voters who see it as self-serving
and totally, totally uninspiring.
Barak Obama was 'unelectable' before he was elected, before his passion
for justice woke up the conscience of the left (and the centre ) and
broke the tired mould.
And look what the Scottish Nationalists achieved! First they wrung
improbable promises from a frightened establishment ( where was the 'no
alternative' mantra THEN?) then they wiped the floor with the
opposition in the General Election. Why? Because ordinary people like
me woke up to the fact that here were people in politics with passion,
rooted in the lives of the people they were asking to vote for them,
and not afraid of being 'unelectable '.
I could go on. Believe me I am, and always will be, a Labour supporter,
because I remember what the alternative looked like, but I have my eyes
open and can see clearly that nobody but Jeremy Corbyn in the current
leadership race will attract new voters. THAT is the lesson of the last
Now I'm going to invite you to take a cool hard look at a different
perspective, the one I hold. Read Paul Krugman on the economics of
austerity. Look at what Nicola Sturgeon has achieved with the
'unelecting' and vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election.
(Signed with an electronic signature in accordance with subsection 7(3)
of the Electronic Communications Act 2000.)