For many, politics is a healthy process of societal discourse in which people interact as equals to untangle society’s malaises, with debate being sought in order to reach the most rational outcome. For others, politics is largely an expression of beliefs, the means by which one expresses who they are, giving input based on circumstance and experience in the hope that this can contribute something to our ever-polarised zeitgeist. And, to others, I fear politics is a game, a route to power and authority, the be-all and end-all of what they want to be. I fear it brings out the worst in people- the maltruism if you will of conflict and sabotage, underhand tactics and the end result of whatever ulterior motive is sought.
It is with this in mind that I find myself lost beyond language with the direction the Corbyn-led movement has taken. What was once a sovereign, fresh and organic concept has rotted and decayed as it finds itself increasingly relevant in politics today. I was happy to offer my support at the offset, given it being was what our establishment needed- ideas! Maybe austerity is wrong, maybe we don’t need weapons of mass destruction, maybe we can all have a part to play in politics. But as this movement became welded into the formation of Momentum, I fear it has collapsed as a viable entity.
Where are the ideas that are the first, vital step after the notions? Where is the direction, the plan to bring said ideas into action by- wait for it- forming a government? The lack of substance offered by Corbyn and his team is so crushingly evident it makes it nakedly obvious to most that this is not an end of the political spectrum with the ultimate goal of government, the end game of politics whether you are a person like me or not.
Ideas do not exist in the real world if you do not have the ability to act on them. I am a product of the welfare state; the child of a mother who required working tax credits and housing benefit to survive the process of raising two children on her own whilst working a full time job, I have been a recipient of free childcare, free education, state-funded reconstructive chest surgery, free school meals, means-tested government grants, tuition fee loans and countless other initiatives that have improved the quality of my life in ways many do not understand. These incredible government programmes stemmed from a notion, the notion that those born into difficulties should not be left behind, this notion flowing into ideas that eventually became policies brought to life by a Labour government that founded the welfare state with people like me in mind.
It is this that makes me so enraged by the mind-set that power is not worth having if the cost is compromise- often held by the protected, the middle class, the comfortable. It has been estimated that as many as 75% of Labour members are in the ABC1 categories, and this does not surprise me given the relaxed attitude to power the likes of Jon Lansman have implied exists within the Corbyn-affiliated movement. I yearn for a Labour government because the Tories have done things to undermine the welfare state, directly affecting people like me.
When the Tories cut benefits, the protected may moan, but others go hungry. When the Tories cut EMA, the middle class may be more upset still, but that disquiet is insignificant to the consequences cut funding has on poor teenagers who need the financial impetus for basics such as school supplies. When the Tories raise tuition fees, the comfortable may bemoan the burden of owed money their generation will have to face, but could they ever understand what £50,000 of debt may look like to a kid whose household income is barely a quarter of that?
I am slowly falling out of love with Labour in its current form as this vacuous trendification of a once proud and noble party aligns, in equal measure, with the dearth of a palpable yearn to help the poor, the people that Labour exists to help. There exists a slow, rumbling fetishisation-cum-dislike of Britain’s poor in our society, exemplified by trends such as the gentrification of urban areas, as well as the snobbish attitudes many possess towards those who have different views of society to them i.e. the millions of C2/DE voters that adopted Brexit as their own perniciously blunt anti-establishment mantra.
Unfortunately, this has also hyperextended to left-of-centre politics. If there was evidenced care for the poor, there would be a lust for power; power could help the 3.7m children currently living in poverty, power could revitalise decimated regions and breathe life into communities fragmented along racial lines thanks to sustained, gross negligence by the political class, power could help those who cannot help themselves. And that, my friends, is the end game of politics to someone like me.