Friday, 21 August 2015

It's my Party and I'll cry if I want to

It's my Party and I'll cry if I want to 

It really is quarter to 3 with no-one in the place awake but me, and after filling in the Labour leadership ballot form I decided to vote online. That decision was the hardest I had to make. The rest was easy.

Jeremy Corbyn for Leader. Only one vote cast and all the rest, though fair and wise, I commend to cold oblivion. JC  (interesting initials for a potential saviour!) is met everywhere he goes with wild enthusiasm from the people and vitriol from his Labour Party opponents who cling on well past their sell-by date in denial that anything like this could happen. Real life is pushing through the Party cracks eager to reveal itself. The stage-managing days, the mismanaged, unconvincing campaign, the lack of wide appeal, may finally have brought a clapped-out regime to an end.  

We seem to have arrived at one of those times of rebirth; resisted by those with plenty to lose, full of heady hope and relief for the rest. We have to catch up with things that have already moved on under their own momentum.  Do our actions cause change or reflect it?

In some ways the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon resembles that of Nicola Sturgeon and the phenomenal success of the anti-austerity SNP up in Scotland that could never happen but has. Just as in Scotland, there has been little self-awareness of the consequences of an increasing disengagement with the grass roots by what once was New Labour but is now an anachronism. 

The Leader's speech at last year's Conference in Manchester was a defining moment.  Having queued as we do every year to get into the hall, young, old and somewhere in the middle, Party members who were gathered together from all over the UK, patiently waiting for the hall doors to open, hungry for leadership, inspiration, we suddenly saw on a screen that the speech had started but the doors had not opened.  The reason?  A selected bunch of young people, good camera fodder, had been led through another door to be placed strategically around Ed.  We were furious. We were told we could go into side rooms and watch on screen. That wasn't why we had come to Conference. It was the speech in which Ed famously forgot to mention the deficit. The beginning of the end.  Priority was spin and image. Perhaps more priority should have been given to practicing the speech on Ed's hurried return from Scotland. But we didn't know about this omission until later as we had gone off in disgust to the nearest pub to drown our sorrows.  Tears of despair fell into my slim-line tonic with ice and lemon and lime. I didn't hold back. It's my Party and I'll cry if I want to.

As you may have guessed from my recent tweets, I voted for only one candidate, namely, Jeremy Corbyn, the only candidate who is right for our time, the candidate people are supporting in droves with a new-found trust and optimism for the future. Isn't that what democracy is all about?

I voted Stella Creasey for Deputy Leader,  I just like her; Sadiq Khan for London Mayor, no contest as far as I'm concerned - head and shoulders above the rest; and of course the inimitable, the excellent, tried and tested, Alon Or-bach for National Policy Forum.

Right now it is the good who are full of passionate intensity.