The last time I canvassed for Labour votes was in Toxteth in 1966.
Last night I dropped a few leaflets through doors in Pensby and I will vote for Margaret Greenwood, our local Labour candidate. I am by inclination a non-voter. Perhaps a Green or an anarchist.
This year I am shaken to the core by the loss of so much public wealth – libraries, parks, schools, children’s centres, the arts: publicly owned agencies and intellectual property, public transport, public housing, support for disabled, the deliberate run-down of the NHS and its supplanting by private contractors. I hate the way that private finance initiatives, private investment in the work of public institutions, outsourcing, external contracts and claims for damages against the public realm with their associated disproportionately high procedural costs have all top and bottom sliced the finances of institutions that serve us all. We are left with less and less of what sustains, supports and ennobles us. Those with fewer private means are hurt more than those with private affluence to shelter them.
It’s gone on for years, but somehow it’s getting more acute. I was shaken by Brexit and the cynical scapegoating of people born outside UK. I’m shaken by years of hate crimes, bombings, shootings and stabbings and by the polarisation of attitudes which tries to divide our community. The threat of the break up of UK worries me almost as much as our divorce from Europe. This is more than austerity, it’s a deliberate public impoverishment by people and agencies with private means which are beyond avarice. I associate the anti-Europe sentiment with the oligarchs, media-manipulators, money-changers and monopolists who can wheedle their way round the regulation of a single state, which in turn fears that they and their business would go elsewhere. They have more difficulty in taking on a union of states with joined up protection of the citizen and their rights. But Brexit delights the tax-exiles, the off-shore money launderers, the exploiters of labour and the polluters who will find an impoverished England and Wales a comfortable and deferential haven, eager for the crumbs of the rich to replace a lost economy. I am churned up by the manipulation of public opinion and in the last four days I have seen more gross distortions by BBC than I’ve ever seen, more vilification of Jeremy Corbyn than I thought possible, with deliberate lies about his terrorist sympathies. I was encouraged by Jack’s blog about Diane Abbott’s treatment by trolls and press, but incensed by that concerted trolling. I think the weight of manipulated opinion is towards a Conservative Party which will cement our Brexit into a context of austerity, social and cultural poverty with a loss of human, environmental, political and employment rights that have lifted us in the last century. Others have written about the manipulation by former psychological warfare practitioners in support of Trump, Brexit and perhaps the current campaign. I can see the shadow of that manipulation for years to come. Unless, that is, we look for a sincere, albeit flawed, option. I actually attended a Corbyn rally at West Kirby, met up with old friends and responded to invitations to get involved. That’s why I’m voting Labour, and praying that, if elected, they will reverse the nonsense of Brexit and help create a refreshed Europe which protects people, peace, places, culture and environments.