This was a difficult decision for me to make. After a brief stint in the Conservative party, I joined Labour with a view to making a real difference. A party that purported to be for the working class, concerned with our welfare and believing everybody deserves better than what we already have, was exactly what I felt this country needed. But it is quite clear that the Labour party represents neither me nor my values any longer.
It is no myth that there is petty in-fighting within Labour, with the so-called ‘hard left’ on one side and the ‘moderate centre’ on the other. Every party should have division: if everybody agreed, the party would become a homogenous blob that can serve nobody but itself. But what we are seeing in Labour is a startlingly disturbing distraction to the real business of politics: ordinary working people.
Let’s level with one another here. The people who work three jobs just to get by, the people who don’t have two pennies to rub together, the people who live in a place where gunshots ring out at night: these people do not have the time to be concerned with the petty arguments consuming Labour on both a parliamentary and constituency level. They need a party to represent them and their interests but, instead, they have one that is consuming itself from within. I joined Labour because I feel that people deserve better, and I have left it for the exact same reason.
Which brings us on to our next point. What exactly, when they’re not arguing about what type of socialist is the best type of socialist, are Labour actually doing? They’re treating us working class people like children, delicate specimens who need somebody to hold their hands every time they walk out of the house just in case the nasty capitalists take the air we breathe into private ownership.
The Parliamentary Labour Party is dominated by middle-class people who anxiously wring their hands over what’s best for working class people whilst having no idea what it’s actually like to be working class. They stay silent as the Tories continually raise taxes on cigarettes, something that has been proven to affect the working class the most, whilst simultaneously wanting to change the betting limit to £2. Where is the empowerment? Where is the promotion of freedom? Whilst Labour treat working class people as infants, they have no duty claiming to represent us.
Naturally, there was a straw to break the camel’s back. When Esther McVey was reappointed in Theresa May’s pathetic reshuffle at the start of this year, a video was recirculated of John McDonnell speaking at an event in 2014 in which he uncritically quoted a constituent suggesting that, instead of getting McVey fired, surely they should just be ‘lynching the bastard.’
Imagine, just for a moment, if a male frontbench Tory MP had repeated similar comments about Diane Abbott. Or Emily Thornberry. Or Angela Rayner. Labour would be up in arms, demanding that this vile politician be dismissed from his position immediately. But, when the tables are turned and it’s a Labour MP making vile comments, there are no such calls (to the best of my knowledge) from within Labour itself. The stark double standards are a disgrace.
You are probably wondering, after all of this, why I didn’t leave Labour much sooner. The answer is very simple: the people. I have met the most wonderful of individuals (and they, if they are reading this, will know I write of them) who share a desire to live in a better world because they believe we deserve a better world. They fought tirelessly during the 2017 election to secure a Labour victory, and their motivation and dedication inspires me every day. We had some good times, and I loved every second of their company.
If they are reading this, and I think that some of them will be, I’d like to dedicate this parting thought to them: please, never give up the fight. I certainly don’t ever intend to but it just so happens that my battlefield is elsewhere. One day, though, I know that our battles will converge. From that moment on, in the heat of the new sun, we can make up for lost time.