This general election I shall be voting Labour. The reasons why are mostly personal and local and have little to with the national media displays and national party loyalty.
I am a Labour party member and for the last six to seven months I have been an active volunteer on a local constituency campaign. Truth be told before I started getting involved I had little idea of what politics involved, didn’t know who my local councillors were, didn’t know much about the structure of the Labour party and didn’t have an enthusiasm for politics that I do now. I was a freshly minted graduate looking for some opportunities and the chance to improve my skills set. I was neither massively pro-Labour nor vehemently anti-Conservative. But a lot can happen in seven months and a lot can be learnt and seen.
I have most likely knocked on hundreds maybe if not a thousand doors. Had a hundred conversations and met people from all walks of life who if they haven’t got the dinner cooking or the kids to see too they are happy to talk and divulge to me the happenings and consequences of governmental action in their lives. And it has been a mighty learning curve for me to go from ignorant graduate to a young person who seen and knows for himself what could possibly await for me in five or ten years’ time when I may have a house (not likely) kids and a full time career.
People have been hit hard and deep by the austerity cuts that have ‘had’ to be made by the Lib-Con coalition. The bedroom tax particularly has been a thorn in side of many and the source of much anger. People who aren’t well off, work long hours for meagre pay and are trying to give their kids the best chance in life have more taxes to pay and more burdens to bear. Social care, NHS spending, benefits, schools, zero hour’s contracts. They aren’t just an abstract political sound bite to me like they are to some political university undergraduates who debate the political spectrum or where such and such person is in relation to a certain policy or how the government’s policies don’t live up to their ideological standards.
For me it is personal. For me it is the frail elderly man and woman who are struggling to pay their bills. For me it is the middle-aged working parents who are tired and fed up with having no support from government. For me it is the person on benefits who feels victimized and let down. I had a man cry in front of me once, the stress of bills, things he didn’t understand and facing it all with no support, I felt ashamed to have a government that had become all too harsh and all too, I hate to say it, ‘out of touch’.
Not out of touch in the sense that they don’t understand how much a pint of milk costs or the fact that they don’t work on a zero hours contract. Out of touch, in the sense that they have lost sense of their connection with the British people’s views and ideals. There is little empathy, little care, little real emotional connection, I feel as though we are treated as economic chattels or components in an exclusive game of the elite who jostle for control and power not service and respect.
This is why I shall be voting Labour. We don’t have all the answers but I want a government that cares and at this point that means a great deal.
By Connor Smart, Junior Writer for Daily Political View.