Until now, I have been trying to keep my big gob shut during the election campaign. Mostly because the despair I feel for Scottish Labour would not help Corbyn get elected. Who needs further misery sprinkled on top of a cold bucket of misery?
It is time to speak up!
When I turned 18 the day after the 1983 general election, I was distraught that I had missed by one day my chance to vote for Foot’s Labour manifesto and against Thatcher. This was the reason I joined the Labour Party. For 30 odd years thereafter it was a painful club to belong to. Like many on the Left, including Benn, Corbyn and McDonnell, I stayed in fighting a counter pull towards the rightward New Labour drift.
In my younger years I was super-active in the Party. CLP Secretary, election agent, editor of the Campaign for Socialism journal, conference delegate and conference speaker.
As a full time officer a non-affiliated trade union, I reined back my own political involvement so as not to be partisan when promoting the union on a cross-party basis. However a seminal moment came. Scottish Labour’s total misjudgement of working class appeal towards Independence, followed by the election of Jim Murphy as Leader drove me to not renew my membership in 2015.
Within months, along came Jeremy’s assent to leadership , drawing me back in from the political wilderness. Home, but not as I knew it.
The politics of the current UK Labour leadership are the politics that inspired my youth and that have driven my adult life. That In Scotland, the Party leadership remains out of step with the genuine economic and political alternative that Corbyn’s team offers is bewildering. SNP have stepped in to fill the gap of hope abandoned by Scottish Labour, as their sight remains focused on stamping down on the prospect of another independence referendum.
I will vote Labour on Thursday. I will vote for Corbyn’s manifesto. On public sector pay, only Labour will end the 1% pay cap. SNP campaign manager, Derek Mackay, also Cabinet Secretary for Finance has now said that the 1% will “not be assume” in 2018-19 pay. Well that is progress, as he has had the devolved powers to make a difference to his own staff all along. But why should workers assume ongoing suffering of pay misery until Summer next year?
Only a Labour government can deliver a better future for working class people in this election. That is why, in spite of the toxic Scottish branding, I am voting Labour.