For the record, I'm not a Labour Party Member. I can't vote. I would quite like to cast a vote, but I can't because I am banned from membership of the party until September. By the time my ban ends, the vote will be done and dusted. I formally resigned from the party in September 2009. This is the first time since I resigned from the Party that I've actually felt any urge to rejoin. It was clear to me in 2009 that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and their respective acolytes had stripped the party of any semblance of an organisation I would want to be a member of. For me the final straw came one day when I was in the gym at lunchtime on a running machine. The news showed French riot police closing a camp housing "asylum seekers" (I hate that term) in the most brutal fashion, dragging a woman screaming by her hair, as her young child looked on screaming. I was mortified that such brutal treatment could be dished out to such a vulnerable person. I wondered what scars the trauma would have on the child? As I watched, the then home secretary, Alan Johnson came on. He applauded the french for their actions and said they needed to be tougher still. At that moment I realised that I no longer wanted to be a member of such an organisation. I immediately wrote to the local Labour Party and resigned. I received a response from the then local MP, Andrew Dismore asking me to reconsider. Correspondence followed, I explained that whilst I wished Andrew well and hoped he won in Hendon, I couldn't remain in the party.
I then joined the Lib Dems. At the time it never ocurred to me that they may form a coalition with the Tories. I joined as they seemed to represent my politics more than Labour. Under Charles Kennedy, they had opposed the Iraq war. They signed a pledge committing to protecting students from rises in tuition fees (remember that?). They were not in hock to rich billionaires as Labour were. They seemed reasonable, decent and fair. Unbeknown to me, the local Labour Party didn't bother to process my resignation. In September 2010, I got a letter stating that I'd been expelled for standing for a rival politcal party, whilst being a Labour member. I immediately contacted the Labour party, attaching the full email trail and the email confirming that I'd resigned. The response I got was quite amazing. They said none of this mattered as I was still registered as a member. I'd broken the rules and I was welcome to rejoin in September 2015. As I had zero interest in rejoining, I really couldn't be bothered to argue. Until last week, I hadn't even considered the possibility of rejoining. I had toyed with the concept of rejoining the Lib Dems after the election. I quite like Tim Farron. He seems to be a decent guy and I really think we need some sort of political force in Barnet that isn't Tory or Labour, as both parties are completely useless on a local level.
Then Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the leadership race. I've met him a couple of times as a result of his support for the local Trades Unions in the fight against One Barnet. I've shaken his hand and thanked him for his support. In fact Jeremy and John McDonald are the two biggest supporters of the fight against outsourcing. In Barnet, Labour had a massive opportunity to blow a hard right council out of the water. The policies and competence of the Barnet Tories had been ripped to shreds by scandal after scandal. All Labour had to do was be an effective opposition and One Barnet could have been halted and the failure of outsourcing exposed. Sadly Barnet Labour is run by Blairites who love outsourcing. Even when "Your Choice Barnet", a private company set up by the council, with taxpayers money, suffered financial meltdown, Barry Rawlings, the Labour lead on social services agreed with the Tories and signed up to a paper agreeing that an in house solution was not an option.
Rawlings sold the workers and the users of the service down the line. My disgust and contempt for this cabal that have hijacked the Labour movement had been festering, but this action of betrayal was the final straw. In the 2012 GLA campaign, I threw myself heart and soul into trying to get Andrew Dismore elected for Labour. My work was repaid by a stitch up. That is why I've been a vocal opponent of Barnet Labour ever since. I support the decent individuals, such as Amy Trevethan, Paul Edwards and Sarah Sackman, but for the rest of them are a bunch of snakes, in my opinion.
Which brings us to my little list. Here's the ten reasons why I hope Jeremy Corbyn wins.
1. Jeremy Corbyn opposed the Iraq war. History has proven him right. Jeremy saw through the lies of dodgy dossiers. He also was one of the few Labour MP's who seems to realise that International Law is a good thing and should apply to the UK.
2. Jeremy Corbyn wants to see student loans abolished and a return to grants. The UK needs to have a high quality work force. One that isn't saddled with debt. I have three teenage children, two are starting University in September. Many of my childrens friends are intilligent young people who are shunning University because they don't want to spend their lives in debt.
3. Jeremy Corbyn is not in hock to billionaire businessmen. In todays Times a "wealthy Labour donor (or should that be Donut)" says that if Corbyn wins, the cash from billionaires will dry up. If this means that the country is run for the benefit of the less well off, rather than rich vested interests, this can only be a good thing.
4. Jeremy Corbyn has been a steadfast supporter of public sector workers in Barnet. When local Union rep John Burgess had his car vandalised and a homophobic note stuck on his windscreen, Jeremy Corbyn signed the letter of support. Sadly none of the local Labour Party bigwigs could be bothered to follow suit.
5. Jeremy Corbyn is capable of effectively arguing his case. The other three contenders seem incapable of stringing two sentences together without contradicting themselves. Take Andy Burnham. Does anyone know whether he actually agreed with Harriet Harman on supporting the governments welfare bill? No one can say we don't know what Jeremy's position is.
6. Jeremy Corbyn is the only leadership contender who seems to understand that the reason for the economic issues in the UK is not because the weakest and most vulnerable members of society are getting too much in benefits. We are in a mess because under the Tories and Blairites, we had too much banking deregulation. The global economy crashed and the cost of the bale out crippled the UK economy. Sadly it is not the bank executives who had a paycut, it is people on invalidity benefit and victims of the bedroom tax.
7. Jeremy Corbyn doesn't need a spin doctor or focus group to decide what is wrong and what is right. Under the Blairite regime, every policy was tested by focus groups and every statement spun by spin doctors. The Blairites believe that this is the way you win elections. Many people disagree. In 1997 when Blair won, many people expected great things. Sadly most of those hopes turned to dust. Things change and I believe that the electors have grown tired of bland leaders who believe in nothing and stand for nothing. It will be a very tough ask for Corbyn to win an election, but I believe he has a better chance than any of his opponents. This is because all they stand for is a Tory Lite manifesto. By 2020 people may well be heartily sick of there harsh policies. A party with a coherent and attractive alternative will, I beleive, stand a far better chance. Blairites and Tories are desperate,ly trying to commission opinion polls that show voters think Corbyn is Satans Spawn. My view is that he has five years to build a program and so these mean nothing.
8. Jeremy Corbyn will pose a real challenge to David Cameron at question time. For too long Cameron has had an easy ride. Corbyn knows his subject and doesn't need spin doctors to brief him. He's spent decades forming his views and he is an intelligent man who can put them across. Cameron got away with murder at the despatch box against Miliband. As Miliband lacked the gravity to repel these attacks, Cameron used this to his advantage mercilessly. This simply won't work against Corbyn as it is clear that he isn't stupid and he will not be bullied.
9. Jeremy Corbyn will force the Tories to be more honest about the effects of theiir policies. Miliband never was able to demonstrate just how damaging the attacks on social welfare budgets were. Corbyn knows his facts and cares about the people who are affected. Cameron will try and paint Corbyn as a deluded ideologue who hasn't a clue what he's talking about. This will fail, because Corbyn has spent his life talking to people who are at the sharp end of the Cameron cuts. As Cameron clearly has a compassion defecit, we could find that suddenly "cuddly Cameron" is a thing of the past. As for Osborne, he seems to fancy himself as an intellectual. It will be interesting to see how he copes when he is actually up against one.
10. This is a purely personal reason. At the start of this blog I detailed how I fell out of love with the Labour Party. If Jeremy Corbyn is elected, it will wipe the smug grin off the face of everyone one of the two faced, deceitful and dishionest scumbags who poisoned the Labour Party.
I don't think Corbyn is the answer to all our ills. There are many issues I don't agree with him on, some I srongly disagree on. He is however the only one of the four contenders who I feel has any credibility. I heard someone say "How on earth can we have an old beardy as a Prime Minister?" In my experience, we don't have enough old beardies in politics. During the course of my life, I've tended to find that if I have a real problem or dilemma and "old beardy" will offer far better advice and counsel than a used car salesman type in a sharp suit.