Imagine being told by everyone you know that you’re not as popular as your sibling. That your sibling is better looking, cooler, more enigmatic and confident than you. Well of course they are – you’re uglier, slower, never got the girls or guys, never quite as witty or smart or fun. Nobody likes you as much.
Imagine how that might affect your relationship with your sibling. You love them, but you’re competing with them for the affection and attention of friends and family. You don’t entirely know why. Isn’t there enough love and friendship to go around?
But there has to be a favourite.
And then imagine that you finally had a chance to show how great you are. To show how you’re just as good as your sibling, maybe even better. You have merits of your own. You are smart and you are compassionate and you are pretty great. You can be successful in your own right.
And then imagine that when you finally did it, you got there, when you won damn it, everyone said that it should have been him. Imagine all that competition but it’s not just your friends and family, it’s your entire nation.
Wouldn’t you work as hard as humanly possible to make people stop saying that? Wouldn’t you work to be the best of the best of the best every day to show how excellent you are?
That is one of the reasons I’m voting Labour in the general election.
Ed Miliband is a person. Now, disclaimer, I’ve speculated to the point of fiction about him not being the favourite in his family and among friends – for all I know Ed Miliband had an idyllic childhood and was everyone’s favourite. But when it came to him running against his brother for party leader…well there are still people who say we got the wrong Miliband.
But I actually disagree. I think we got exactly the right Miliband. We got the one who is far more likely to work to make a difference, to prove his worth to us and show voters and non-voters alike how much we have misjudged him, how far we’ve underestimated him.
We got the Miliband who has taken time to build up and learn and to me, seems to have come into his own when it really matters.
No one is perfect. No country, no government, no person is perfect. Democracy by its very nature leaves an unhappy minority. And if people continue to show such apathy by refusing to vote, it leaves an unfairly represented majority. Whether we blame them for not using the power they have or the politicians for not inspiring them enough to do so…well that’s potentially a whole other blog post.
Rightly or wrongly, we often vote for the best person we can see. Personally I think we need to look at the party as a whole, at the core values, where the heart of the party is and what it is doing. But if we have to look at the person, this is what I think; to my mind, Ed Miliband leading the Labour Party has experience with a strong party, a good relationship with unions, a solid balance between economy and genuinely helping the people who need it and the drive to really make a difference to the people who need it the most. It is a given that he will make mistakes. It is a given that he will not please everyone. It is a given that people will moan and eventually, he will not be good enough. But that is true of any leader, of any government.
I want to live in a country where we look after the people who are so frequently marginalised. I want to live in a country that can be proud of its government, of the values that are leading us all to be a bit better at helping each other and creating a society where it isn’t every man for himself. I want to feel patriotic and I want to have really good reasons to!
The Conservative (coalition) government has systematically chipped away at the things that could make this country a really good place in which to live. Libraries closing, half destroying the NHS, budget cuts to benefits so that people who simply cannot work are being forced to, supposedly just to target a tiny number of system abusers?? (Hey guys remember when Starbucks supposedly didn’t make a penny in the UK AND HAD NOT PAID ANY TAX BASICALLY EVER?? WHAT ABOUT THAT SYSTEM ABUSE?!!) These are the things at the heart of our country. These are the things that people value and need and they’ve been taken away from us by a Conservative government.
(Oh it’s ok, they gave £10 million donation as a gesture of goodwill. Like paying taxes is just an optional act of charity. Can you just donate to taxes? I don’t think you can…no wait. I don’t think *we* can. But if you’re a multi billion pound corporation, you can do what you want.)
What about the local councils whose budgets have been slashed by 40%? What about the housing crisis? The Conservative government attitude feels a lot like “well, don’t worry guys because as long as the landlords / property owners keep making money, we don’t really care. But tell you what, we’ll do one of those goodwill gesture things that Starbucks did!” – you know, that first time buyer thing that made people think they could buy a place to live but actually they couldn’t because the deposit has to be really high or you have to have such a high projected income that you’re already likely to be rich enough that you don’t need it in the first place?
That false hope is exactly what the Conservative government trades in on time and time again. And I don’t want it for the next 5 years.
I want to feel really hopeful. I want to believe that our country can be good. That we can look around and operate businesses fairly and with realistic wages because our government says we have to and bloody means it.
Labour made mistakes – but doesn’t everyone? The whole world has been in an economic crisis – that wasn’t all Labour’s fault. I think we need to give them a chance to learn from their mistakes. I don’t believe another 5 years of a Conservative government is going to make things better. I think they’ll continue to screw over anyone who isn’t wealthy enough to warrant their attention. That’s us guys. You and me.
And yes, I know there are other parties…the Green Party is this election’s Lib Dems. It’s all fresh and new and sounds great but in reality…they won’t win. I know, I know, not with that attitude but I’m being realistic. Not everyone will rally for them and then we’ll be back where we were 5 years ago with a race to a coalition where very few people are happy.
Although I think the SNP wouldn’t be so bad for a coalition. It would certainly make good on that promise for a more inclusive relationship with Scottish government.
And UKIP are an abhorrent horror on our political landscape. Their leader is basically a pompous, blustering cartoon character. I think he’s modelled himself a bit of Boris Johnson’s persona…but he has none of the conniving shrewdness that underpins Boris’s carefully crafted buffoon. Their policies are insulting, haphazard and frequently morally reprehensible.
The Liberal Democrats had their time. They fucked it. They’re not real contenders now.
It’s too late to register to vote if you haven’t already done so. So I *really* hope you have. But I’m voting for Labour because between the party experience of running the country, learning from mistakes, party values and a genuinely determined, hard working leader, I think they have the best chance of winning and making a difference to the social and economic situation we’re in and I reckon they’ll boost the morale of the average person. The idea of a Labour government makes me feel hopeful, especially compared to the smug, Conservative government we’ve had for the last 5 years.
So let’s stop saying the wrong brother won. Let’s stop whinging about the past and let’s vote out the party that demonstrates how they only care about themselves – the rich. Let’s take our country back.