This article was written by local member Madeline Giles
At my first local Labour meeting on Tuesday I was asked why I chose now to join the party. I cited Harold Wilson’s quote that the Labour party “must be a moral crusade or it is nothing” as my call to action.
I don’t know about you, but I feel both buoyed up and battle weary. This moment in time – when our democracy is in peril, where public sentiment sways towards tribal nationalism, where propaganda machines pump gleefully, and some world leaders display despotic tendencies, is one that both forcefully echoes the past, and teeters towards a darker, unknown future.
I am 16 years old, and the only politics I have known in my teenage years has not been full of optimism. I’ve watched political debate turn into reductive three words slogans, immigrants being baselessly scapegoated for age-old issues, and blatant lies being told at the dispatch box, often free of consequences.
I worry that young voters will continue to slide into disaffection as promises keep being broken – everything from free university tuition to the purported benefits of Brexit, to affordable housing.
It concerns me that our collective consciousness has been distorted, as we see cronyism replace integrity, parties rupture, and tribalism triumph. I watched for someone to step in, to champion the issues I care about. I feel hopeful that Sir Keir Starmer will be that leader. But more importantly I chose this moment to get involved. We can’t just sit there and be angry; we have to channel our energies towards real social change.
I feel Harold Wilson is underappreciated. Even though he made mistakes, his strength of character shines through, in peace and in peril. We haven’t had a Labour prime minister for a decade. Many people believe that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln visits the White House when the country is in crisis – when they need a leader most. Where is our spectral figurehead? I’d settle for a corporeal one.
That’s why I feel heartened when I watch PMQs and see Sir Keir Starmer bringing honour and honesty to the commons once more, in that green leathered room where I stood on a debating trip earlier this year and knew that we could do more.
That’s why I joined a Labour meeting on Zoom, in the middle of a pandemic – because I believe we can hope for a better future when we feel trapped in the present, or even the past.
Since I first became politically aware, I have been aligned with the values this party stands for; to snatch the hegemony from the privileged few, to make our society fairer for everyone, to have a Green Industrial Revolution, to make real people the focus of our legislation.
I truly believe that the trajectory this party is now on is one that will take us to a watershed moment in politics. But more importantly, it will be our moment.
Since I first became politically aware, I have been aligned with the values this party stands for; to snatch the hegemony from the privileged few, to make our society fairer for everyone, to have a Green Industrial Revolution…. Madeline Giles