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Election 2019 Why I’m Voting Labour: Anders Lustgarten, playwright

Do the right thing. You may not get another chance.

I DON’T like weddings and I don’t believe in marriage.

I mentioned this during my speech as my best friend’s best man—to show it was a special occasion and that I really wanted to be there, rather than to be a dick. I think she got it.

We’re still friends, anyway.

Along the same lines, I grew up despising the Labour Party. The single biggest cause of the rise of modern fascism is indisputably Tony Blair. I despised the cowardice, the greed and the imperial wars but, above all, because he and his minions converted the main political vehicle for empowering working-class people into the primary means to hurt them.

He turned the Labour Party into something deliberately intended to make poor people’s lives more miserable and in doing so robbed them of the essential leftist belief that they could change the world around them, engendering the alienation and rage that’s given rise to Brexit and authoritarianism.

It never occurred to me prior to 2016 that parliamentary politics could be an agent of anything other than viciousness.

Yet now I’m out in the street pressing the flesh for Labour. What Corbyn et al —True Labour rather than New Labour — have achieved against the grain of recent history is nothing short of staggering.

The Labour Party, who had mugs against immigration two leaders after Blair, now calls for workers to be given stakes in their employers’ firms, utilities under public control, a green new deal, a huge programme of social housing, universal basic income, an accounting over our colonial past—the list goes on.

Some of those you can quibble over — I don’t like Universal Basic Income — but the fact is this: if you’re a normal person, as opposed to a billionaire or an Empire nostalgist, you will never get a better “offer” from a major British political party. You just won’t.

The tidal wave of opprobrium and viciousness that Labour and Corbyn have received from every single media outlet testifies to how much they threaten a corrupt and oligarchic social order. The knives are out and the BBC, second on the “causes of fascism” list behind Blair, has shown itself for what it really is, a poorly run Tory propaganda machine.

The British Establishment is clearly willing to set on fire every major British institution — the Union, parliament, the courts, business, trade, the NHS — rather than widen the circle of power and let ordinary people have a say in the running of their lives.

Which means only we, ordinary people, can save ourselves from the powerful.

This isn’t just a choice between two radically different futures. This is a choice between radical democracy and no democracy at all. A choice between the NHS and no affordable healthcare at all. A choice between real hope and no hope at all.

Do the right thing. You may, in all seriousness, not get another chance.

 

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