Just for the moment, forget policies and even the general election, and let’s look at humanity.
It’s been said many times, ‘elections are not about personalities’, and every time, they are wrong.
If you want to experience a world devoid of personality and humanity and based solely on policy, take a trip to your local Jobcentre and sign on, or face the arrival of an ESA50 form in its hideous brown envelope, fill it out, and await notification and then attend a Work Capability Assessment. If you get lucky, you’ll get an assessor who will engage with you at a human level, but the process is designed for that not to happen. And here’s the important bit, for many, if not most, people, these experiences are traumatising because they are dehumanising by design.
We face an election that mostly revolves around two parties, but that’s just because it is a rotten system of first past the post and is not representative of the voting public, but all of the parties will be campaigning, and the art of campaigning is the art of persuasion, and the majority of people will vote based on a complex mixture of upbringing, social status, whether they are essentially deferential or not, prejudice, personality, media influence, and so on, and tagging along somewhere at the back, there might be a greater or lesser awareness and understanding of policies.
Like it or not, the popular rise and rise of Jeremy Corbyn is about, and because of, Jeremy Corbyn himself. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And why? Because he relates to people, speaks to the people, is open and behaves in a sincere and honest way to which people can, and do, relate.
If I were to name a few others in a loosely similar vein, I’d say Caroline Lucas, who just strikes me as a thoroughly decent human being, Mhairi Black and good old Dennis Skinner.
We’ve had seven years of Tory misrule and they don’t come anywhere in the humanity stakes. Theresa May, by any sane standard, has nothing going for her, lacking personality and common or garden decency and empathy. She has no people skills and is clearly deeply uncomfortable around ordinary people, lacking any qualities of spontaneity, warmth, personality or humanity. She is ahead simply because she is ‘establishment’, along with royalty, Lords and Ladies, pomp and pomposity, and she appeals to a deeply conservative streak in Britain which views anything remotely challenging to the status quo as tawdry, lower class, suspicious and ‘not the done thing’. She is the perfect ‘upstairs, downstairs’ candidate, and mixing with the lower orders is definitely not her thing.
Who wants a Prime Minister who is at home in Safeway or Lidl? Oh gawd! If Theresa May went into such places, they’d have to clear everyone out and those who remained, to show her a packet of cornflakes, would be carefully chosen and expected be on their best, deferential, grovelling, behaviour. Sound familiar?
Why was Thatcher so popular and even got away with adopting the royal ‘we’ when talking about herself? She was establishment through and through, even though she wrecked all our national industries and put the boot in, literally, to the unions.
It is said that ordinary people voting Conservative is like turkeys voting for Christmas, and it’s absolutely true.
And Corbyn? He is anti-establishment and has no time for cap doffing, he’s trying to head the turkeys off at the polling booth and asking them to think again.
The establishment and their media nearly had a heart attack when Jeremy Corbyn didn’t bow deeply enough at the Cenotaph. What did David Cameron mockingly say during Prime Minister’s Questions? He said his mother would advise the Labour leader to “put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem”. And, god help us, Corbyn has an allotment and grows stuff and gets his hands dirty and that, according to the Tories and the right wing media, makes him unelectable. Really? Yes, really, and in so doing they mock each and every one if us in our ordinariness, in our unprivileged, unpretentious, profoundly and deeply human, lives.
That’s what this election is about. For millions of us, it’s about fighting for our lives and our right to exist, to have somewhere to live, food on the table, heating in our homes, medical treatment when we need it, a decent education for our children, care in the community, help with disabilities, hospitals, fire stations, police to help against crime, doctors and GP surgeries, nurses, junior doctors and specialists, A&E departments, and enough security to live our lives without fear or want.
It’s about humanity.
KOG. 14 May 2017