When I came out (of the Conservative Party) last year, I received a bit of grief from some that had known me well enough to find the decision quite surprising. In that article, I stated: “I feel that I cannot be a part of something that is responsible for attacking the downtrodden yet helping the wealthy. That, to me, is wrong.” My criticism of the current Tory Party bases itself upon the application of a moral standard, and I think I should explain where this, personally, stems from.
I don’t believe in God. To any who read the Summer 2014 edition of the Portsmouth Point magazine (which you can read here), this will come as no great shock, as I laid out exactly the reasons why I simply cannot put my faith in such a flawed concept. Bizarrely, I still regard myself to be a Christian – just one who regards the supernatural, mystical elements of the Bible to be purely figurative, and instead seeks to live life by the ethical ideals expressed in Jesus’ teachings.
To me, the most important fight for anyone who holds such values – religious or not – is against injustice in all its forms. Take, for example, the fact that our government continues to exploit erroneous fears of rising immigration and “benefit scrounging”, as a means to distracting working and middle class voters from the fact that George Osborne has given millionaires a whopping tax cut, whilst slashing away at our public services and schools. This is wrong, plain and simple.
It might be difficult to fathom, but I actually think that Ed Miliband will make a fine Prime Minister. The sad reality is that we’ve been barraged by news stories portraying him as a bit of a freak of nature. No, he isn’t terribly attractive – his voice is phenomenally annoying, and I somewhat doubt he has a future career in modelling. But if people actually took the time to listen to what he’s spent the last five years saying, rather than how he’s said it, then they might reach a more sensible conclusion.
Unlike David Cameron, who has shown in the last couple of weeks just how much of a pathetic coward he is, going to any length to avoid a head-to-head debate with the Labour leader, Miliband has consistently proven himself to be a man of some considerable principle.
Will Dry recently wrote an excellent piece on exactly this point: that it was Miliband who stood up to the powerful Murdoch media empire, prevented our government from sticking its foot into the Syrian Civil War, continues to rebuke the champagne-guzzling fat cats in the City, the crooked landlords who jack-up their rents, and the train companies whose rip-off fares hurt commuters every day.
David Cameron might look better in front of a TV camera (and lest we forget: his only other job outside of politics was working for a PR company), but has he ever, in his political career, had the guts to challenge the control and influence of the powerful in this country? I’ve written before about my admiration for Cameron’s leadership on the issue of marriage equality – but, at the end of the day, was he really at risk of losing his wealthy, tax-avoiding friends? The short answer is: no.
Put simply, I believe that Ed Miliband has made the fight against injustice his own. He has not bowed to the pressures that Blair could never handle – of being on the side of the voiceless many, even though it has hurt his reception in the press and amongst big business leaders. These are qualities that are far more important in a Prime Minister than having a nice face or lyrical voice, and indicate the courage and inner strength which we so desperately need from our leaders.
I don’t agree with the current Labour team on everything. Rachel Reeves’ claim that the party will take a tougher line on the welfare state than the Tories is abhorrent. Tristram Hunt’s blind support for academy schools is utter nonsense and fails to offer an alternative to this failing, ideological policy. Yvette Cooper’s hard-line announcements about cracking down on immigration numbers totally betray the embrace that the Labour Party has long had towards multiculturalism and opportunity.
Despite all this, and the fact that Ed Balls hasn’t clearly condemned the Coalition’s austerity measures and misleading employment figures for what they truly are, I do now associate myself with the party. The party that gave us a minimum wage, social security, laws against the discrimination of women, workers, LGBT people, and created the institution that my family, and every family across this nation, owes so much to: the National Health Service.
A year ago, I left the Conservative Party because the conflict between their philosophy and mine had become too difficult to justify. Now, as the misleading title of this article suggests, I have decided to join the Labour Party.