Electoral Boogaloo

vote labour jeremy corbyn uk general election 2019 polling card ballot

I was going to have a party tonight, actually. I’d spent a while idly – well, no, I spent absolutely ages putting quite a lot of effort into coming up with party food puns, some more successful than others. Haribo-ris Johnson. Doritjo Swinson. Jeremy Corbynoffee Pie. Laura Pidcocktail Sausages. Westminstrels. Political Party Ring Biscuits. Prawn Butler. Rebecca Long-Bailey’s, depending on how the exit poll looked. John McDonald’s, for a slightly easier option.

Anyway, not doing that, mainly because I wouldn’t be able to make a very good banoffee pie. Still, when 2025 rolls around, and Prime Minister Angela Rayner is up against LOTO Rory Stewart, I will be sure to make both a flan and a stew.

I’m voting Labour, obviously. Since I’ve been eligible to vote, it’ll actually only be the second time I’ve voted for them, and the first General Election too – in 2017 I was living in what is genuinely one of the few Liberal Democrat/Conservative marginals in the country. The bar charts were right for once: Labour genuinely couldn’t win there.

This time around, though, I’m in a Labour safe seat. Which, frankly, I’m glad of: yes, technically, last go around my vote made more difference, and I really probably should’ve put at least a little bit more thought into postal voting at home to make sure the Liberal Democrat candidate definitely wins, but in 2019 I really do just want to vote Labour. I want to vote for a manifesto I believe in, rather than against one I don’t. As a choice, it ultimately hasn’t been particularly difficult – a Labour government would be genuinely transformative, and is in fact genuinely necessary. It’s not just about Prime Minister Corbyn – although he is obviously manifestly better than a cruel, venal Prime Minister Johnson. (Or, not that it’ll ever happen, Prime Minister Swinson – I’m convinced that Jo Swinson is one of the most cynical and morally vacuous politicians on the national stage at the moment. You only have to look at her handling of Phillip Lee’s defection to the Liberal Democrats to see that there is no single principle she holds, or marginalised group she claims to support, that she won’t abandon the moment it becomes politically expedient.)

No, it’s a vote for a party with sufficient political imagination and ambition to conceive of a world where better things are possible, where suffering isn’t treated as an economic necessity or intractable reality, where genuine change can happen. Of course that’s something I want to believe in, to vote for, to try and bring about.

Anyway, I’ve been looking up what I said last go around – in messages, on blogs, that sort of thing. Mostly I seemed worried. Also bemused at a Conservative-leaning friend – I know, I know, but I think she’s grown out of it now – who opted to vote Green as a protest in her Labour safe seat. No, I still don’t get it.

I am less worried now. Actually, I’m feeling unexpectedly, serenely confident. It’s based on not much at all; probably it’s just a coping device. I’m not expecting a majority – at the moment, I suppose the best we can probably hope for is a Corbyn-led coalition, but the Conservatives as the largest party. It’s not ideal. But, hey, you never know. Polling seems not to have accounted for a potential surge in youth turnout – I know, I know, but I’m hopeful all the same – and people do seem genuinely motivated. So… maybe…?

Either way, though, I am determined to be a bit more on it from now on. In fact, I finally joined the Labour party this go around. I’d always valued the fact I wasn’t a member of a particular party – my thinking, essentially, that I don’t feel any specific connection to a party, and I’d rather just vote for the most viable left-wing party wherever I ended up registered. Not anymore, though. For the moment, at least, I want to be part of something. So now I’m a member of the Labour Party.

Anyway. I haven’t actually voted yet! I’ll be off to do that in a few hours. Got my red jumper on. And my red socks. Here we go!

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