Yesterday, just after 11am my Facebook and Twitter feeds came alive following Theresa May’s announcement that she would be calling a general election after all. By 11:15 I’d already been in touch with my brother, my ex, my dad and most of my close friends, and lively discussions were being had across the intersphere.
I’ve been a Labour voter my whole life and started door knocking when I was a teenager. Since then I’ve been an on/off member finally rejoining most recently last year prior to the party leadership elections. I’ve titled this post ‘A Labour of Love’ because being a Labour supporter has not always been an easy ride, I’ve had my political heart broken more than once, be it by Blair in Iraq or last year’s vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. Despite all of this, whenever my faith has wavered I’ve looked at the alternatives and known that I will never be anything but a true red at heart. I’ve been trying for the past year or so to get more involved with local Labour politics again after a spell away feeling uninspired and quite honestly too unwell to participate. Unfortunately life has got in the way and since attending a CLP meeting in Sowerby Bridge last year I’ve not been able to get back to it.
A conversation a few weeks ago with an old friend prompted me to look into getting involved with Momentum in my new home city of York and yesterday’s ‘shock’ announcement gave me the kick up the arse I’ve needed to go along and see what its all about. I’m not going to lie, I was apprehensive; there’s been so much infighting within the party lately (and I’ve been as guilty as anyone), and as a feminist, I am and will always be, deeply suspicious of the SWP (and completely against working with or alongside them) but my friend assured me that Momentum in York were good people so this evening I went along to my first ever Momentum meeting – the Snap election special no less!
All I can say is that I highly recommend it. It was heartening to see such a large and diverse group of people all coming together to discuss ideas, listen to each other and really start planning what needs to be done to oust this horrendous Tory regime. I can honestly say that I was made to feel so welcome and have left grinning from ear to ear despite my awareness of the enormity of the task ahead of us.
The Labour party is, and always has been a broad church and this is something I am trying hard to remember this week having had several run-ins with people in the party (mostly on the right) whose views don’t exactly match my own, but being in a room full of interesting, passionate and committed people who share my view of what socialism in this country should be was so invigorating and really helped to re-charge my political batteries which have taken quite the hammering in recent months. Jeremy isn’t a perfect leader, but for the first time in my life I finally feel like we have a leader whose vision and policies I can really get behind.
So tonight I am celebrating burying the hatchet with old comrades and looking forward to working with new ones. In a week in which we have seen reports of kids returning to school from their Easter breaks malnourished, or skipping school because they can’t afford menstruation products, and the leader of the Lib Dems refusing to say whether he believes homosexuality is a sin, I am really happy (for the first time in a while), and proud to say ‘I am Ellie and I am voting Labour.’