My local labour candidate is a nincompoop. As 30 seconds perusing Gordon Munro’s election pamphlet would demonstrate. Not only does he include a rather unnecessary amount of information about his history of swimming and water polo at our local pool, he’s also included a huge photo of himself with George Clooney. Quite why no one questioned the relevance of that photo is anyone’s guess. It is not the worst election pamphlet I’ve seen this time. That honour goes to a UKIP candidate who is strangely obsessed with the types of metal used in a Robin Hood statue.
I’ve been involved in local community organisations in Leith for over a decade. It’s safe to say Munro’s questionable tendencies predate his photo op with Clooney. Munro is fairly well-known for supporting projects that increase his prestige and power – such as his insistence that the Duncan Place Resource Centre closure due to the building being condemned following years of council mismanagement isn’t really a big deal. And, that the programs offered by the DPRC could be transferred easily to the Leith Community Centre, despite it being a third of the size and involving only halls rather than community education classrooms and other specialist facilities. 3 guesses which community centre board Gordon Munro has been involved with over the years.
For years, I’ve been saying that I only voted for Munro because my former Labour MSP, Malcolm Chisholm, could be trusted to squash Munro’s more eyebrow raising decisions. Chisholm retired at the last Scottish Parliament election and was replaced by a male SNP MSP who looks about 12 and has zero understanding of male violence (or even what his own parties policies were on this prior to the election). Since a write-in campaign to have Chisholm elected Prime Minister against his will isn’t an appropriate response to destroying the Tory party, I will be voting for Gordon Munro. I fully intend to be as big a pain in his arse when he’s an MP as he was as a local councillor, even though I appear to be permanently off his Christmas card list now.
I’m voting labour because I’m a single mother with 2 children, an obscene amount of university debt, and a disability that has severely curtailed my ability to work, even part time. Gordon Munro might not be my favourite politician, but neither are my other local councillors Chaz Booth (Green) and Adam McVey (SNP). I do trust Munro on a number of issues that are important to me and I’m perfectly content to spend the next 5 years campaigning to ensure that Munro changes his stance on other policies (provision of community centres, massive investment in the crumbling fabric of school buildings, 3 block radius ban on parking near schools for non-residents, the banning of all men from driving cars in my neighbourhood).
I’m voting Labour because:
- People with disabilities are actually dying due to ‘austerity’ cuts
- Specialist service providers for women who are living with or have experienced violence are being decimated, especially those for BAME women.
- Universal credit is forcing more women and children into food and fuel poverty.
- Richard Branson gets huge tax breaks for owning a huge portion of the NHS
- Changes to welfare programs, including housing benefit, means that young people and women with children are being trapped in relationships with by abusive men
- The decimation of community programs to support young people is destroying their futures
- Zero hour contracts should be illegal
- the minimum wage is too low and should not be based on age
- child care is too expensive
- pensions are decreasing
- no one working full time should be paid a wage so low that they need to depend on tax credits. Multinational corporations should be beholden to their employees as much as their shareholders
- Climate change is real and disproportionately impacts poor BAME women
- tax evasion is rampant by large corporations
- Most of our media is controlled or owned by Tories.
- Brexit will destroy our economy
I’m also a fan of Labour’s leaked policy expanding abortion rights to women living in Northern Ireland. I’d like them to go even further to remove the “2 doctor mental health’ rule for women accessing abortion in England and Wales (Scotland will be reviewing the rule during his parliament).
I’m going to campaign for Labour to do the following over the next few years:
- Ban Trident
- Stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia
- Recognise that the child poverty is due to fathers refusing to pay maintenance, which is a form of child abuse
- Ring fenced massive investment in schools
- Ring fenced massive investments in the NHS
- Ring fenced massive investment in community care
- Fundamental changes to family courts and child access that recognise that viewing domestic violence against a mother is also child abuse. Children have the right to live free from exposure to violence and that includes violence perpetrated by their fathers
- Higher corporation taxes
- More post-secondary training programs for young people
- End to housing refugees in detention centres (and increasing financial support for asylum seekers)
- End to charitable status for private schools.
- Expansion of right to vote to all 16 year olds.
I’m voting Labour because we cannot afford another 5 years of Tory rule. Too many people have already died because of Tory policy. My local Labour candidate might make me roll my eyes on a daily basis, but he isn’t creating policies that force people into poverty or supporting polices that actively kill people. Perfection is a goal, not a reality in politics. And, right now, we need a labour government more than ever, regardless of whether or not you actively like your local candidate or if you loathe Jeremy Corbyn.
We need a labour government now more than ever.