A Final Letter to Ed Miliband
Dear Ed Miliband,
I wasn’t sure if I was going to write this letter. I was very worried it would seem as if I were pulling a Bozier (“to pull a Bozier”; verb; to act like a pretentious and self-righteous wanker upon the leaving of a political party entirely for personal gain), but having spoken to several wonderful friends I have, I decided you needed to hear this.
Yesterday, I left the Labour party. I have been a member for more than 3 years. In those three years, have worked to the bone, I have screamed and shouted myself hoarse in arguments, I have volunteered for the party on several levels. I loved and still love Gordon Brown as a man who sought change and fought for what was right, even, sometimes, when that was not a popular idea.
I spent a lot of the leadership campaign working for you, although I was concerned that you lacked the charisma to appeal to a wide audience. I felt the public might perceive you as too far left, and how very wrong I turned out to be.
I think I need to tell you why I left the party, because I think you need to know. I think there are people that are as hurt as I am by what you’re doing to our party, and you should be listening to them, and you aren’t.
My hero is Aneurin Bevan. He is the greatest leader we never had, and his formulation of the NHS and refusal to compromise on its core principles is something which should be admired and aspired to. The idea of what he would say or think if he could see the Labour party this week makes me incredibly sad, because this is no longer the Labour of the NHS, or of the Welfare State. This is something entirely different.
The modern Labour Party is corrupt at every level. I’ve seen dozens of fixed and uncontestable elections. If you want to contribute, you have to be in the casual meeting in the back of a pub, not the formal meeting everyone else attends. People who attend that meeting don’t have to be committee members or elected; they just have to be friends with someone who is. Expressing your point of view or any problems you’re having is difficult and pointless. Egotistical, power-hungry men run riot through the whole system, building their careers around them. I was a candidate this year, and the effective psychological torture that came about from this corruption wore my health and my self-confidence down to nothing. People like me, who just want to make a difference and aren’t eying up their careers, back out.
The modern Labour Party is cold and opportunistic. You are seizing on Tory tactics, copying their policies and changing one clause. The “benefits cap” is just one example of this. There appears to be widespread public support, and so one of the aforementioned men who is itching for power makes the wonderful suggestion that it could boost Labour in the polls. Because that is all that matters, right? As long as you’re slightly to the left of the Tories? The general membership of the party is horrified and appalled – they read the real statistics. The benefits cap means that for a family with four children, after bills, the household will have 62p per person left each day. Could you live on that, Ed? Have you ever had to?
I can’t be a party to this anymore, I can’t add my name to your slate. You are compromising my beliefs, and this is not the Labour Party that I once knew and loved. The party of Bevan and Benn and Foot. The party that told people that there was hope, there was something to believe in and change and be inspired by. You have killed that now.
The support of the general membership, friends and comrades, has been inspiring and very comforting. This isn’t true of Labour Students, but I think I’ll let that one slide… You should be ashamed of yourself. You have some of the best people in the world, collected, putting their faith in you, and you are destroying it, bit by bit. Will you notice, before you have no one left?
I hope you do. I hope one day I will be able to return to you. But I can’t justify funding your policies anymore. I will not be a silent voice, assumed to be in agreement. Maybe if this happens enough, it will make you realise just what has happened.
“What is the point in democracy when both major parties are the same?”
Yours sincerely, for the last time,
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