My name is Chris Hallam. I am in my thirties, live in the south west of England and I support the Labour Party.
Why? Why would anyone pin their hopes to a political party in this day and age? Particularly one has so recently been ejected after a long spell in power?
Well, in fact, there are a number of reasons. And if you feel as I do about the following things, perhaps you should consider supporting them too.
Government can be good: Call me crazy but if the experience of the last few years has taught us anything, it is that we should not leave too much power in the hands of an unrestrained unchecked market. Of course, private enterprise should be allowed. But to let the global economy be left in the hands of unelected bankers and moneymen who have no moral or democratic foundation to their actions is insanity. Sometimes government works best.
Public health: What on Earth is more important than being healthy? Labour have always recognised this. Creating the National Health Service (in the face of bitter Conservative resistance) was one of the outstanding British achievements of the 20th century. The Tories brought the NHS close to the brink of destruction again in the Eighties and Nineties. It took the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown Government to resurrect it. Many on the Right have never accepted universal healthcare and even now aspire to a type of system which in the US, President Obama’s healthcare reforms have sensibly rejected. Most Britons sensibly reject the Right’s ideas on this too. They should continue to do so.
Against racism: While the Tories have always been inclined to pander to lazy tabloid racism, Labour has always been committed to the cause of anti-racism. It was Labour supporters who most keenly resisted the rise of Oswald Moseley’s Blackshirts in the Thirties. The Race Relations Act also came into being under Labour.
Against homophobia: Again, where the Tories historically adopted a homophobic attitude to “homosexual propaganda” being taught in schools, it was under Labour that homosexuality was first legalised, that the age of consent was equalised, that we saw homosexuality legalised in the armed services and which witnessed the first openly gay MPs and cabinet ministers.
For women: The first woman Prime Minister was, of course, a Tory. But aside from that, Tory Governments have been unfriendly towards women. Margaret Thatcher was, in fact, notorious for not promoting other women to positions in government. By far the biggest surge in the number of women MPs came with the Labour landslide in 1997.
Falling crime: The figures speak for themselves here. Crime more than doubled in the UK during the Thatcher and Major Governments. Crime fell by more than 40% under Blair and Brown.
Labour did not cause the world recession: It may amuse anyone outside Britain to hear it, but some people believe the dramatic slump which affected the entire western world after 2008, was solely down the British Labour Party alone! This is, of course, absurd. It was very unfortunate that the meltdown occurred but Labour’s own economic management was impeccable. Had the Tories been in power, things would undoubtedly have been much worse.
Labour Governments achieve reform: Labour’s record of success in the last century is astounding. Labour governments have created the NHS, the welfare state, the minimum wage, introduced devolution, passed the Good Friday Agreement, introduced comprehensive education, passed the race relations act, liberalised divorce laws, legalised homosexuality, granted civil partnerships, reformed the House of Lords, banned smoking in public places, expanded further education, created the Open University, ended hunting with dogs and improved the lives of millions.
Even where the other parties occasionally propose welcome reforms such as legalising gay marriages or reforming the Lords, they never have the backbone to go through with it.
Labour remain the only serious progressive force in the UK. I would urge you to support them too.