“It’s not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand. ~ John Cleese (as Brian Stimpson in the film Clockwise)
The polling stations open in a few hours time and I am genuinely a nervous wreck. The forecast polls suggest a surge in support for Labour and after a disastrous campaign a slightly shrunken lead for Theresa May. It has been heart-warming to watch the decline and fall of the Conservatives campaign. Even with the support of Murdock and the dark arts of Lynton Crosby, May’s narcissistic and presidential campaign has withered on the vine. Strong and stable, my arse. Admittedly, I did not vote for Corbyn in either of the membership elections, but I have admired his campaign about issues and refusal to engage in personal attacks. I may not agree with all of the issues in the Labour Manifesto but at least they were there front and centre. A dignified campaign with a focus on public services. As a public sector worker, I am agog at the damage done by austerity and genuinely fearful of what another five years of conservative rule will do for education and the students I work with. Enough is enough, but have we done enough to prevent the inevitable Tory landslide? Will the shy Tory votes defy the pollsters logic? Will young people turn up and vote? Many commentators have suggested we are witnessing a new politics; that Brexit and the rise of Scottish / Welsh / English nationalism have fundamentally changed our political climate in a way that is not reflected in our two-party system. In my social media bubble, we assume that good moral people will vote progressively and anyone who does not is not recognisable to us. It remains uncertain how these new divisions will impact on this election. After all, my social media bubble have been wrong before. Whilst my head tells me that Theresa May is likely to win, it is my heart that is hoping for another outcome.
We have never needed a Labour Government more.
I work in a local state secondary school, my kids attend a local state primary school. I live in London, there are too few school places and I dread the next round of applications. Getting a good school place should not be a survival of the fittest situation? The curriculum is an omnishambles, the funding projections mean that really difficult decisions will have to be made and there is a serious teacher recruitment crises.
I have a chronic illness and I need the NHS to help me manage it. Some of the drugs I need are extremely expensive and need case-by-case approval from NICE.
My teacher pension is managed by the government. They keep reducing the benefits and increasing the pension age. I will need to teach until I am 68 years old.
I work part-time and I want to be treated fairly by my employer. I need a family friendly approach that accepts my role as a father and employee are not incompatible. We are dependent on the rail network to travel to work everyday. It is a frustrating and dispiriting experience. I go swimming in the council-owned swimming pool and take my kids to play in the local council park. Recent austerity cuts have closed our library and reduced our park keeper. Our community leisure facilities are run on a shoe-string and it seems like a matter of time before the council will be forced to close them or sell them. In a post-Brexit world I am worried about the impact of globalisation. I am worried about the difficult times that lay ahead as we renegotiate our relationship with Europe. I am worried about the increase in hate crime.
My story is similar to millions of others, my wants and needs are not extraordinary.
I am everyman and we have never needed the Labour Party more.
I live in hope.