A Letter to My Father

Obviously I know that you’re planning to vote Conservative on June 8th, because you always have. Thinking back to our Tory MP from my youth I can understand why. He turned down every offer of a government post to remain a back bencher, he proudly displayed on his election leaflets the number of times he had voted against his party when he thought it in the interests of his constituency, and I remember him telling me as a young teenager while showing me around the Houses of Parliament, about his unease at the recent Conservative landslide victory as it would mean that the party leadership would feel able to ignore the dissenting voices. He was right.

However, times have changed and these are no longer your people. Let us be frank; in the years to come the support of the NHS and the quality of social care are going to be of keen interest. If May is returned on June 8th with a working majority the challenges you faced with the care provision for your mother-in-law will be nothing compared to the hardships others will face. It is worth listening to the voices of those who actually work on the front line, like here for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUGAcyX_TPU

The NHS is in crisis not because this is inevitable but because to properly fund it would reduce the opportunity for the most wealthy in this country (and other countries) to further increase their share. Now I look back I can see that we probably were not very well off while we were growing up, but I can honestly say that the thought never occurred to me at the time. Much was down to how well we were cared for by you and Mum, but partly it was because we were living through one of the most equal periods of this country’s history and there were no worries about such things as paying for education and health care.

We are one of those families where mine was the first generation to go to university, largely because for the first time all that mattered was whether I got the necessary grades. A country that understood the value of equal opportunity meant that I could go without the fear of crippling debt. Your granddaughters are not going to have that opportunity unless Corbyn is Prime Minister on June 9th. What is more, the present regime is looking to sell off the student loans to private investors who will of course be seeking to maximise their returns. This is the future the young people of this country face.

Conservative is just a name, it is the policies that matter. Many of the policies that Labour and the Greens are promising are fundamental things that were accepted by the Tories of the 50s, 60s and 70s as plain decency and common sense. In the last forty years it is the political spectrum that has shifted to the right, and what was once common ground is now labeled as dangerous extremism by those who stand to lose the most, financially, if the rest of us should win our fair share back.

May, like most Prime Ministers, loves to play the patriotic card. Well, let’s just remember that the last time Europe took a sharp turn to the right it was Britain that was one of the main bulwarks that stood in its way, and it was the Labour movement that was the mainstay of that resistance. It was they that broke the power of the British Fascists when they stopped them marching through the East End of London to intimidate their targets of hate. It is tolerance and solidarity, not division that is at the heart of British identity.

Perhaps it is Corbyn you are worried about, but has all that you think you know about him been given to you by the Daily Mail, that open, poisonous wound in our body politic? To be free is, at least in part, to think for ourselves. Just take the time to listen to some of his speeches and interviews. Probably May’s biggest mistake in calling this election is making it possible for people to actually see and hear the man himself, rather than the caricature our corporate press serve up. Listen to Caroline Lucas, who if Labour don’t get a majority will no doubt be an influential person in any alliance. These are good people who want to make this country a kinder place, and have very realistic policies to do that. The only cost is making the very wealthy less so.

Conservative, Labour, Green, these are all just names, but the policies of the last two would give my and your granddaughters’ generations hope for a better life. We must all vote with our consciences and our better natures on June 8th but please don’t just vote for a name.

With love and respect.