Time to take a chance
June 7, 2017 – 11:30 pm | No Comment | by:

Author Selina Todd, who wrote critically acclaimed The People: The Rise and Fall of The Working Class, tells AFL why she’s voting Labour…

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Time to take a chance by:
June 7, 2017 – 11:30 pm | No Comment

Vote NHS

Author Selina Todd, who wrote critically acclaimed The People: The Rise and Fall of The Working Class, tells AFL why she’s voting Labour…

I am no diehard Labour voter. I left the country before the 1997 election because I could not bear to see Blair smarm his way into No.10 on the back of the Daily Mail. But on Thursday I will be campaigning for Labour and here is why.

I was brought up a socialist. My dad, who left a secondary modern school at 15, became a leftwing (some would say “hard left”, most of them work for the Today programme) councillor in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1979 and he is still there today.

Against all the bullshit about the Labour left being interested only in in-fighting and abstract theory, my dad is a hardworking ward councillor, and if anything, his life and work in a working-class area that has become increasingly multiracial over the years has only made him more radical – he is now a committed environmentalist as a result of seeing what pollution and a lack of investment in public services has done to the streets and parks in his neighbourhood.

Unlike some, he didn’t send his kids to a school in a more salubrious area, because he and my mum, a committed socialist and feminist, would never have thought that anyone deserved special treatment. Those of us who have to work for a living should stick together.

My dad is one of many, and among those many is Jeremy Corbyn, and many members of his Shadow Cabinet. To anyone who says Jeremy Corbyn is not a strong leader, I’d ask them to remember, if they can, the 1980s. Which politicians were out there defending communities against the National Front when the Tories were whipping up hatred against immigrants?

corbyn

Who was brave enough to stand up and demand that Northern Irish Republicans be given their democratic voice, at a time when Thatcher refused to let them broadcast on the British media? Leftwing Labour politicians, that’s who. It is difficult to remember, sometimes, how violent the NF were, and how much secret service and police involvement there was in monitoring the true opponents to Thatcherism. It took courage to stand up and be counted.

When people tell me I should vote because of the suffragettes, I don’t take much notice – to me, democracy exists when there are two sides to choose between, and no party has been presenting an alternative to neoliberalism recently. But that has now changed. I’ll be voting Labour on Thursday, not in memory of suffragettes, but with the thought of the voters of 1945 in my mind. In 1945 the stakes were high, and no one knew how it will turn out. The media was in favour of the status quo. The only party backing the new idea of a welfare state was Labour.

Clement Attlee was a public-school educated liberal, so he got an easier ride than JC has had. But we have something that the Labour Party back then did not possess. Something that makes what those voters did in 1945 very brave.

They did not know what cradle to grave welfare would bring. The Tories told them it would spell economic disaster at a time when the country was on its knees and a new terror threat (the USSR) was growing. No one could really argue too much with that logic, because Labour’s proposals had never been tried before. No country had an NHS. The voters took a chance, believing that, after a huge war and massive loss of life, looking after each other and future generations – us – was worth a step into the unknown.

Labours NHS

We have a huge advantage. We do know what a welfare state looks like. We know free education meant millions of us getting to college and university and into apprenticeships – and, being blunt, spending years reading and debating rather than working for someone else. We know that the NHS reduced infant mortality rates. We know that council housing gave people a security they relished. And we also know that, on this foundation, people created dreams of true equality – leading to the huge strikes led by workers, tenants and school and university students in the late 1960s and 1970s, demanding more control over their lives: real democracy.

A vote for Labour doesn’t mean equality overnight, but it does mean laying the foundation on which we can start that fight.

On Thursday we aren’t voting to bring back that past because history never repeats itself, and there were lots of things wrong with those postwar years. Grammar schools and secondary moderns for one – the proportion of working-class kids staying on at school only started to rise once parents demanded comprehensives for all.

But we’re voting for a future that we know we can build, because our grandparents did it before. They took a chance on us. Now it’s our turn to make a difference.

Fear, love and hope will rage…
June 7, 2017 – 8:32 pm | No Comment | by:
Fear, love and hope will rage…

For the first time since the first time, I will be voting for a manifesto I actually believe in. Since Jeremy Corbyn won the first leadership election, he has galvanised many on the left. And he has done it with basic social democratic ideas and policies that aren’t even ‘radical’ in the grander scheme of things.

Don’t draw a cock
June 7, 2017 – 12:50 pm | No Comment | by:
Don’t draw a cock

Every time I get in the voting booth I get the urge to draw a cock on the ballot paper. It’s worse this time cos a family member has appointed me as a proxy. It’s double temptation to draw a cock.

Making America Grate Again (lessons to be learned)
June 7, 2017 – 12:48 pm | No Comment | by:
Making America Grate Again (lessons to be learned)

It was now, with alarming ease, that people who’d never before mentioned race to us felt comfortable in the company of relative outsiders to spout their new-found, or more likely long-held but until now supressed views about the perceived danger they faced from Islam and the burden of paying the medical bills of lazy, unemployed African Americans and Latinos. Far from being the joke figure he was to us, Trump was being openly celebrated by many I met in Atlanta as a leader who would deal with these “problems”. These sorts of conversations were not difficult to get into on that visit. Foreign policy never came up though.

Pass the brillo pad…
June 7, 2017 – 8:25 am | No Comment | by:
Pass the brillo pad…

And what will follow? More of the bloody same. More people using food banks, more people dying because they have had their benefits stopped, a hard brexit that will make the whole country worse off, a tax haven for the very rich, people finding that, in real terms they are facing pay cuts and less workers rights.

The beautiful cack-handed ibex
June 6, 2017 – 8:07 pm | No Comment | by:
The beautiful cack-handed ibex

What a beautiful world it wants to bring into being for the many; what sturdy collective endeavour it encourages us all to work towards.

Thursday Night Fever
June 6, 2017 – 8:05 pm | No Comment | by:
Thursday Night Fever

Sometimes I have imaginary arguments while walking to work in which I come up with amazing ripostes to win the argument in no uncertain terms. Occasionally this is muttered out loud instead of inside my head and I get caught unawares by someone silently overtaking me, and I have to hope they think I’m using one of those bluetooth earpieces, so rather than being a lunatic I’m just a twat.

The best thing since black pudding
June 6, 2017 – 10:19 am | No Comment | by:
The best thing since black pudding

I’m immensely proud of my upbringing in Manchester in the 90s and the communities which shaped me that have been forgotten. The people who work hard and look after each other have been badly let down by the politicians of all persuasions who were supposed to look after them.

Man flu
June 6, 2017 – 7:35 am | No Comment | by:
Man flu

By Joe Hill’s mardyarse ghost
Man Flu. Who was it that conjured up that beauty? It seems to depict that a bloke with flu is being a right mard arse.
So there I was wallowing in …

Thick as mince
June 6, 2017 – 7:29 am | No Comment | by:
Thick as mince

I’ve been genuinely excited by Labour’s general election campaign but, at the same time, as that Tory lead in the polls narrows I’m trying to resist the temptation to go full on 1992 “we’re gonna win the league” about it all. That’d be daft because you just know that by 10.01pm on Thursday night we could very well all be sad faced emoji again.

I’m dreaming
June 5, 2017 – 12:28 pm | No Comment | by:
I’m dreaming

Over the past six weeks every time Corbyn has opened his mouth he has spoken for me and my family; not the bankers who got us into this mess in the first place; not for the establishment; not for the rich; not to the parliamentary Labour Party!

Let’s have some Grime blaring out of 10 Downing Street…
June 5, 2017 – 7:32 am | No Comment | by:
Let’s have some Grime blaring out of 10 Downing Street…

It’s because they’re a bunch of working class-hating, tax-avoiding, arms-dealing, benefits-slashing, Sure Start-closing, NHS-privatising, nuclear weapons-loving, fox hunting-supporting, zero hour contract-enabling, big business tax-cutting, expenses-claiming, grammar school-resurrecting, food bank-denying, Trump-fellating, Murdoch-schmoozing, pig’s head-fucking, mustard coloured pants-wearing bastards.

Corbyeaux, he’s dancing round the tories…
June 3, 2017 – 11:30 am | No Comment | by:
Corbyeaux, he’s dancing round the tories…

We fought and were fighting. We were going to take the hardships for future generations and present to them our victories, no longer going unnamed, as a gift for them to keep unwrapping until their children came along and they carried on the unfurling.

She’s a Liar…
May 27, 2017 – 9:00 am | One Comment | by:
She’s a Liar…

NHS crisis, education crisis, u turns … you can’t trust Theresa May. Let’s get this into the top 40. Download now and force the BBC to play it on our airwaves. All proceeds from downloads …

Manchester: We are all immigrants
May 27, 2017 – 8:59 am | No Comment | by:
Manchester: We are all immigrants

“Isn’t that nice…that of all the places in the world they could go…they choose us?” As she carried on looking at the pavement as she pottered along I said “It is Mam … it really is.” And I cried at the beauty of such simple goodness.

Football, music and politics…
May 22, 2017 – 7:23 am | No Comment | by:
Football, music and politics…

Ignore the nonsense about Merseyside being the capital of music…

And John Terry cried…
May 22, 2017 – 7:23 am | No Comment | by:
And John Terry cried…

“STAND HERE YOU BASTARD….STAND HERE YOU MARD BASTARD…YOU WANNA KNOW WHERE TEARDROPS FALL….HERE IS WHERE THEY FALL.”

CYCM 29/05/17: Shamesborough Gin ‘n’ Tea
April 25, 2017 – 10:39 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 29/05/17: Shamesborough Gin ‘n’ Tea

Shame is a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s not something you’d purposely go out of your way to experience, but if millennia of biblical guilt has taught us anything, it’s that there’s always a need …

The Lille People…
April 6, 2017 – 1:06 pm | No Comment | by:
The Lille People…

FC United are delighted to announce that we will be channelling Mancunian joi de vivre when we cross the channel to the northern French city of Lille to take part in a celebration of Manchester’s love of football, music and all things cultural on the weekend of Friday 9th to Sunday 11th June 2017.

Watch this space…monkey…
April 6, 2017 – 12:57 pm | No Comment | by:
Watch this space…monkey…

Ahead of their Manchester Band On The Wall gig on Saturday night (April 8), website Even The Stars caught up with Space Monkeys singer, AFL friend and regular FCUM attender Richard McNevin-Duff, for a chat about them reforming, the reaction they’ve received and their plans for a new album…

CYCM 25/03/17: Be Stillia, My Battling Art
March 21, 2017 – 10:33 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 25/03/17: Be Stillia, My Battling Art

Edward Bulwer-Lytton probably thought of himself as a right old smarty pants, and not just because of the double-barrelled surname. The novelist, playwright and all round clever clogs first coined the phrase ‘The pen is …