Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Open letter to Harriet Harman

Dear Harriet Harman,

Who am I to be writing to an important woman such as yourself? I am just a name amongst a sea of insignificant people, who dare to call themselves supporters of the Labour Party.

I am what the Tory party class as a “young person”, despite being 34. I am old enough to shape young minds, or at least that's what teachers like me used to do before Michael Gove destroyed the education system, whilst the Labour Party looked on.

I am disabled, no longer able to do the job I love. Just another name to suffer under the sweeping destruction Iain Duncan Smith has wrought on the welfare state, whilst the Labour Party looked on.

I am on the housing list, deemed a danger to myself while I live alone in a non-disability-adapted property, but since the bedroom tax there's nowhere for me to go. Just another person without a suitable home thanks to Kris Hopkins failing to build affordable homes, whilst the Labour Party looked on.

I am the daughter of a mother dying from Mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos whilst working as a teacher in the 70's. We have the highest rate of Mesothelioma in the world. Michael Gove and now Nicky Morgan have failed to remove asbestos from our schools, whilst the Labour Party looked on.

I am a user of food banks, just another statistic forced to plead for food thanks to the disastrous delay in ESA and PIP ATOS assessments overseen by a callous Iain Duncan Smith, whilst the Labour Party looked on.

I am an NHS user who no longer has a fully operational local hospital. The Tories, like carrion-eating scavengers, have picked the carcass dry leaving destruction in their wake. Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt disrespects and bullies the phenomenal team of NHS staff who help me, whilst the Labour Party look on.

My question for you, Harriet, is when will the Labour Party stop looking on and actually act? Our party’s name should remind you who the party is supposed to be fighting for. What has happened to the party who fought for bread and roses? Losing the fight for roses was a painful blow but to no longer fight for bread is reaching a real low for the Labour movement.

I am a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn for next Labour leader. When I became disabled I thought the chronic neuropathic pain and a body that let me down would be the biggest challenge I would face. I never thought the biggest challenge would be to watch the Labour Party allowing the Conservatives to dismantle the welfare state I so desperately rely on. I am deeply concerned and more than a little disgusted by the attitude of senior members of the Labour Party toward Corbyn's supporters and to the democratic process. Several MPs like Simon Danczuk, John Mann, Chukka Umunna and Liz Kendall have been less than respectful of the democratic process and of those of us who back Corbyn. Perhaps they would do well to remember what democracy means and that they are supposed to represent the wishes of their constituents not their own careers. Danczuk appears to be calling for a coup, which is ridiculous. After all, no coup came from Labour MPs when the Tories won with a far lower percentage of votes than Corbyn is predicted to win with.

There is constant hand-wringing and mutterings as the party comes to grips with losing the last election. Questions about how Miliband lost. The anti-Corbyn reaction from some members of the PLP shows why Labour lost the last election and were utterly routed by the SNP. The people of this country, the ordinary Labour supporters, feel that as a party you don’t understand or fight for us. You don't see the upsurge of support for Corbyn as a sign that we are crying out for a party who support the ordinary folk against the Tories. A party that says, “Enough is enough. Those in need should be cared for with compassion!” A party that stands for hope not despair. For some of us, supporting Corbyn feels like we are fighting for our very lives. If the Labour Party doesn't start to take a stand and defend the most vulnerable there will be more suicides. More disillusionment. More fear. Is that really the cause the Labour Party wishes to die fighting for?

As acting leader, we look to you to steer the ship, to remind the PLP why you need to respect the voters’ wishes. There are only a few entryists backing Corbyn, the majority of us are nobodies in the eyes of the party, but unlike the other candidates Corbyn sees us and welcomes us to be somebodies to change the landscape of hate and fear that so many high profile Labour members are actively promoting in the press. I urge you to remind the PLP to abide by the voters’ wishes. You said you wanted a democratic process. As a party you misread the mood of the country and the need for change, but that doesn’t mean that the democratic process itself was wrong. If you allow those who oppose Corbyn to actively refuse a democratic decision then you allow them to destroy the very foundation of the Labour Party. A betrayal of the electorate will only signify the end of a party that I and many others felt was still worth fighting for!