10 September 2017
Sometimes it can feel difficult being Left. We are divided even within left-wing ideology, and on occasion these differences of opinion can be subject to criticism and even abuse from other left-wingers. In the 21st century, it is harder to avoid if you are a popular left-wing figure on social media. Owen Jones, a vocal Labour supporter, took a break from social media earlier this year due to the social media abuse he faced from Labour supporters who felt he wasn’t left-wing enough.
Labour itself has been subject to tirade and criticism for being so obviously internally divided. Ever since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as party leader, there has been coups, calls for him to quit, and very little media support, whilst simultaneously his die-hard supporters would leap instantly to his defence.
Despite all the criticism, thanks to a rather surprising performance in the election Corbynmania seems to be here to stay. Members of his party have seemed to have finally acknowledged that the public are crying out for a change from the outdated New Labour vision, or perhaps they are just staying relatively quiet for now.
Maintaining a left-wing voice in a centre-left party is hard. Corbyn has made a great achievement in reigniting the left-wing voice in mainstream politics. Under Tory rule everyone has suffered from cuts to vital social services, hitting those who need it most the hardest, so it is no surprise that people become even more disillusioned with politics. Especially young people, whose political participation is usually lower than other generations, but even more so when all they can see is burden: student debt, struggle to find work and get on the property ladder, and cuts to vital services such as mental health care. The open criticism of centre-left politics, and Corbyn’s history of being a rebellious backbench MP, meant that Corbynmania swept across the nation.
A progressive, left-wing voice broke into mainstream politics after far too long. Because of this, there has been a lot of Green support for Corbyn. However, with the need to pacify opposition within his own party from those still supportive of Blairite policies, it is unsurprising that Corbyn has begun to compromise on issues he previously would have stood his ground on. Pressuring Labour MPs to vote for Article 50, and pledging Labour support to renewing Trident show that even with over 30 years of rebelling against his own party, as Labour leader, Corbyn has had to quieten his own voice.
Although there is Green support for Corbyn, there is still a need for firmer left-wing representation in mainstream politics to advocate our needs, without fear of compromise to sustain personal power. In terms of current issues, the Green Party is currently working for everyone. As the only party who has vowed to protect freedom of movement, for UK and EU citizens alike, the Green Party is looking at the bigger picture. Seeing what should be done to make sure the UK continues to be a welcoming place for all. Eyes may roll at the mention of the environment in politics, but a commitment to lower global temperatures, and to invest in renewable energy is a long-term solution desperately needed. The Green Party is looking to the future, and how to save our planet. Even locally, the Green Party is cementing its place as a voice that needs to be heard, to present people in their communities. Winning our first council seat in the Isle of Wight was a fantastic win, showing that people want a party they can trust, who will fight for their concerns on a local level.
The Green Party will fight for even what Labour compromises on. That’s not to say the two parties can’t work together to prevent the Conservatives playing havoc with everyone’s wellbeing. Working together is more important than ever to protect everyone. But in the midst of Corbynmania, it is vital that other voices are listened to. The Left is a mixture of all kinds of people with all kinds of opinion, and everyone deserves a voice.