by 'Anne Derbyshire'
First Entry 12th November 2016
So where do I start? Thoughts are random and mixed. Stay with me, my story isn’t unusual.
I suppose initially I should provide some background about who I am. I was born in the early 1960’s, my parents had traditional roles in that my Father was the one responsible for providing an income and Mother was homemaker and carer. My parents were disinterested in politics and I do not think they even voted in General Elections. My Father had been in the Armed Forces and always said he had been conditioned into “not having an opinion” regarding politics. Mother was always just deliberately disengaged from ‘worldly’ affairs. However, one of my Grandfathers was ‘a red’; he had strong socialist beliefs that have influenced my thinking all my life.
Like many other people, I slowly lost interest in political activity and politicians. It seemed impossible to get my voice heard for even local issues by the time the 90’s came around. I experienced apathy and complacency from everyone, including young people, students in universities and my peers. No-one I knew wanted to be involved with fighting for the rights of ordinary people to have an education free of debt, keep jobs, earn decent wages, keep their roads safe, schools equipped and funded, keep care for the elderly and the vulnerable in place…the list is endless. The world of politics seemed so full of bias, mixed messages and avoidance of answering basic questions, in terms that as a disengaged, disenchanted member of the UK public (ME) could understand. Therefore, I gave up, switched off from the political dialogues, and ignored the news.
So how and why have I reached this point now, of questioning what I can do to ‘make a difference’? What changed? The change in my indifference did not happen overnight but it has happened in a reasonably short space of time. Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour party, in 2015, friends were starting to talk about, and post news about what Jeremy was saying on social media. At the same time, I became very aware of how the right wing fascists were tapping into peoples’ fears. The mainstream press and news agencies were starting to really worry me with how and what was (and is) being reported. People I knew were beginning to worry me with their attitudes and their perception of the ‘truth’ of the stories being published, the bias in the media and the changes in attitudes have frightened me but those things have also pushed me into wanting to DO something to stop the rise of those attitudes.
I re-joined the Labour party just after Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader in 2015, I voted for him to remain leader this year because I believe he is now the only and best person for the job of opposing the Conservative Government and putting the Labour party in power at the next General Election. I have only a vague idea of how, as an individual, I can join-in, contribute, pull together, or actually apply any of the things that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, is advocating. This is a start, a journal, a journey, a way for me to learn about how our country is governed and more importantly a way to connect to other people who also have a need to understand how acting together we can make a difference.
(Editors Note: Anne Derbyshire is the pen name of a local party member. She has asked the editors to maintain her anonymity for this series of posts)