By David Hamblin / @UnionisedDavid
Class, Union, Party are the triumvirate of the Labour movement. As Labour Party members we understand that each begets the other. It is through our struggles that the working class recognised the deep seated need to act as one and form trade unions. The Labour Party was fashioned into being due in large to the trade union movement recognising the need for political representation as well as industrial.
The greatest coup enacted was the one where people were persuaded that politics is somehow separate from their lives – particularly youth. Everyone is political. It is up to the Labour Party to demonstrate that people are closer to the politics than they may think and are closer to our policies than they may know.
I have seen first-hand how young people engaged with politics. An engagement borne out of experiencing what is thrown at them and having the determination to declare they will fight back. As soon as the general election was announced, young trade unionists (particularly those of the GMB Young Members Network) were organising for Labour. They have seen how politics influences their lives –and they are now influencing politics.
Each general election is said to be “the fight for our lives”. But it is true in every instance. For when those in politics take our lives it is seldom in one fell blow delivered from on high. Instead, it is the stroke of a pen which slices a little deeper every time.
We lose part of our lives every time we are paid a pittance for our labour. We lose part of our lives when we are set against our brothers and sisters through hate and fear. We lose part of our lives when we live under the shadow of a government which actively seeks to tear asunder the society we have dared to build.
The Labour Party is setting an alternative before the electorate. Labour Party policies of which I have been a long-time advocate: a true Living Wage of £10 per hour, a properly funded NHS, and a commitment to fight tooth and nail for our public services – amongst others). The Labour Party seeks to lay foundations in society on which we can build our lives upward.
We campaigned to remain in the EU. The referendum was lost, but the values and policies that the Labour Party campaigned on are still worth fighting for. That desire for fairness and respect and mutual support is integral to Labour’s mission and inform the way that Labour is holding the government to account.
The reason for my faith in Labour is a knowledge of its origins: Class, Union, Party. A crimson thread runs through each and binds them together as one. This is how I will be speaking to people on the doorstep: what matters to you? Because Labour will have an answer, will have a stance, will have a plan. That is Labour’s socialist purpose: to give a voice & power for a class which the system decrees must have neither.
David Hamblin is the Welsh Representative on the Open Labour National Committee.