Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Labour leadership contest has been relegated down the news agenda, but tomorrow’s announcement gives Poppy Stowell-Evans reason to hope.
April 4th has been a much anticipated date for not only Labour supporters but politically minded people throughout the country.
After much apprehension and an arguably extensively long campaign, this date marks the end of the race for the Labour leadership.
Whilst this has been grueling for us as spectators, I can only imagine how it must have been for the competitors who have put only their best foot forward for months to win the hearts and trust of Labour members who have been subjected to four brutal general election losses. Lisa Nandy, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Keir Starmer have all claimed that they are the beacon to aid us through these dark days – the voice our country is ready for.
I am a fifteen year old young woman living in Newport, a city familiar with the effects of depravity, and have been eager for this announcement. For the majority of my life the UK has been governed by the Conservative party. Whilst I have the awareness to understand the potential benefits of the Tories’ more capitalist mindset, I believe they are prone to forgetting what is most important, what is at the heart of our communities and what should be at the heart of all decision making, people.
For clarification, I do not mean a single group of people. I do not mean any one specific class. I believe decisions should represent and embody as much of society as possible: they should have the intention of benefiting everyone, including those who aren’t economically active.
This is an ideal that has been swept aside by a greed to grow our economy and prove that Britain is ‘great’ on its own.
Passion, trust, unity. The keys that give me, as a young person, hope for the future.
As a young person, I feel my voice is often easily forgotten.This has been reflected in negative changes I have witnessed across the UK. As a result of Tory decisions, and deep budget cuts, I have had to apply for grants to reduce period poverty in my own school and have seen idolised teachers striking, with some even being made redundant.
I have had to sit by and witness my opportunities being changed by Brexit and smile sweetly when witnessing the disparity in opportunities for young people simply because of their post code. I have seen family members fear for their jobs and apologise for the world I live in.
As a teenager, these aspects of my world, shared with so many other young people, can be very hard hitting. I yearned for a sense of hope and reassurance for our future and sought a home through joining the Labour Party in September 2019.
Despite how glum the world can seem, I feel Labour can provide an immense sense of hope for people across Britain, especially right now, during a once-in-a-lifetime crisis such as this pandemic.
In front of our eyes we are witnessing the country’s most important and integral workers become ill and suffer as they care for patients in extreme circumstances, against a backdrop of a decade of to-the-bone cuts and poor pay. However, despite this, I know that hope can still seep through with the help of politicians who are willing to fight in the corner of social justice.
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For me, Keir Starmer animates this hope and I feel he is able to raise the morale of Labour supporters and the country. Throughout his career as a human rights lawyer he has shown an inherent commitment and passion for helping those who are the most vulnerable, including people who have been targeted by large corporations and corrupt governments.
It’s this humanity and social awareness that a lot of Eton-bred leaders aren’t exposed to, and that’s why he gives me hope. His working class roots will allow him to reconnect with the votes lost in the devastating 2019 election, and despite being the favourite to win, he has continued to embody the message of unity with his competitors and therefore his party.
Keir Starmer displays immense strengths, but there can be no discounting his competitors, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey. Both have displayed true conviction in their opinions and a passion to make Britain a better place for everyone. It is inspiring to see two young and modern thinking women flourish in politics and I am sure their passion will begin shaping a pathway for many more young women to follow.
During this era of division and distrust in our politics and across the world, hope and unity is a message that we must cling onto. By uniting the Labour party, then the UK, we can reunite with the rest of the world.
Passion, trust, unity. The keys that give me, as a young person, hope for the future. And it’s this hope that is fuelling a shift in society.
Albert Einstein said: ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to never stop questioning’. Perfectly relevant for today’s young people, ever more ardent in our views.
We are taking actions and steps towards a better future, for everyone. As a result of climate strikes, International Women’s Day and platforms like this IWA Voices column, young people are provided with more opportunities to have our voices heard. To have our voices not only listened to, but more importantly, acknowledged.
The new Labour leadership will fuel the flame of this revolution and prove that the only way forward is to listen to the voices of everyone; to act; and of course, to unite.
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