I find myself feeling very intimidated by today’s title. Not because I am undecided on my political views. Not because I am worried in any way about sharing my standpoint. I am a fully signed-up, card carrying member of the Labour Party and I am proud.
I don’t even particularly worry about getting into heated discourse on politics. I live with a politics graduate and have a family who are politically diverse from myself, I’m happy with a bit of heated discourse, but man it’s a big old subject isn’t it, and I worry that my knowledge isn’t great enough for me to come on here and spout off.
I have another very dear friend who is also a politics graduate, who has continued to work in the politics arena, who has been involved actively in political campaigning and teaches on the subject at university, and when I suggested to him he write me a little guest post on the politics of health he was all “well I don’t really know much about that area, I would be bluffing.”
This does not fill little, old me with the confidence to write this post, but here goes. I will start with my basic opinions on how I believe life should be;
1. I believe we are defined by the way we treat the most vulnerable in our society. It is our duty to support and protect those who cannot do it for themselves, for whatever reason. This should be enshrined at a central, governmental level.
2. That there should be access to high quality education, medical services, law enforcement and social care for all, and that this should also be funded centrally by a taxation system where people pay in what they can afford.
3. I believe that people who earn more, have more, should pay in more, regardless of which services they themselves are accessing. Every single person in this country benefits, even if only tangentially, from the fact that quality public services are available.
4. I believe that every person has the right, the duty even, to express their political views and to express these as a democratic vote, regardless of their wealth, employment or social standing.
I think that is the central core of my beliefs and I think that with that, my only political option currently is with the Labour Party. I have a lot of respect for the Green Party also but they are not currently a viable option to run government.
As a person who is in a high tax bracket I am extremely proud of the tax that I pay. I am lucky to have received a very good education at primary, secondary and university level within the British state education system (my socialist credentials are a little tarnished by those two pesky college years at an amazing private school where I was very fortunate to get a scholarship). I had a lot of health issues as a young child and I am lucky to have received free health care at the point of access for every GP appointment, ambulance journey, hospital admission and surgical procedure. I am lucky that my family received benefits when my middle class, university educated, working in a well paid job in private industry, father was made redundant during the eighties recession. I am lucky that I got a job with excellent job security and generous pay within the public sector. I am lucky that I received free health care through both my pregnancies and births. I am lucky that I had nine months of paid maternity leave with each child so I could be with them when they were so tiny. I am lucky that we got government assistance as first time buyers so we could buy a house that my children call their home. I am lucky that I could take my children to see doctors for free when one broke her arm and the other got crazy wheezy (again and again). I am lucky that my daughter goes to a school which I do not pay for where she has been able to totally flourish. I am lucky that both my children were funded for two days a week at an amazing preschool from the age of three. I am lucky and I am proud of every single penny that all that luck has allowed me to pay into helping other people to be lucky too. We should all be able to be proud of the services our country can provide and we should be proud that we can help provide those very same services for others who would not be able to pay for them themselves. And if that means I pay a lot of tax then I’m ok with that.
So, I’ll skip the finer details of the political system for now. I’ll gloss over Brexit (I’m pro-Europe by the way), I’ll gloss over Corbynistas (I think Corbyn’s a rather inspirational man, but I’m not entirely convinced by Momentum), I’ll gloss over Trump (what a tosser) and the current unrest in the Middle East (couldn’t possibly sum that one up in one line) but feel free to ask me about it some other time! I do love a bit of heated political discourse after all…