I come from a strong socialist background. Dad was a shop steward, his Dad before him too. Granddad was secretary of our local Labour Party Branch in the 1950’s, a post I have also held locally. Campaigning, leafleting, talking up the Party, explaining the fairness of Labour values, helping people to understand how the whole political system works is something I have done since the age of 15. I once met Tony Benn, who inspired and encouraged me and others from our local party. I struggled in the Blair years, the ending of Clause 4, seeking out the middle classes and embracing their values, and then there was the war. I sent my card back, could no longer align myself with this party, however, I still worked every election, canvassing, because Labour were always the best alternative to the Tories.
I was so happy watching Conference in 2010 to see that the electorate had rejected the Blair lookalike of David Milliband and instead chosen his brother Ed. I listened to his speech, and believed I had heard someone who could make the difference, someone who would bring Labour values back and who would stand up for fairness and justice. I rejoined the Party that day. I have worked since then supporting our local Councillors and our General Election candidate. I have leafleted, I have canvassed, door knocked and telephoned, all the time believing that under Ed the Party would make good choices and create a fair society.
Imagine my horror to see on social media a photograph of Ed Milliband holding the Sun newspaper. At first I thought it was an internet joke, photo-shopped for shock value, then I read more. He actually thought this was good publicity for the England World Cup squad. This newspaper, which in my opinion is the lowest of the low, has caused untold suffering for many people. From the headlines at Hillsborough to the phone tapping of dead children’s phones all for a story, this scum has no morals, no conscience and no place in the hands of the leader of my Party. Yes I am from Merseyside, I have friends who were at Hlllsbourgh, I went to a funeral of a 20 year old boy who didn’t come back from the match. I was in a city in grief. I saw the media add to that grief and through greed and manipulation by the then government I saw the Sun newspaper blame innocent Liverpool fans for the deaths of their friends and fellow supporters. This was not just an editorial decision, it was a clever plan to take the heat of the real culprits of the disaster the South Yorkshire Police force.
Scousers never buy the Sun, this is true to this day. I wlll not tolerate it in my house and I would not be able to be friends with anyone who read or bought the paper. Yes, all these years on, I still feel this strongly. And now the Leader of the Party I wanted to govern my country has betrayed me for a sound bite photograph. It hurts even more that the stunt was football related.
I have tried to work out what happened. I don’t know, and probably never will. Having read his half baked apology, I am left with the knowledge that the man is a fool. He has no sense of what is right and wrong, and no idea just what his actions will have done to the electorate. Imagine if he had been the only Leader not to take part, imagine how he could have used that to comment on the fairness and justice that I believe is at the core of Labour values. He didn’t, and neither did any of the high paid people advising him there is no apology possible and for me no hope left in the Party.