Crewe and Nantwich Labour Party member and CLP Youth Officer tells us why he is Labour.
For those of you who don’t know me (yet!), my name is Joe Cosby, I’m a 22-year-old university student from Crewe, and I also work for a national children’s charity. I joined the party a few months before the election, and was very happy to be elected as the new youth officer for the CLP back in July.
I joined Labour because I came to believe that the only way to change how a party thinks and behaves is to become an active member. Places such as Crewe will be hit hardest by the Conservative Party’s cuts to tax credits, public services and the NHS, and so we need to build an alliance with the public and prove that we are the party who will best represent them. It’s clear to see that we were unable to win the argument this year, but we can’t give up fighting for ordinary people’s rights, and I believe that we as a party have a moral obligation to stand up for vulnerable people who cannot stand up for themselves. It is these people who stand to lose the most under a Tory government, be it young people saddled with up to £53,000 worth of debt on leaving university, disabled people losing access to vital benefits such as the Independent Living Fund, or elderly people seeing services such as Lincoln House closed.
I also firmly believe that we need a society which benefits the many, not just the few, and where our communities pull together to help those facing difficulties. We in the Labour Party should offer hope in times of fear mongering by the Tories and right wing press, and it is time we looked to build a society which works for ordinary people, not just the super-rich and the banks. Labour is able to play a huge role in showing support for, and solidarity with, the people who prop up our country. Cleaners, teachers, nurses, sales assistants, together they all play their role, a role without which our society would crumble. How is it then fair that, even with the new ‘National Living Wage’ (which isn’t a living wage at all!), some families could be £1,600 a year or worse off after cuts to tax credits? These are well educated, hardworking people in full time jobs, who will now have to scrimp and save to make ends meet.
Another of the main reasons I joined the party is because, as a law student, I was abhorred by the Government’s cuts to legal aid, and the implementation of the new Criminal Courts Charge. For those who don’t know, this is a new charge which was hurried through in the run up to the election, presumably in the hope it would go relatively unnoticed. In my opinion, the charge sums up everything that is wrong with the Conservative party, as it clearly incentivises defendants to plead guilty at court. Charges range from £150 for a guilty plea for a low level offence, all the way up to £1,200 if found guilty at Crown Court. This is alongside a system which already incentivises pleading guilty by giving up to 1/3 off a sentence, and has led to many Magistrate’s resigning as they have no discretion over enforcing the charge. Some of the worst case examples of the charge in use include a homeless man who stole a drink worth 99p, a stab victim charged with criminal damage after kicking over a plant pot, and a woman with mental health difficulties who broke the terms of an ASBO after her friend incorrectly told her it had been lifted.
It is only under a Labour Government that normal people, like you and me, will have the best chance to succeed. We’ve achieved so much in the past, let’s look forward to the future and gaining office in 2020. Whether it’s pushing to realise our potential, supporting our children and our family, or needing help when times get tough, the Labour Party helps make life a little easier. That’s why I’m Labour.