It didn’t start with the workers’ memorial but it was compounded by the clap on the back from the Labour Hull East candidate.
The memorial was for a friend, Ray Jessop, who died on Dec 7th. He fell from a tall ladder on subcontracted work for Hull City Council. Had he still worked for the council he’d probably be alive: health and safety would have dictated scaffolding for the 30’ job. A victim of privatisation.
At any other time of year it strikes me as unlikely that that the two Labour MP candidates (and likely winners, the bookies tell us) would have turned out for this. Ray, given the choice, wouldn’t have had them there (but he did have a soft spot for Caroline Lucas!) Afterwards one of the candidate-barristers went out of her way to introduce me to a London reporter and the other candidate-barrister assumed he and I were on the same side… Now, encouraging me, of course, does no harm, especially if my 1 or 2 thousand votes come from Lib Dem supporters and not Labour ones. And indeed the Lib Dems have targeted Hull North and are putting up a great orangey-diamondy type show.
The Hull East barrister and I conversed about the Greenpeace action, last time round, when activists climbed Prescott Towers to hold it to ransom: we’ll go away if you let us put £10,000 worth of solar panels on your roof! Needless to say Prezza wasn’t going to bow to such eco-terrorism. Anyway, the subject of supporting Labour came up so I made it clear I didn’t. And the barrister said: “So you’d prefer a Conservative government? I see.” I said I probably would and didn’t think they (Lab) deserved another term.
But the arrogance of the safe Labour seat prompted me to write 10 good reasons to ditch Labour and vote Green.
But clever isn’t it? How our system backs us into a corner to choose one or another false positive, especially after the betrayal of society by Labour in the 90s where now we have our own Pepsi or Coke candidates to choose from.
But Ray had no time for them. Ray stood against war. Ray stood against Trident. Ray was sometimes the only person who came up with me to Menwith Hill to protest the American spybase, commended for its service during America’s wars, calling Blair a poodle, wearing his outrageous colours and T-shirts, far-removed from the charcoal suits of the politicians (or the police force). Ray wouldn’t bow down to them or play their silly games of who to vote for.
But he did want a different society; one which looked after those who need it; one where riches were spread through the community; one in harmony with the earth; one where even the lowliest animals were respected and, in his case, never eaten; one which never went to war and certainly would not lie itself into one; one where countries looked after their citizens first and even looked out for each other’s citizens; a just world, a sustainable world where we learned where the boundaries were, where we made our own energy and not take other people’s. He could never see it happening though because he knew how wealth, greed and power subvert people.
But he never really gave up hope.
And neither do we.