Reflecting on Keir Starmer’s mandate to “restore Britain to the service of the working people…”

red rose in bloom during daytime

As a long-time Labour supporter, for a while now I have found myself feeling disillusioned and politically homeless, questioning whether my vote even matters. In the weeks before the elections, I received numerous emails from civil society organisations reminding me that my vote does matter. I felt inclined to believe them but the idea that simply casting a vote is enough grossly oversimplifies the challenges and nuances of our current political landscape. This was made even clearer to me today as I waited with bated breath to see myself represented in Keir Starmer’s cabinet, with little luck. I subsequently found myself participating in an Instagram live session by notable social commentator and disruptor Kelechi Okafor as she shared similar observations. Yes, there are lots of women in the cabinet but even as we celebrate this diversity, we must never forget intersectionality.

Feeling overlooked and sometimes even dismissed by political parties can be discouraging, and on election day, I struggled to find the motivation to take myself to the booth. On the bus I overheard someone say they were voting against the Labour Party because they strongly disagreed with their policy on a single issue, despite the problematic nature of the alternative they proffered. A friend simply refused to vote. Not in my name they said because they believed none of the parties were in alignment with their values. Another opted to go Green instead. I felt disappointed with the Labour Party because I have trust issues due to their vague promises of major funding for vital services without providing a clear indication of where all the money they have promised to spend will come from. I struggle to believe in their economic strategy and their ability to deliver it.

Additionally, Labour’s handling of the Brexit referendum left much to be desired. It is fair to say Labour was a Remain-leaning party, however, there was a band of Leave backers in its ranks and it was obvious that the party struggled to have a unified voice on the issue. On the other hand, the Conservatives seemed very much in it together as key members of the party loudly and unequivocally supported Brexit. Labour’s opposition seemed lackluster, potentially contributing to the public’s uncertainty. This lack of a strong stance left many individuals misguided and possibly influenced the referendum’s outcome.

The potential implications of their proposed gender recognition certificates on single-sex spaces makes me very worried as the rights of one group of people should never infringe on that of others. I also cannot overlook the disproportionate treatment of Dianne Abbott, which made me question the party’s commitment to fairness and equality for all. In that same regard, Keir Starmer’s blind support for Israel and his dismissal of Palestinian suffering has been deeply problematic. The one-sided approach to the conflict, where events after October 7th are used to justify subsequent actions, while ignoring the events leading up to that date, has been mind-boggling.

As a Black working single mother, deciding where to place my ‘X’ is complex. The fact that this year marks the 96th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage highlights the hard-fought battles for equality and the importance of exercising my right to vote. Therefore, as complicated as it was for me, I found the courage and determination to go out and vote, recognising that my participation in the democratic process is not only a right but also a responsibility to contribute to the ongoing struggle for a more just and equitable society.

Keir Starmer reacts after Labour wins UK General Election – BBC

As the Labour Party emerged victorious, in his speech, Starmer asserted that “election victories don’t fall from the sky,” emphasising the hard work that led to this moment. Hopefully, he is fully aware that many voters found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, opting for what they thought was the lesser of two evils. For 14 years, we’ve endured a tumultuous era marked by the Conservatives’ disingenuous and self-serving leadership—a stark reminder of the dire need for a government that prioritises the wellbeing of its people above all else.

The mandate he claims to have earned is not a license to rest on his laurels but an obligation to prove that Labour is genuinely committed to addressing the needs and concerns of the people. The true test of his leadership begins now, as he must demonstrate that Labour’s win is the start of a new era of positive change and progress for the nation.

Change begins? It is time for a new chapter in which integrity and empathy are the guiding principles of governance. Country first? It is time for a government that puts its people first because if there is a lesson to take away from this election, it is that good governance is not only measured by economic growth, national security, and international standing but also by addressing the needs, rights, and welfare of the people.

It is becoming increasingly evident that our responsibilities as citizens go far beyond casting our votes. To maintain accountability from those in power and sustain the momentum for positive change, we must actively engage in several essential activities.

  • Joining or supporting advocacy groups and grassroots organisations amplifies our voices and allows us to have a more substantial impact on policymaking.
  • Staying informed about political developments and participating in public consultations ensures that we remain involved in the decision-making processes that shape our communities.
  • Leveraging social media platforms provides an avenue for raising awareness and mobilising others to rally around pressing issues.
  • Reaching out to our elected representatives, expressing our concerns, and making our priorities known not only keeps them accountable but also enables us to have a direct influence on the political landscape.

By embracing these proactive measures, we become integral contributors to a robust and engaged civil society that tirelessly strives to create a more inclusive, equitable, and just future for all. As we move forward, we can no longer afford to be apolitical bystanders. The decisions made by our elected officials affect every aspect of our lives, and we must remain vigilant and active in ensuring that they serve the best interests of the diverse and intersectional communities they represent.

“9 to 5” was the theme song to the 1980 film Nine to Five, a story of gender inequality in the workplace.

From the desk of the disruptor; a display of my aversion to conforming to societal expectations, my unpopular & often uncensored opinions & observations, & my refusal to be trapped by dogma. You can find me here socially commenting and unapologetically shaking tables for whatever it is I truly believe in. 

Featured Image Fact Check: The Labour Party’s logo is a red rose. Historically, the red rose has been associated with socialism and social democracy since the late 19th century, representing the party’s roots and core values. The colour red has long been linked to left-wing politics, workers’ rights, and solidarity, reflecting Labour’s commitment to these principles. In developing policies aimed at fostering positive change, Labour must remain steadfast in upholding the values embodied by their iconic emblem: unity, equality, and justice. By staying true to these principles and placing the wellbeing of the people at the forefront, the Labour Party has an opportunity to transform their electoral success into meaningful progress for all the communities that make up the country.

blue and brown welcome to the beach signage

Standing in solidarity and truth with Dianne Abbott

In the aftermath of racist and misogynistic attacks against Dianne Abbott, a Black MP, the inadequate response underscores the need to dismantle systemic oppression, urging allies, especially women, to stand in solidarity and address all forms of discrimination through intersectional allyship and action.

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The hypocrisy and inconsistency of international diplomacy

Raising concerns about the perceived double standards in U.S. foreign policy, particularly in supporting Israel’s actions against Palestine. Reflecting on the disparity in responses to conflicts, and emphasising the need for consistent and principled leadership in addressing global conflicts.

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