When this general election was called, I felt devastated. Labour were twenty points behind in the polls, and most people I knew were frustrated, exhausted and beaten down.
I’m an optimist, but beyond admitting that Theresa May seemed wildly popular and that I felt completely at odds with it, I didn’t know what to do. I felt outnumbered and out of step with everyone around me.
Ten minutes later, something else kicked in. Call it foolish if you like, but I felt hopeful. If the Conservatives brayed that they would get a landslide and finish us off, then anything we could do to counteract that had to be worth it.
Anything we could achieve was a win, and we had to try.
With each passing week, it has felt more and more like something wonderful is happening against the odds. When the Labour Party manifesto was released, for the first time in years I felt I had been offered a chance at the kind of society that I would like to live in. I wanted to evangelise. I wanted, more than ever, to see what we could do. Having something positive and so radically different to offer has felt wonderful. Like we have a chance. Like it’s worth fighting.
I have never known so many people to campaign, to organise and to come out as politically engaged, and I find that completely thrilling. And do you know what? I’m proud of the campaign that Jeremy Corbyn has fought. I have always been a (somewhat disaffected) Labour voter. Tuition fees, PFI and the Iraq war had meant that I had voted uneasily and somewhat conditionally voiced my support.
Losing the 2015 election and the Brexit vote taught me never to be complacent again, but I never thought I would be campaigning this stridently for a political party. I am proud to be a member of Labour now.
I’m not deluded. Even though it feels like something unusual is happening, I know we are behind in the polls and I am well aware where the money and power in our country currently lies. But I wrote this because I can’t help but feel like we have a chance, and until the polls close on Thursday we can try – we can try to canvass, to speak to each other, to keep hoping that we might change our society for the better.
If we lose, I am proud of every single one of us who tried, and 9 June can’t be the end of any of our political engagement or activism.
Don’t give up hope. Keep trying. We need you. We will get there; it just might not happen as quickly as we would like. But just vote Labour on Thursday, we have literally nothing to lose.
They have told us Labour can’t win. Vote Labour anyway.
They have told us Labour is dead. Vote Labour anyway.
They have told us our whole lives that we can’t hope for better, can’t ask for more, can’t vote for what we actually want for ourselves and the people we care about. Vote Labour anyway.
We are behind in the polls. It would take something spectacular. Vote Labour Anyway.
They tell us we are stupid. Vote Labour Anyway.
They tell us we don’t understand things like they do, while they cut money for our schools, and sell off our healthcare. They profit from their privatisations. They run the papers. They hide their money offshore and accuse us of greed. Vote Labour anyway.
They tell us to hate and envy one another. To see people struggling as weak and lazy. To see vulnerable people with contempt. To see the wealthiest with admiration. To abandon the old, the sick, the disabled. Don’t give in to it. Vote labour anyway.
They tell us the sick and dying must pull their own weight. They tell us the hungry are having ‘cash-flow problems.’ They tell us that their selfishness is natural. Vote Labour anyway.
They tell us the left can’t be trusted with money, as they sell the family silver and fill their own pockets. Vote Labour Anyway.
They have taught us every day in their papers that they are unbeatable, that we are fools to disobey them. Vote Labour anyway.
They have found every way to shout down and smear and suppress this chance. They will continue to do so. Vote Labour Anyway.
They have told us it is normal that four million children now live in poverty. That it is right that a million of us use food banks. That it’s not possible to change it. Vote Labour anyway.
They tell us that we can’t ask for affordable education, for affordable childcare, for affordable housing and a fair minimum wage. We can. Vote Labour anyway.
Know that we have a choice. This week we can choose to be hopeful, we can choose something better. They have told us that we have to accept this mess, this misery. We don’t. They have everything to lose, we have a world to gain. All your life you’ve had nothing to get behind. Well, now it’s here. So Vote Labour.
Josie Long is a comedian and writer based in London. Follow her on Twitter.