(Photo by Lucy North/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Twitter gave me a voice, that I really didn’t know I had. Being on the left and a Corbyn supporter for the last three years, has been a painful journey, full of paranoia, delusions and often a sense of complete alienation. No doubt that Twitter has been instrumental in bringing people on the left together to assuage those feelings, deliberately cultivated by mainstream media, to make anyone who challenges existing systems that they are alone, and will always be outsiders.

One of Corbyn’s greatest, and often unrecognised achievements is that he bought such disparate groups of together .People who disagreed on many things and often argued about them , heatedly , but more than that, people from completely different backgrounds and completely different experiences. A critic often levelled against the movement was that it was purely middle class .Not only is this clearly untrue , its deeply insulting to working class people , behind it lies the classist assumption that working class people just aren’t really that interested in politics , or fighting other peoples corners. One can only wonder who they think founded the trade union and labour movements.

Twitter has been such a joy and source of strength to me because of the input from people I would never meet in my real life. Their stories, their opinions, have been invaluable to me, often reaffirming what the point of the often truly horrible, political struggle is all about. One thing I quickly realised from Twitter is my own privilege. Not only do I live in London, but I am at a point in my life where I can say in honesty that life isn’t the financial struggle that it has been for most of my adult life.

My professional background is in nursing and nurse education , after a brief stint as a care assistant in a care home in the early 80s I trained as a nurse, qualifying in 1987, just as the AIDS crisis was truly hitting the UK. My first qualified nurses’ job was at the London Lighthouse AIDS hospice. This time in my life, although a very long time ago, was a key shaper in my life .Probably one of the hardest times in my life , working in the hospice , but also having a young child and being pregnant with my second  whilst working full time and living in a council flat with no bathroom set my adult foundations for hopefully, being a person who understands a bit about how hard life can be. As these early  life experiences have shaped me so much and I am still committed to care , exclusion , public health , I have included on the page some media references to those experiences , which I believe are still relevant in 2020 .

I have been very lucky in later life, being able to walk away from a stressful career in nurse education so we could live as a family  with my elderly parents and help care for them has been hugely liberating and rewarding.

What Twitter has taught me, that I have something to say, but 280 characters isn’t nearly enough, hence this page, and that it’s certainly not all about me. My intention is that this page will provide a platform for the many, many others I have got to know through Twitter , people often shut out from MSM who also deserve a voice that isn’t  limited to 280 characters. I have included a pay pal button, the long-term plan being that people will feel that the page is worth donating a few £s to support. Any funds generated will be used to commission other new voices, who deserve to be paid for their efforts. It’s important to me that they should be given a chance to write about whatever they want, just as I will. If people I approach who I have got to know though left Twitter want to use that opportunity to write about rugby or ancient Greece, that’s their choice.  By supporting this page, you will supporting opportunities to the many, not the few, to have a space   to express themselves, time to do so some reading and research if they desire, or write about  their own personal experiences

I have identified my politics , which are clearly a big part of my life , but one thing I’m  going to say about the last three years and Twitter is that I’ve never wanted to be defined as just a leftie Corbyn supporter. Again , my hope for this page is that people , like myself who identify as left leaning will be able to have a space where they can express their thoughts , opinions ideas , way beyond the narrow confines of their politics . I am extremely interested in many things beyond socialist theory, art, films, travel, and why not? We ask not just for bread, but roses too.

On a house keeping note, I am not a writer, and am extremely nervous about my written efforts, so be kind. Therefore, at least initially, I haven’t included a comments section, although I welcome constructive comments through email. It’s only when you try and write something longer than a tweet that you realise just how hard it is, and frankly terrifying. Again, it’s really important that writing isn’t seen as an exclusive and elite activity, we need to support people to express themselves, always be kind. The first few pieces on the page are written by me, hopefully this will generate some interest and a more diverse range of subjects will evolve

Lastly, a huge thanks to my daughter, Isabella Dray, who built this page for me, and without whose support and encouragement I would   never have realised my dream.

Lighthouse Interview