The Dilemma of the Young Socialist

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

In case you aren’t aware, my political views are rather towards the Left end of the spectrum, to the extent that while I’m not sure I’d fully commit to the label ‘Socialist’, I’m certainly not far off.

I make no secret, however, of being a Liberal Democrat supporter, and indeed I’ll be voting for them on Thursday. Despite their history and nominal status as a Centre party, they are now to my eyes the Leftmost of the three main parties.

I’d like to support Labour, I really would – the problem is, I’d like to support Old Labour. And I never got the chance. I was twelve years old in 1997, when a widely-grinning pair of ears swept into power to the tune of “Things Can Only Get Better”. And things probably did get better for ‘Middle England’. For the entirety of my politically-aware life, Labour has been New Labour. To me, it has always been about courting the middle classes, about image and spin and lobbying, about unjust wars and surveillance and mediocrity, and a bunch of laws that show just how far detached Whitehall is from the world outside.

They’ve drifted so far to the Centre and, on occasion, the Right, that I just can’t bring myself to show them any kind of support. Not to mention that as the incumbent party, they offer no hope of the kind of electoral reform I would like to see.

So sorry, Labour. Maybe if two or three Cameron governments drive you back to the Left where you once belonged, we’ll meet again.


Marios Richards 02 May 2010

If you want someone who isn't courting the Middle Classes, shouldn't you be thinking BNP or maybe UKIP? Or is it more a matter of wanting the courting to be a bit more subtle (court me, but don't let me feel like I'm being courted!).I'm curious that I haven't seen many people actually talking about voting based on policies - but then the only policy I feel remotely confident judging the coherence of party manifestoes on is energy and very few parties have bothered to actually give much detail on that.

Being middle-class myself I don't mind being courted, even overtly, it just seems like Labour no longer stands for the same principles it did thirty years ago.Agreed on people not talking about policies - maybe its just that no-one likes the incumbent government for a myriad of tiny reasons rather than any major issue, and a lot of people don't like the Tories for vague historical reasons that they're not sure still apply?

Marios Richards 02 May 2010

Don't the principles it had 30 years ago more or less boil down to 'don't court the middle-classes, court the working-classes'?Seems as if the only parties which can afford to actually have significantly divergent policies are the minor parties (or am I inverting causation?). If the policies of the three main parties aren't viewed as being significantly different I guess you're left voting on which one you like most/dislike least.

Pretty much. Maybe it's just my lack of personal experience at work here and actually New Labour's been peachy for those on low incomes struggling to feed their families, but my guess would be not.I suspect the cause and effect there can both ways, though AFAIK in the history of British politics Labour is the only party to have ever transitioned from a minor party to a serious contender.And you're dead right, we are pretty much down to a "which one do you dislike least" vote, hence mine for the Lib Dems. (Ironically, their energy policy is probably the thing I most disagree with!)

Marios Richards 02 May 2010

We want to have hand outs to the middle classes but we want to see handouts to the lower classes?Maybe it's like vampires - Labour became a major power by drinking the ichor of the Liberal party, the Lib Dems can only make it back by successfully diablerising Labour?I'm entertained that the Lid Dems who seem largely in favour of political centralisation (at least, with respect to Europe) are adamantly against centralised power generation, while UKIP, the violently anti-centralisation party want 50% electricity production from nuclear (ironically, their energy policy reads like a watered down, fluffier version of France's).

I don't particularly mind if there are hand-outs to the middle classes or not, I just don't want to see them at the expense of those that go to people who actually need them. I'm well towards the poorer end of being middle class, but I'd happily take a modest tax increase if it meant no more families would be below the bread-line.Political-parties-as-vampires is doing strange things to my head, damn you! :)

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