Left is right. Right is not.
New Labour; well that failed pretty spectacularly. Shock horror the mixing of Thatcher’s economics with a smattering of centrist nonsense about community didn’t live up to be a long-standing ideology if it ever was an ideology at all. The Third Way has ended up at a dead end and it’s time for Labour to retrace it’s steps and look back to it’s roots. What this country needs is a good, clean fight between Old Labour’s Socialist values and DC’s increasingly right-wing cross between social liberalism and Thatcherism. It seems that Labour has gone from the staunch image of beards, pies and trade unions to a modern mess of pragmatic ideas, confused economics and a total lack of conviction which looks suspiciously like the soul-finding of the post-Thatcher Tories veering from left to right and back again. Brown isn’t the man to shake off Blair’s image as John Major didn’t shake off the Iron Lady. Labour needs a Cameron; someone fresh and new, a total step aside from what’s come before, someone from the left of the party to give it a kick up the backside. Labour MPs will soon be jumping ship left, right and centre following Charles Clarke and Harriet Harman into the icy waters to make sure they keep their marginal seats by denouncing the increasingly unpopular Brown and this does nothing to strengthen the party’s electoral standing. There needs to be a leader whom the entire party and, indeed, the nation can get behind to drag Labour out of the mud and into the sunshine. I wish I knew who this was, I really, really do. It sure as heck isn’t any minister in the cabinet and it certainly isn’t Johnson, Harman or Milliband who seem to be current favourites.
All of this leaves me with a bit of a dilemma. I am totally disillusioned with Labour, I would never vote Conservative in a million years, the Liberal Democrats have never struck me as a credible party and a vote for anyone else is almost definitely wasted in anywhere else but Bethnal Green & Bow, Norwich South or Barking & Dagenham for Respect, the Greens and BNP respectively. I will vote Labour when the election comes (if it comes after my 18th birthday in June, which it will) but only because my local MP is a really great guy and anything, anything is better than the Conservatives. The pure fact that the FPtP system we use to elect MPs in this country forces me to vote for a party with whom I largely disagree just shows how much we need a proportional system but that’s a whole other kettle of fish and indeed another blog post. Where can I find my glorious left-wing knight in shining armour. Tony Benn won’t be here for a great deal longer and I need someone to replace his space in my heart. Ken Livingstone as prime minister would make me the happiest man on this planet but I feel that may not happen given his rather disastrous dealings with the Labour party and in London (I mean disastrous electorally not in terms of policy as these are two different things). George Galloway fell out of my affections a long, long time ago somewhere in between him taking a seat from a personal hero of mine; Oona King, inferring I was a Nazi at a politics conference and being a cat. There’s no real alternative to Labour for me, I want a party that is genuinely Socialist, one that reperesents a broad set of ideas from trade unionism, public service reform, public ownership, social change, enviromentalism and all of the other things Labour used to stand for. I need someone on the left.