Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two months after the vote:
from Lib-Dems to Labour

Has public opinion shifted at all since May 6? As part of a new series, we explore how feelings have changed (or not) since the general election. Today, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill explains why he almost turned his back on UK politics.

[This is a guest post]

This year’s General Election seems long ago now, I’ve filed it far away in the recesses of my mind, politics, in the UK at least, has lost it’s luster for me and I’ve now gone back to obsessing about American exceptionalism, female genital mutilation and South African crime rates.

What killed it for me was voting Liberal Democrat, as I did in 2005, as they represent (or so I thought) my views the closest and then had to watch the bastards power-grab a horrible little deal with the dreaded Conservatives.

But before I turned my back on UK politics in an extraordinarily tedious fit of pique, I did something quite dramatic: I joined the Labour Party.

I was raised in a very Tory household and as soon as I could I wanted to vote Labour, because it seemed to me the team in blue represented something cruel, mean-spirited and negative; features all shared by my Tory father. So from 1994 onwards I was a devout Labour boy and only when they broke my heart by getting us into an illegal and terrible war, as well as a catalogue of human rights infringements and a slow and horrible metamorphosis into a cruel, mean-spirited and negative political party (are we really turning into America with no choice at all between the Devil and the very deep, very blue and terrifying sea?), I turned to my ideological bed-fellows: the Lib Dems.

It seemed a perfect policy fit and with the election this year the golden bastards actually stood a chance of winning. Thanks to the archaic joys of our electoral system and also not as many people voting for them as expected (always a problem in an election) they were left as kingmakers and decided, even though 15.4 million Brits had voted for left of centre parties rather then the 10.7 million that had turned blue, to back David Cameron and his entourage.

Ouch. That hurt.

And I mean really hurt. And perhaps my hurt is irrational, flawed and riddled with an utter loathing of the Tories and everything they stand for and perhaps, in a stumbling through kind of way, the current Con-Dem alliance is doing alright (even though VAT increases kill us all, especially the poor and why some focused tax hikes on rich folk like me aren’t an option I’ll never know) but I voted for a party of the left, a liberal party because I was sick to death of Labour’s Tory transformation and my vote was betrayed. Where has the left gone?

And yes, I did just say betrayed, for this is a love affair and Nick Clegg has given me chlamydia.

So I decided to cheat on him with my old lover (this relationship and sexual transmitted disease metaphor is starting to run aground isn’t it?) and commit because I see no other options for those of us on the left to turn to, options that actually have power within their reach, rather than hopes and dreams. What use are they?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill is an actor and writer. He blogs at Blurred Clarity.


socialist sam said...

This piece stinks of tribalism. The fact that you were so ready to jump ship and hop from one semi-tory party to another speaks volume.
You talk about dreams and hopes for the left, but you are so ready to shun the Green Party or Respect or even the Trade Union Socialist Coalition.
There is no progressive future in the Labour Party. If 13 years of illegal wars and attacks on civil liberties weren't enough for you to learn then you probably arent that much on the left anyway.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Hi Sam,

Politics is tribal, whether you like it or not.

It's also very personal and I took a risk here exposing my very personal reasons for some recent actions.

I am only interested in parties with a chance of power, not fringe parties with far too many loons in their midst.

I have bad experiences with members of the Green Party and Respect is a shambles with dubious allies. As for the TUSC...sorry but they've no chance to enact any form of change.

As for not being too much on the left, you're wrong, I'm afraid but I am interested in a party that only has a chance of power and to actually do something.

Shouting from the wings, as you are, is as pointless as it is tiresome.

claude said...

socialist sam is a special kind of troll.

He's been shouting that this is "a right wing blog" for months now.

As soon as you write something that doesnt fit exactly within his specific ideas of "left-wing" politics, basically you are "right wing". Me Birmingham City, you Aston Villa, basically.

So to read socialist sam accuse others of "tribalism" is actually a laugh. Good grief.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Oh yes, now you mention it I do recall him trolling round these parts before, he is a far-left version of the patriot sin't he?

You draw some weird readers sir.

thepatriot said...

'course no mention of Labour's judas years. Right on, socialist hoffmann, right on. you must be the only mug happy to join Labour after they hit rock bottom. You must really love the EU.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Judas years?

Where Labour betrayed a Jew?

I'm sorry you incoherent racist, I've no idea what it is you're wittering about but I do love how much you like to comment on stuff that a) you know nothing about and b) pretend to hate.

You love me and you love it here you slag.


Stan Moss said...

socialist sam,
you also have to be pragmatic. Time after time attempted to form groups to the left of Labour failed miserably. Like, proper miserably, to the extent that the only 1 MP ever elected to the left of Labour (so to speak) was George Galloway in 2005.
Anything else, from the Socialist Alliance to TUSC and to Respect (above exception aside) always failed.
Feel free to vote for them, fair dinkum, but then don't come crying that the Tories are in power, you know what I mean?