(This blog post was commissioned by Claude over at Hagley Road to Ladywood, where it is cross-posted)
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?