Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Why to join or not join the (NEW) Labour Party

As a university student in 1992 I was desperate for Labour to win. Correction: I wanted the Tories out. We had an election night party and stayed up to the wee small hours filling in coloured squares on our makeshift results chart. It had seemed too good to be true to think that Kinnock could oust Major, and it was. Despite 13 years of Conservative government the British public could still remember mistakes made the last time Labour were in power and so a few glitches in the campaign were all it took to send them into the wilderness waiting for their moment to come again.

But 1997 saw that moment when a certain Tony Blair stepped over the threshold of number 10 and D:Ream promised that things could only get better. To be fair, things did get better for a while. Looking back to that time, I remember many improvements in public sector services, including health, in which I worked. I also recall one of the lowest pay rises I ever had. On balance those first few years were Labour's best chance and although they delivered to some extent they couldn't keep up to their promises.

But who would have known that Tony Blair would turn out to be George W Bush's messenger to the UK? 9 years on from the terrorist action of 9/11 we're still paying the price of rushing into two wars without any idea of what we were really achieving and how we were going to finish them.

But this is the main reason I can't support the Labour party: I don't think the party really knows what it is any more. There are some very sensible Labour back-benchers, and some of them make it to the front bench for a while before being squashed by the party machine. But on the whole the current government carries far too much baggage to be trusted.

Recent issues, like the Digital Economy Bill have shown that the party is more about big business than the average family.

To join a party you have to believe in something it believes in, if you can't tell what that is, you can't join.


  1. I've said it before and it still seems apt: the current Labour party has been in too long, and while it seems to have got some things right (equality / anti-discrimination laws), it has also got some huge things wrong (all the geek values of freedom as per RIP and DEB). ISTM they're simply reacting to whatever happens, not steering a leading line.

  2. Yes, I think the RIP bill was the first time I really thought electing a Labour government might have been a big mistake. It wasn't so much what it did as the whole premise upon which it was based, pretty much like the DEBill as well.