I’m Jon Lintern, and I joined Labour on October 22nd, 2010. This is a brief retrospective of my first 3 months as a Labour Party member (and I must say it’s flown by).
Firstly, why did I join?
Well, largely for the reasons outlined in my earlier musings – I felt Ed Miliband was worth a shot, and wanted to be part of his fight against the ConDem coalition that is ruining millions of lives. I am a former Lib Dem, I am under 25 – I am one of the ‘New Generation’ you’ve heard him speak of. They’re not a soundbyte or a hollow concept – they’re real people joining Labour to fight against Clegg and Cameron’s wrecking-ball politics.
So am I still, at heart, a revolutionary socialist?
The answer’s still yes. It’s a case of priorities – I feel I can be more useful over the next four and a half years as part of the Labour Party, and this has to be my priority at a time when I see other young people and family members having their future jeopardised by economic fundamentalism.
Does this mean I like Blairites now?
No! But I’m more than willing to co-operate with them because they’re still 10 times better than Tories. Alan Johnson’s appointment as Shadow Chancellor still makes me feel ill whenever I think about it, and about Ed Balls’ wonderful economic narrative going to waste. Johnson won’t be there past Summer 2011, take my word for it.
Is the Labour Left relevant?
I think this depends largely on your definition of relevant – I have to believe that Labour can ‘come home’ to the left, even if it’s kicking and screaming. I’m not happy for people to vote for Labour in the absence of anything better, I want people to be inspired by our policies, motivated by our local and national leaders and become positively involved in politics.
What part can I play?
Right now, I’m a bit busy finishing off a degree, so I haven’t been able to make it up to Oldham East & Saddleworth to bang on doors and scare people into voting Labour. I doubt I’ll be able to do too much gallavanting of this kind for a few months. Once I’ve graduated though? Hello income, (hopefully) and hello doing a bit of gallavanting to help make those Tories sweat. We’ve got time on our side – there’s probably not going to be a snap election. The plan going forward has to be:
1. Win the battle for the economic narrative
2. Harness anger against the cuts and direct it towards the Conservative Party above all else – they are the ones driving these dangerous policies
3. Make Labour appeal to its left-wing base and a public sector that the coalition’s declared war on
4. Win the local battles (with either Conservatives or Lib Dems) by getting out on the street, knocking on doors and letting people know what we stand FOR, not just what we stand against
That’s my quick Labour retro-trip over, with a few of those forward-looking points to be expanded on in the coming months/years.