I’m a member of the Labour Party and of the trade union Unite. I have been involved in Labour politics at local levels for most of my life, and was a councillor on Crawley Borough Council from 2000 to 2004.
What I am not, however, is a big fan of ‘New Labour’, or blairism, or whatever it’s called. I am a socialist who prefers a small ‘state’, a democrat who favours devolution, and while I’m no pacifist, I oppose stupid wars. Unlike many supporters, I can claim to have been on the dissenting side against Blair pretty much from 1994. I was hoping that Gordon Brown would be an improvement, but while his policies are better, his methods are worse.
Being on the left of the Labour Party is an odd place. I can get along with more centrist members (quite a few of whom have drifted away from loyalist positions over the years), and I can get along with some of those who are in weird left wing groupuscles (who may be more ‘pure’ ideologically but just aren’t going to acheive much). I nearly left the party in 1995, but decided that the last thing that the only viable national party of the Left in the UK needs is for all the lefties to leave it – handing it to the managerialists and centrists to make a Tory-lite party. There are people in the Party who are trying to change it from within, to bring back accountability and grass-roots democracy. They have my support.