January 26, 2010 4 Comments
Open Left, the project for which James Purnell is the director at Demos – “renewing the thinking and ideas of the political Left” – asked various types their reasoning for being left-wing. I had a couple of minutes so I answered the questionnaire. As follows:
What is it about your political beliefs that puts you on the Left rather than the Right?:
The so-called political surgeons are attempting to suture up the old left/right divisions, but the fair arrangement of capital, the welfare state and the public services are best overseen by those with everyone’s best interests, regardless of class. It is on the left that these values will stay put, where the right might only flirt with them for political gain.
What do you consider made you Left wing?:
Initially it would have been a mixture of two things; discussions with my Grandad who worked for the TGWU, and discussions with participants at anti-BNP/NF demonstrations (which I would attend before I had been politicised).
How would you describe the sort of society you want Britain to be?
One in which Government isn’t held to ransom by the City. A society that measures success by fairness and equality and not by growth. A society where information is not dealt to the highest bidder, where education isn’t seen as an investment but a right, where pension pots are safe from economic fluctuations. A society where the Labour party is the Labour Party again.
What one or two changes would make the biggest difference to bringing that about?
Firstly, to root out the bad wood in the Labour party, those careerists, rightists, and opportunists who figure the best way to win elections is to meet head-on with the Tories, then secondly turn our backs to donators who hold the party ransom for their own personal clout.
What most makes you angry about the way Britain is now?
Sidelining discussion for compromise. James Purnell hit the nail on the head when he said that Labour’s lack of debate on immigration put their political clarity on the subject in flux, and in impromptu discussion on the matter just seem lagging on the back foot. Politics in Britain, when its not in compromise, its contrarian, and this is enough to make any left-winger go red in the face.
Which person, event, era or movement from the past should we look to for inspiration now?
Saint Paul; he knew that political salvation was not meant to be for a select committee, but for everyone, regardless of race, creed or class.