I met my friend Stephen for coffee (actually sparkling water with lime) the other morning to talk about some impactful work that we might want to do together and I found myself echoing some opinions (about myself) that I had repeated to friends before.
I struggle with politics.
I struggle because in my old age I have shed the trend in my family to become increasingly right-wing and instead have become solidly in the “progressive Left” camp.
I find myself being increasingly impatient with the needless compromises of our politics and I find myself unwilling to shake the hands of elected representatives who are standing in the way of progress (and by this I mean the unwillingness to bring the province in line with the rest of the UK in, for instance, a 40 year old law on female reproductive decisions.). How can I shake hands with these people if the things that should be the most basic in our society (that a woman is entitled to equality of opportunity and independence) is denied by them?
I’ve come out strongly in the Remain (in the EU) campaign not because I am a particular Europhile but because I want to maintain the ability to travel freely in the countries nearby (and as I just had to fill out another ESTA, I’d like to reduce or avoid that necessity in future for popping to France or Spain). I want to be able to get out-of-season fruit (despite their environmental impact) and have reduced costs of mobile roaming (something the EC Digital Commissioner has been very successful with). These are little, selfish things, but they are the things that really matter to me about Europe.
But, I wonder if I am too extreme for politics or not extreme enough. Where should I hang my hat. – as a progressive Left independent/activist or as a member of one of the Lefty parties. I’m arrogant enough to believe that I should be wooed and yet I feel pretty much pushed away by most. I don’t need a red carpet or to be bought a pint, but I need to see some rhetoric from them that I agree with. I need to know that the things I take issue with would be possible to address. And now, under three years from the next election, I think it’s time to start work.
My last election campaign had me walking the streets alone and not managing to cover much ground even though I expended much shoe leather. Everything was just so last minute and rushed and while there was plenty of grassroots support, it didn’t have enough time to be exercised. I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, goodness knows.
But is it time to try again?