I’ll confess to a residual political tribalism when it comes to party preferences. I’ve been a Labour supporter since my teens but my application for membership was turned down when I was 16 on the grounds that the party didn’t organise in Northern Ireland. Ah, well.
The politics of Irish nationalism and Ulster unionism have never held any attraction for me, so I went off and flirted with the Trots and others for a few years before developing a bricolage approach to politics. In other words, I voted for this and that, here and there, tactically and without passion or commitment.
Today, Labour (both British and Irish versions) accept members from Northern Ireland but I just can’t bring myself to join. The New Labour-thing, coat-tailing the USA in foreign policy and an uninspiring domestic agenda left me cold and disillusioned.
Was it time to go Green? The Irish Greens hadn’t covered themselves in glory in coalition down south but maybe that was a learning experience. They’d know now that if of you lie down with dogs…
But no. Not the Greens. Not now.
Because there’s nothing quite like a Conservative government to concentrate a socialist’s mind. And then there’s a shiny, new leader offering what looks like a break with the tired politics of ‘New Labour’. Time to get real and think seriously about party membership again. Get involved. Do something. Respond to the old tribal dog whistle. How did I ever seriously contemplate joining the Greens? As comrades are always quick to point out, the Greens are a party of the middle class; a single issue pressure group, not a serious political party; they have no real understanding or interest in class issues.
Well that’s all fine and dandy. But how come Caroline Lucas is visiting the picket lines today, while Labour leader Ed Miliband is unable to even make the most piecemeal utterance of support for people, many of whom he owes his political career to?