This week, depending on which colour of rosette you favour, may be something you have been waiting for since 1997 or may fill you with dread as you can hear that shrill, heartless voice of the so called Iron Lady in your head and have visions of striking miners and city boys with red braces climbing into Porches.
I have never felt more despair at an election in my life than I do now. My allegiance as most will have been able to work out by now is with the Labour Party but I have no enthusiasm for them this time and when in discussion with others as why we should vote Labour my argument, to me let alone any one else is half hearted as I know soon enough someone will mention Iraq and I will have no come back, no retort as it is unjustifiable whatever way you look at it or whatever excuse you use as the reason for embarking on the folly.
This attitude is so different from the one which I had back in 1987, when I had just turned eighteen. I campaigned with vigour for the party on the doorsteps, leafleting in the streets and having a running disagreement of the merits of the ‘Vote Labour’ poster in my window with my parents, who have never been ones to espouse their beliefs to the masses, let alone the neighbours.
Even although I knew in my heart that Labour didn’t have a hope in hell of gaining power, my cause was right, the Party was just and fair and open to all and above all democratic and accountable to its membership. All of this made the eventual defeat a little sweeter and easier to take as I knew that our time would come and we would be proven right and a fairer society would prevail ( yes I was once that naive).
Twenty three years later, I know that I will vote Labour, for an MP, who to be fair to him is not a bad constituency MP. But I will place my cross with a heavy heart, as no matter the outcome I think that we will be rolling the clock back to the early 80’s and hell mend you if you don’t fall into Cameron’s “hard working families” ideal.
Is it just that we get more cynical with age and lose all of that vigour and enthusiasm that we once had? I’m not so sure, as back in the late 80s I remember lots of people older than me who were still up for it, still idealistic and enjoying the campaigning. I think that there has been a change in people due to the disappointment that they have endured and also the anger over Iraq, MPs expenses etc.
As I said above I will vote Labour on Thursday as the alternative I think will be too dreadful to contemplate not exactly a ringing endorsement for the party which I once had such high hopes that is.
I’m not sure how it will be possible to re-engage people in Politics. Certainly nothing I have seen over the last three weeks has made me more enthusiastic about the next parliament, especially not Nick Clegg and his I’m different from the other two, it is easy to say popular things when you have absolutely no chance of being able to implement them.
Electoral reform as we have up here in the Scottish Parliament may be the way ahead but first you will have to get the buy in from Labour and the Tories and as they say, turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
Aztec Camera – The Red Flag