The Incredible Morphing Left
August 16, 2010
While I still think of myself as nominally left-wing (although my despair at the insanities perpetrated by both sides of the political spectrum is pushing me into being an avowed centrist), I am nonetheless taken aback by the sheer scale of the vitriol that has been visited on the coalition government by the likes of the Guardian. It reminds me of nothing other than the petty little madmen who haunt the comment threads of Daily Mail articles, spewing venom about the dreadful things those foreigners are doing to our green and pleasant land. There’s something particularly pathetic about the intellectual laziness of simply opposing that which you don’t like while offering nothing positive by way of exchange.
That’s why Sunny Hundal’s decision to join the Labour Party came as something of a disappointment. I’d always rather liked the standard of debate on LibCon, and went so far as to submit an article of my own to it last weekend. The project of providing a proper alternative to neoliberalism – a real contribution to the national debate – is one that’s close to my heart. Instead, Sunny has decided to oppose, giving opposition to the coalition as the prima facie reason for joining the Reds. This visceral opposition has been playing out across the pages of the Guardian since the election, and thus far has done nothing but attempt to downplay any achievement (witness the BBC’s description of falling unemployment as ‘unemployment has so far failed to rise) and hypothesise awful futures based on nothing more than that opposition.
This is not the left. Like many young people, I viewed myself as left-wing because I believed it referred to a politics of constant change, constant revolution – not vicious reaction against it. The left puts forward ideas, the right opposes on the grounds of their love of stasis. This is what I believed the political wings represented. This is clearly no longer the case.
I choose to remain radical. I choose to remain for, not against. I choose to remain a Liberal Democrat.