Sunday, 11 October 2009

Political Journey

 I thought I'd write a little bit about my politics.  I used to be a card carrying member of the Tory party, specifically the Young Conservatives back before they tried to rebrand themselves as a swearword.
I've never quite figured out how I ended up a tory, considering my working class background (my father spent many years working in Devonport Dockyard and in industry) but I did. I first became politically active around the 1997 election, taking part in the tory campaign in our school mock election, and also helping deliver leaflets.
Maybe I just have a soft spot for the underdog, I don't know. But when Labour won I was devastated, and began getting sucked in to politics. I attended my first committee meeting, and actually managed to avoid getting elected to a position (I wish I could say this habit would continue).
This continued through to Uni, and I became heavily involved with the Uni Conservative association. I met some very good friends, and when part of the group split off to form a Tory Monday Club, I stayed with the main group. And they say its the left that has problems with splitters!
But it was some time after Uni that I started to realise the Tories weren't for me. In fact, it was when I started working full time that I started to realise that, amongst other things, workers needed far more protection than they had. My early experiences were with private companies, and it was when I moved into the Local Council in 2005 that I started to really lurch to the left.
When our local managers tried to screw a bunch of us over increments and continuous service, we joined UNISON en-mass, and the problem was solved in a matter of days. That was really the turning point for me - actually seeing first hand what a union can do (UNISON has, and still has, a very high density in the part of the council I work for).
When I look back, I've always been left wing on a large number of issues - I've always believed in state ownership of public transport and utilities, and I suppose its a logical extension from there to general public ownership. I've never seen why private healthcare should have any place in this country - if the NHS was properly funded and looked after then there would be absolutely no need for anyone to go elsewhere surely?
Over the last few years, I've become more and more left wing - I think socialism is contagious - and certainly since I became active within UNISON in Feb 08 I'm now firmly entrenched in the left of the general political spectrum - although I'm not quite sure exactly where, although the Labour party manifesto of 1983 sounds like a good place to start.
I could write about my thoughts on political representation of the left, but thats a much longer post.

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