Now that I’m finally approaching the end of my MPhil (first of many drafts handed in today), I’ve spent the afternoon pondering what I want to do once I’ve been freed from academia and let out into the real world. One of the things I’m interested in is getting back involved with politics, sad thought it might sound I used to really enjoy going to meetings and fighting elections. I’d particularly like to get elected as a councillor or MP, partly because I want to change things for the better and also because I think some, though by no means all, of the incumbents aren’t 100% committed to public service.
The problem is, I can’t find a party which has a reasonable chance of electing people and whose policies I agree with. The Conservatives under Cameron seemed promising at first, particularly on the environment, but I fear he will lurch to the right as the Tory home guard exert their usual pressure on the leadership. I think being active in both the Conservatives and Friends of the Earth might cause some tension too. The return of Ken Clarke to the frontbench though is a step in the right direction, and the promise to block Heathrow’s third runway if the Conservatives get into power gives me some hope.
Given my environmental bent, the Greens should in theory be my party of choice, and they’ve finally made some steps in the right direction such as appointing a proper leader instead of some half-hearted principal speaker nonsense. Surprisingly they seem to be rather Euro-sceptic, against both a European super state and wanting to stay out of the single currency, although I’m not sure how much I’m against the latter nowadays—it’s a subject I want to read up on. On the other hand, the Greens are a tiny minority party with no money and no MPs, which means electoral success is a pipe dream at the moment. However, in some ways that is an advantage as it means fewer people competing for positions.
As for Labour, well I’ve still not forgiven them for tuition and top-up fees, or their recent economic policies which have left me worse off in every single situation because I’m self-employed and rent and save instead of indulging in reckless borrowing. That leaves the Liberal Democrats, whose policies I generally agree with, though I think they lack the strong and effective leadership needed to make a serious impact into the other two parties.
The other major problem with all of the parties is that anyone classed as ‘young’ (usually this means under 30) is automatically swept into a different group such as Young Greens or Conservative Future. I can see advantages to this, but if I’m in a party I want to be taken seriously, not put in a corner just because of my age. In fairness, this didn’t happen too much with the Tories, though that might have been because when I was involved, I was Conservative Future in Bury—I certainly don’t remember anyone my age coming along to meetings.
Hmm, I think I shall have to think about this a bit more, as I don’t feel drawn in any one particular direction at the moment.