3 April 2009

No Turning Back for UK politics

A few years ago I was quite active in local politics helping Labour in election campaigns, standing for the council myself twice and almost getting in once.

Since then I have become sufficiently disillusioned with the Labour Party to leave it and with local politics (as represented by councils) to stop campaigning. My beliefs have not changed but my political association has (I now vote Green) and so has my activism, I prefer to work directly with schools locally and to join rallies on national and international issues.

For the last few years I have been on the mailing list for Compass, an independent democratic left pressure group, but have kept at arms length and have not joined the organisation nor been active within it. That has now changed.

The spur for getting involved was the excellent debate that I went to at the Houses of Parliament this week, hosted by Compass, on the subject of No Turning Back.

The key points for me were that now is clearly the time for change, with the demonstrable failure of the market system, and change is possible by using the techniques of, and harnessing the passion of, the many organisations and people who get involved in community politics. What we need to do is to bridge the gap between community politics and electoral politics where politicians are generally seen as unrepresentative, remote, ineffectual and even corrupt.

I also liked the comment made by the Chair of Compass, Neal Lawson, who quoted the statistics 9-6-0 in relation to the 10 ideas in the manifesto for change in the Spectator article that he co-wrote. Of these 10 points, the Greens said that 9 were also their policy, the Lib. Dems. claimed 6 and Labour none.

The next step is the Compass Conference on 13 June were over 1000 people will come together to discuss and debate how we build a new political economy for the 21st century.

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