But Sunny do you trust the geezer [any politician]? You can lobby him, make demands on him and he can still ignore it
I did reply, but it’s worth making this into a proper blog-post that I can reference later.
As a left-wing activist I rarely do politics on trust. Politics isn’t about trust it’s about competing interests, and I wouldn’t just implicitly trust any politician if they got into power.
My default position is that the left needs to run a permanent campaign to get their ideas and policies into wider currency. That involves lobbying MPs, it involves grassroots organising and it involves kicking off media debates about certain issues and getting people to talk about them. It involves specific ‘targeted interventions’ (protests, flashmobs, exposes) to continually push a left-wing agenda and push the country leftwards.
As I’ve said before: politics is a permanent state of war. You’re fighting a constant battle to get your ideas and policies into the public domain and become established. And once they have, you keep pushing more. Or if you’re losing – then you keep pushing back. Politicians, by the nature of their job, have to weigh up lots of competing interests. The loudest and the most successful interest wins. My job as a left-wing activist is to ensure the left-wing interest group wins.
The mistake the left made (and I keep repeating this) is that it *trusted* Tony Blair in 1997 and thought their job was done. That opens you up to charges of betrayal and to disillusionment. I don’t get disillusioned easily because I’m in a constant state of war.
If I’m good at it – I can influence debates. If I do it badly, I won’t. I was part of the debate to challenge community leaders in 2006 and we won that battle eventually.
I challenged the Met Police’s Form 696 with a targeted intervention and they pretty much scrapped it by the following week. Those are two different kinds of successful examples. My problem is that the left, by and large, especially on economic issues, has been on the back foot for the 20 yrs.
The Left is a movement that has different, sometimes contradictory strands in it (the working classes lefties are standing up for are frequently quite socially conservative on abortion and such issues).
The key to being stronger is to find ways in which people on the Idealistic Left can work together with the Pragmatic Left to push the country leftwards. No doubt sometimes there are disagreements. But if the idealists think they cannot work with other sections of the Left, then they will simply be ignored and left behind. I don’t want to see that happen, but it’s exactly what is happening right now.
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Party politics