The fever of an election can do a lot to capture the imagination of the public to do something more. For some this comes leading up to the vote, for others its the glory of success or disappointment of defeat that motivates their political voice. For me it was the disappointment of the campaign prior to the election that spurred me in to gear.
Unfortunately elections are becoming much more about damage limitation and crisis avoidance rather than an opportunity to inspire voters with new ideas. Such is the buffoonery and irrelevance of our current ruling crop fighting an election is akin to whack-a-mole where the moles in question are errant MP’s prone to screwing up the parties chances with a misplaced comment or a misbehaving bacon sandwich.
The blame for at least some of this also has to fall on the media. Such is their level of support for a particular party, they employ a level of scrutiny never experienced in the UK before with a malice that goes beyond the sportsmanlike politics of yonder. It has become a battlefield out there, the vitriol and diatribe never tempering until there is a clear winner and in the case of someone like Nick Clegg continuing to kick the corpse long after rigor mortis has taken hold.
The result are parties that feel like their only option is to throw up an iron curtain of meek and mild candidates stripped of personality offering the public no policies what so ever and employing an arms race of media strategists, internet memes and poisonous newspaper columns. Some parties even attempted to do exactly the above while telling us they were doing the opposite. It seems in political circles there is a belief that if you say something enough you can make it become true. That might not be far from reality given the result.
Like most elections that have come my way I was struggling to decide who to vote for. I know my stance on most things and as ever its hard to find a party that mirrors them exactly. This perennial compromise ends up being solved usually on the effectiveness of a party to govern, but since the traditional left wing options this time weren’t exactly waving much of a left wing flag the choice was somewhat made for me.
The Green Party offered what the others could not, a commitment to Liberty, Environmental issues, social justice in a growing shell. Crucially it also exuded a little bit of youthful exuberance, is involved in passionate campaigning and has enjoyed some (if modest) success of late. Joining a political party was something I had never considered. I am a member of Liberty the Human Rights campaigning group but my involvement never exceeded a monthly donation. Why would this be different? Its not until you join a party and go to your first meeting you realise how close politics is to ordinary life. Its really no more than like minded people meeting up and chatting except we have some structure and organisation and we like to shout about what we believe in. Everyone has a moan about something while having a drink in the pub once in a while, at a grass roots level politics is really no different.
So here I am, I joined in April. The party was very small locally so fortunately for someone who loves to get really involved in things I get to dive in and have a go. Three months in and I have started this Blog with Julian, taken over the twitter feed and organise all our internal and external communications in the constituency. Others who have joined in the last year have ran for council seats, chair our meetings, run fundraising events and even our candidate only joined within the last twelve months. Things are moving forward at a tremendous rate and it just shows that if you have the will you can make anything happen.
As part of my commitment to this blog, as well as commenting on various issues I will keep you up to date on the progress of the local party. If you want to get involved please do, wherever you are, look up your local Green party (or if I’m being partisan for a second your local any party) and get involved because the negative politics that is so prevalent nowadays will only get better if different people get involved and make a difference.