I have been thinking of late about my teenage years in the Labour Party.
This was not so much a choice that I made but a teenage rebellion. My alcoholic father was a communist. He used to take me to odd meetings. The only ones I enjoyed were their musical evenings....they were definitely superior to any other social event I attended!
He once volunteered to go out on Sunday mornings selling The Daily Worker. As he was never in a fit state to sell anything after Saturday night it became my job, which had the double benefit for him of taking me away from church!
When he tried to make me join his party I rebelled. I joined the Labour Party instead and it worked. He was furious but couldn't do much to make me recant!
My time in the Labour Party was great! First I was in the Labour league of youth and we met in an old building called "Cloth Hall" and later I became my ward party's secretary when I was sixteen! By the time I went to college at nineteen I had run two municipal elections elections and a general....it was all very exciting and it kept me out of the house most nights.
I never went back after college though they always got my vote till Tony Blair took us into Iraq on a lie....
The Labour Party today is so far away from the one I joined in my teens. Then it contained the people who were incredibly proud of what they had created...the old timers had amazing stories to tell. One of them had walked from Jarrow and told heart rending stories of the hardship involved.
My own grandad had been locked out of the mine he had worked at all his life after a crippling strike.
They were all people I loved and respected...
I do still describe myself as an ancient socialist now even if I'm no longer in the Labour Party. Its not far from the truth! I'm just an ancient God fearing old socialist which is oddly how my grandad would have described himself...
Politics like religion is often learned in the nursery and we adopt the same views as the ones we grew up with....only occasionally I suspect do we veer away from the common ground found in the home.
I have never found politics dull. I have always used my vote! Championing the poor and the less fortunate is always going to be central to my thinking and in each election I spend time rethinking old attitudes. Last time I voted Green. Who knows who I will vote for next time....I don't!