Auto-liberal politics #4 Join up, join up!

Posted by RDN under Politics & campaigns on 16 July 2016

I am not the ideal person to enjoin the under-40s to join a political party, whichever one they sort-of fancy. I haven’t ever joined the Conservatives though for at least 30 years I have known it was the right thing to do, for me at least. Still, here goes….


I have posted four linked posts on what bright, educated, nice, liberal-minded and especially young voters ought to do instead of feeling disquiet about Brexit, the disaffected white working class, and the Tories.  This is #4.

Auto-liberal politics #4 Join up, join up!
I have argued elsewhere that the Conservative Party is an entirely respectable and decent force in the world. Indeed, by being economically realistic and not prone to pandering to victimhood, it is the party of national success and vitality. It is no longer the Nasty Party, if it ever was, and it is now led by a woman who put her career on the line by insisting that it must transform itself so that people would stop calling it by that sort of name.

I have argued elsewhere that the members of the two main political parties now wield quite a lot of power. It follows that it is worthwhile becoming such a member; and maybe there is an obligation to join in order to do one’s bit to influence one’s chosen party in the right direction.

You may say that people who don’t even vote will hardly be likely to join a party. But one could put it another way: by knowing nothing of the reality of a party, any party, many voters deprive themselves of the means of taking an interest in elections. They also deprive themselves of finding that at least some party members strike a sympathetc note with them.

I think many young people feel that they have little connection to Westminster whilst resisting the effort of making the obvious first connection to it: that is, through the local structures of the parties. So one could argue that joining a party ought to be considered as the first, tentative step toward being a democrat.

It is possible or likely that young people feel that one must be a thorough-going ideologue of left or right to join a party. But that is the more true the more local people make the mistake of abandoning politics to the diehards in the constituences. Successful political parties are broad churches. That makes them “spaces” of compromise and even necessary dissembling. The narrower they become, the more they are seen to be ugly hotbeds of fanaticism or reservoirs of smugness. So why not join a party, however sceptically, and make the thing less ideological (or more, if that’s your fancy)?

Very probably anyone who thinks that it is time they took politics and current affairs seriously (and how else is one to begin to serve democracy?) should pay up and join a party. If close proximity demonstrates that one doesn’t like it much, then there are options. Transform it, or join another. Or start one. Or sponsor an in independent. Representative Democracy was never more wide open than it is now.


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