#4 Labour, LibDem or Tory, 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. Still, here goes….
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 the 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 abandon politics to the diehards amongst their neighbours. Successful political parties are broad churches. The narrower they become, the more they are seen to be ugly hotbeds of fanaticism (or, in the case of the Tory party whose members I disliked whilst admiring its politicians, of a smugness which appalled me). So why not join a party, however sceptically, and make the thing less ideological (or more, if that’s your fancy)?
So I think it is worth stressing that anyone who thinks that 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.