Tuesday, 31 January 2012

New Beginnings - Blue Blairite

Who am I?

I'm 26 a diversity consultant from Liverpool and former Labour Students National LGBT Officer and now proud new member of David Cameron's "new" Conservative Party.

Shouts of why?, traitor, crazy, they hate trans and gay people, careerist I have heard but why have I made the big decision to cross the floor and join a new party.

After joining the labour party in University inspired by the passionate and progressive politics of Tony Blair and engaging Blairite members such as at the time Chloe Howard Chair of the University of Liverpool Labour club I believed I was supporting a party looking forward working in a progressive agenda for the UK.

This support and Vision lead to me standing and becoming Labour Students national LGBT Officer, Vice Chair of the shadow Climate change Minister Luciana Berger's constituency (Wavertree Liverpool) and a regular campaigner locally and nationally for the party at local, national and European elections.

So whats changed?

The simple answer to that is who stands for the values I support has changed. Once it was Tony Blair's Labour party that held the progressive ground in UK politics supporting business and encouraging wider participation within the party. But now times have changed we see Ed Miliband isolating the labour party from businesses and isolating himself from the Trade Unions that supported him just 15 Months ago. We are facing one of the most difficult economic periods in history and the message from the labour leader and Ed Balls is "we cant make any promises" political speech for "we have no solutions".

Unlike the two Eds, David Cameron is leading the conservative led government by making bold decisions on welfare reform, education, health and imigration and George Osborne has been honest and frank about what is needed to help fix Britain's broken economy. I feel that although the conservative party have not delivered on all the promises they have made yet they are coming up with solutions for the difficult problems we face, they are working towards a fairer society where people earn more in work than out claiming benefits and the party is reaching out to businesses with changes in corporation tax, reductions in health and safety regulation and other measures to help give the UK economy the kick start it badly needs.

I have spent the last 6 months disillusioned and pushed to the edge of a labour party that just 15 months earlier I was on the panel of candidates to represent as a councillor in Liverpool. Since stating my intention to leave the party and Join the Conservatives I have been welcomed with open arms from friendly engaging and postive members, talked to inspiring MPs like Louise Mensch and really felt energised to get back involved in politics as a whole.

What does the future hold?

I want to thank all of the lovely Individual members of the Labour party I have worked with over my time in the party and also all of the conservative party members who have made me feel welcome so far.

All that is left to say is lets get back down to working for a "fair Britain" at the end of the day we are all in this together.

15 comments:

  1. Welcome to the caring party! The fact that all promises haven't been kept comes as no surprise. Talk is cheap and parliamentary time is short, what with all their long holidays. I wish you well in the future and keep the faith.
    Robin

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  2. Well this is something I thought I would never see. But welcome to the progressive right.

    Jane McQueen
    Employee of Press for Change
    (former Vice-Chair MMU LGBT)

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  3. You are very welcome to the Conservative party and I hope you will engage with Women 2 Win and CF. What really struck me on Twitter was the hatred directed at Blairites in the wake of Luke Bozier's decision. This scorn by the far left seemed to make an impact on you and I remember you tweeted that for you the rot started the day the Labour Party Conference booed the name of Tony Blair.

    There are many LGBT Tories and MPs from Ministers down to backbenchers; Margot James, Nick Boles, Nick Herbert, many others. We need progressive centrists like you in the Conservative party driving the modernising agenda and you will receive a warm welcome from your local association and the party nationally. Thanks for being brave enough to change your mind when the facts changed! That's what politics is all about.

    Louise :)

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  4. Having read your blog I wouldn’t call you crazy or a traitor although I have been a Labour Party member for over 20 years.

    I think that you always been a Conservative but you joined the Party under Tony Blair’s leadership and New Labour as the party then appealed to your ideals, ideals that many an old Labour supporter would describe as Tory ideas.

    Good luck with the Conservative Party, I hope they fulfil your ideals, but already I can see history repeating regardless of how they now portray themselves.

    Regards,

    Peter

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  5. If you see cutting the disability allowance, allowing 50% of NHS beds to go potentially private and cutting child benefit as the best way to make this country a fairer and more diverse place, then the Conservative Party are welcome to you. You must be completely mad.

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  6. TSD Pete, thank you for adding to the debate from a mainstream Labour perspective, which I would argue is now 'Old Labour' again. I think you're right, there was much that Blair had in common with centrist Tories at least in 1997 which is why he was able to win the support of so many of them - including me, temporarily. For me it was always social liberalism, economic conservatism. Tony Blair offered much of that. This is why I think TSD Pete is quite correct (and thank you for the courteous discussion) and very many Blairites will find Cameron's Conservatives a better fit than Miliband's version of old Labour. Tara is a great example. There are more out there. They want social justice but they also want it delivered in an effective way that doesn't hand a giant credit card bill to our children and grandchildren to pay off.

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  7. Mr. Whittle, what do you say to Ed Ball's statements that he will not reverse a single one of the Coalition's cuts?

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  8. Hmmmmm what a load of rubbish this blog is! You would leave the Labour Party? (absolute tripe at the moment) to join the Conservatives!? A party split over Europe and being beaten left right and centre by the LibDems? Nobody will trust your political judgement when you can just drastically change sides so easily...

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  9. Welcome aboard.. a few things .. we are not all rabid loonies who are all "fog in channel; continent isolated" although most are concerned about the EU. One of the astonishing changes in the party is how much open it has become - I speak as a disabled humanist! Yes there are still people who would like to hang and flog gays, but they are becoming far fewer (or have realised that the mood of the country and the party has changed). Tough decisions are having to be made over aspects of policy such as DLA - I am concerned that the cost of checking each claimant will be astronomical and that the actual amount saved won't be worth the hassle ....

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  10. Mr Whittle further to what Louise Mensch said about the Labour party saying the wont reverse any of the cuts made by the government. I think you are looking at the actions of the government very Black and white way. The NHS is a company/organisation/business however you want to look at it; and has existed in just about the same form since its introduction. All organisations have to modernise and move with the time, whereas the NHS has effectively sat still while the world has moved on around it.


    The proposed changes are huge and in general people are afraid of change, so of course people are going to be against it happening. But we need to implement the changes to have a health service that operates effectively for coming generations.


    The key bit that I think will make a major difference is allowing GP’s to commission treatment of patients. At the moment it’s a bureaucrat in an office some place that decided if Mr Smith can have his treatment or not, who’s not medically qualified and has no idea of the needs of Mr Smith. How is that better than what is proposed?

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  11. Louise, I think mainstream is more apt a description than Old Labour which obviously conjures up images of extreme left and Militant Tendency. I would like to “labelled” as Traditional Labour. I think we have dissimilar interpretations of social liberalism, with mine being completely different to yours and vice versa.

    I do believe that the Conservative Party will without a doubt revert back to “type” on a number of issues once the divorce comes through to end the marriage of convenience with the LibDems.

    I don’t agree with what you say (I do follow you on Twitter) but I would stand up for your right to say it.

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  12. Ms Mensch

    Can you spell out how the Blair administration was in any way "socially liberal"? For that matter can you spell out how it was in any way "economically conservative"? I'm genuinely interested in your answer...

    Charles

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  13. "the party is reaching out to businesses with changes in corporation tax, reductions in health and safety regulation and other measures to help give the UK economy the kick start it badly needs."

    "Reductions in health and safety regulation".

    Genius.

    And that appeals, does it?

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  14. No, "change" is never the problem. Everything changes constantly and change is eternal. The fact that the NHS may need reform isn't the problem. I'm all for frontline doctors and NHS staff having more say in how the service is run instead of letting bureaucrats dictate matters. The problem is what is the objective of such reforms. Is the real objective to benefit the ordinary masses more effectively or to further enrich those elites at the top? The fact of the matter is, we are NOT all in this together. If we were all in this together, then income inequality in this country wouldn't be so huge. As for the NHS "reforms", the fact that the majority of doctors and nurses actually oppose the "reforms" says a lot about what they are really for.

    I consider myself a socialist, but a non-dogmatic one. I would never dismiss a political or economic idea simply out of hand just because it doesn't fit in with my ideology. I believe in scientifically and critically analysing all kinds of ideas, but there are certainly some things which are never up for debate for me. What is not up for debate is my "strategic goal". My political goal is to have a much more equal society, and both economic and social equality are equally important to me. I'm not one of those more "old-fashioned" socialists who only focus on economic equality but not social equality. But while I am willing to discuss and debate the precise methods of achieving greater equality, the fact that "equality" is intrinsically a valuable and worthwhile strategic goal is something I never question.

    In this particular case, I think part of the reason Ms Hewitt left New Labour for the Conservatives is actually due to the transphobia she encountered within the ranks of the Labour Party, even though she didn't really explicitly mention this point here in this article. This is why for me it is very important that socialists put social equality onto the same level as economic equality. Unfortunately some socialists in this country do not, particularly the so-called "mainstream Labourites". The more radical "far-left", like the Militant Tendency/CWI, with whom I've had some dealings with, actually tend to be more radical when it comes to social issues as well. If you happen to be a straight native British white male worker, maybe for you economic issues are all that one should be concerned with, but for ethnic minorities, women and LGBT people, social inequality can often affect their lives just as much as economic inequality. If the left wants to attract more people to its ranks, it needs to change the image of "domination by the straight white male worker".

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