Martin Bright

Old Comrades Drift Back to Labour

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I have had a number of shocked emails from old friends on the left following my previous post here, which many saw as an endorsement of the Liberal Democrats. In fact, I remain one of the great undecided.

This weekend I witnessed some good comrades embracing the party of the workers. Nick Cohen devoted his column in the Observer to the thesis (adapting Chesterton) that "when people stop believing in Labour they don't believe in nothing – they believe in anything". Meanwhile, Norman Geras of normblog has published the five reasons he will be voting Labour.

There is much soul-searching out there in liberal Britain.

The Observer's brilliant but tortured endorsement of the Lib Dems came very close to being an argument for voting Labour. Will Hutton is, in essence, arguing for a Labour government with Nick Clegg as Prime Minister. While over at Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal is tying himself in all sorts of knots over his decision to endorse the Guardian's endorsement of the Lib Dems.

For the first time I can remember, the peculiar circumstances of this election mean that people are making their decisions on a very local basis. I have a tribal loyalty to the Labour Party, and, like Cohen and Geras, still believe it is the party that best represents the interests of working people in Britain. However, I also believe that Gordon Brown and his cabal never had a democratic mandate to govern this country and should not be in power. Where I live I have an exemplary Liberal Democrat MP in Lynne Featherstone, who represents the interests of her constituents with a selfless dedication and a local Labour council disgraced by the Baby P affair. 

Voters of all parties face similarly difficult local choices that cut across traditional tribal boundaries. The country, like me, remains undecided.