Cheerio then…

This evening, Sunny Hundal, a staunch Labour supporter ever since he voted LibDem in 2010, tweeted a picture of me campaigning for London’s independent candidate Siobhan Benita. I can’t complain; it’s true. For the first time in my life – in 21 years of Labour membership –  I am campaigning for a candidate who isn’t Labour.

It makes it easier that I can still give Ken my second preference – but still, after setting up this website so long ago – I hope this explains my lack of enthusiasm in the last couple of years.

I have written a couple of things recently that might put this in perspective. This, on what will happen to the Labour Party if state funded and this piece on where the party – and Ed in particular – are going wrong.

Trying to put this a briefly as possible, I don’t subscribe to the idea that party politics is intrinsically flawed and direct democracy is the answer. quite the opposite, I think representative democracy is so important that it needs defending as a priority – but I am tired of the damage being done to the principle of representative democracy by political parties.

A Party is shorthand to a candidate’s values. People used to vote Labour knowing that, whatever the policies and whoever the candidate was, they represented a distinct set of values. These days it’s just a brand and the values have become vague and universal. Motherhood and apple pie values rather than something challenging.

I did want to change the party from within in the past but now – halfway through my likely lifespan – I figure that’s not going to happen. I haven’t had any impact in the last 21 years so there’s no reason to expect to have impact in the next. If anything, we’re in a worse state than when I joined. Put it this way, I’m all for egalitarianism but that doesn’t mean we should put the work experience kid in charge of the party – which is effectively what Labour has done.

And while I don’t believe even Ed knows what he stands for, I do respect Ken’s values. But the ego show between him and Boris just turns me off. They have both been Mayor and in neither case did the world end. The constant “Stop Ken” and “Sack Boris” rhetoric doesn’t speak to the difficulties faced by regular people, or indeed their aspirations and when Ken suggested the riots wouldn’t have happened under his watch, I just thought he was drunk or something..

I’m just a bit embarrassed that Boris and Ken are the best that representative democracy has to offer in this election.

So I have looked into the candidates and for the first time in my life, tried to figure out who would be best. And in this instance I found that Siobhan Benita’s significantly better than the rest.

I wish you could meet her. She’s charming, charismatic, intelligent and passionate and she clearly believes what she says. So I have decided to back her and have done some volunteering. And more so even than when I was a candidate, I feel like I’m campaigning for the best candidate by choice, rather than by luck.

  • Dave C.
  • LesAbbey

    I wish you could meet her. She’s charming, charismatic, intelligent and
    passionate and she clearly believes what she says. So I have decided to
    back her and have done some volunteering. And more so even than when I
    was a candidate, I feel like I’m campaigning for the best candidate by
    choice, rather than by luck.

    But will it make a difference Alex? Inside the Labour Party you had some influence. What is there outside? A possible Galloway type upset seems unlikely in this race. After this where goes Siobhan?

    • http://twitter.com/alexhilton Alex Hilton

      Nice of you to say so. Not covinced i ever did have any influence though  ;)

      • Anonymous

        Even in the good days or Labour the Wilson and the John Smiths Labour was not labour, we moan like hell about Thatcher closing down the Pits, Wilson closed down a dam sight more then Thatcher ever did.

        John Smith would have been a Blair, ok we may not have gone tow ar, but he was a changing labour leader, Blair was more interested in his bank balance, Labour has not been labour for years, Miliband is all about trying to be a leader, he forgot he’s in opposition

  • http://www.pickledpolitics.com Sunny H

    You’re now where I used to be Alex – annoyed with the party system. You say: ”
    These days it’s just a brand and the values have become vague and universal. Motherhood and apple pie values rather than something challenging.” – and that is what I used to think too! 

    The difference is that after 2010 and the cuts, I decided enough was enough, sitting on the sidelines, and joined Labour. It helped that Ed Miliband was running for leader (I’d urged him to run on LC in the past). So there we have it.

    Also, I find it amusing people point to my record of voting LD in 2010. Don’t Labour want to attract new voters or are people happy with a 29% share?

    • http://twitter.com/alexhilton Alex Hilton

      I still don’t get what you see in ed – considering you and i a pretty similar in our political perspective

      • Anonymous

        I am similar in my political perspective to you and Sunny.  I voted Lib Dem in 2005, Labour in 2010 to stop the Tory and will be voting Green in May with Ken as my 2nd preference.  It is also my view that Ed M is an improvement on New Labour.

        It is a pity that AV was rejected last year.  Voters would have been able to make a point if they were unhappy but still choose between the two biggest parties.

    • John P Reid

      But the point is that my Parents As Fans of Hugh Gaistkell still voted laobur in 83 despite not agreeing with the manifesto, yet ,you didn’t vote laobur in 2010 , and you want laobur to have the views that it had in 83 when we got 27%, we did better without your support in 2010, than we did when the sort of manfesto you wanted in 83 resulted in laibur getting 27% adn my parents still stood by  Labour in 83.

    • Anonymous

      It took a long time, but you have now realized labour are just another party who play the political game of power or opposition.

      Today i was reading Miliband s view of the sick and the disabled, and his view that the country cannot afford it any more.

      I just think Labour has lost it’s way I’ve not registered to vote, they said I could be fined £1000 well good luck to them getting that out of me.

      Change the name from Labour home to labour away

  • A Hack

    Holy crap. Paris Hilton is leaving Labour! Scoop!

    What? Alex Hilton? Who the fuck is he?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670205127 Louise Alexandra McCudden

      How come when someone leaves Labour the reaction is always this? “I don’t care that Luke Bozier/Alex Hilton/Dan Hodges (I’m predicting that one haha) is leaving Labour! They’re nobody!” 

      Labour SHOULD care when lifelong supporters, or even short term supporters, give up on them. Perhaps this attitude that people who reject Labour are somehow in the wrong and deserve to be yelled at/mocked/humiliated/insulted/whatever is something to do with why so many voters see Labour as arrogant, irrelevant, and self-righteous? 

      I don’t know who you are by the way and I’m not directing this at you personally, maybe you don’t always take this line. I’m not a Labour member, I’m a “floating voter” and I’ve just noticed this about the party. It runs right the way through to more senior party members. Just look at the Gilian Duffy saga for example. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670205127 Louise Alexandra McCudden

    This has explained why you’re fed up of both Boris and Ken but I’m actually interested to hear about Siobhan’s policies? From her site they look rather sensible but, for example, have they been costed? Why are they preferable to Jenny Jones’s? How would she gets businesses to agree to her “free London day”? Given that traditional politicians with boring or tried-and-tested or predictable ideas can’t manage to get them implemented half the time, what hope does she have?

    Also, charm and charisma are both pains in the butt. Boris has both in spades, so did Blair, so do the most schmaltzy dishonest sociopathic of liars you ever meet. So these qualities are definitely not on my list of things I look for in a candidate.

    According to VoteMatch I should vote for Siobhan – then I got Boris second, which is interesting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.a.hodges Mike Hodges

    Most impressive article. I despair of the many who will vote one way or another based purely on their blinkered adherence to one political brand.  I, as a proud member of the right-wing, have been happy to vote for various parties (including Labour) dependent on who I consider to be the best option for the job. That you are doing the same speaks volumes for your political maturity. I would have preferred to see a younger, energetic and untainted Labour candidate standing for the Labour ticket but that just hasn’t happened. Why? I’m sure there are plenty of Labour activists that are worthy of this role so why did Labour just stick to the same old Ken Livingstone option? Our nation needs a vigorous political environment where the leaders are held to account and the masses offered real choices when elections come around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Barker/1546990341 Paul Barker

    Can I be the 1st to invite you to join the libdems, we arent just a brand  & we are prepared to stand for unpopular things we believe in. Im sorry now that I havent looked at your site for the last 18 months, thought it was rather dull & ultraloyalist tbh. Will the site continue ?

  • John P Reid

    When I was A baby during the 3 day week My parents Informed me that all though I was Fed by Candle light my parents anger wasn’t with the Miners But the Heath Govnerment,
    I wasn’t old enough to vote Labour at the ’87 Election, But two thins struck me ,one teh Sun having a headline that Both Hitler and Stalin were Backing labour (and Peopel read this who were thinking of voting labour and voted Tory instead) and two, thing struck me, How bad teh Tores were and that the Public felt the Labour party in ’87 was more of An extremist party then, than in ’83, Even with the so called longest sucide speech in history, It was the Party Of Ken livingstone On the NEC telling labour what Polcies to have (one of which was almost to scrap the Police )Kinnock begging the Party not to vote for it, when it wnet through Red faced Kinnock saying it wouldn’t be part of the Manifesto, A party of the Loony left and An infamous Tory party election Broadcast full of Comments saying this Labour canddiate said the Brighton Hotel bombig was Self defence this Labour candidate saying the workers will storm parliament with guns if we lose, Ken Livingston saying scap the army, And all these LAobur M.Ps voted to keep militante, I actually Know of at elast 3 labour Party memebers who voted LAobur in 83, resigned their memeberships on the eve of the ’87 Election to vote SDP and we done worse in London in 87 than in 83′ Losing Battersea adn Thurrock which we’d kept 4 years earlier,

    The big Change came A year Later Kinnock wnet multilateral, We started t support teh prevention of terrrism temporary emasures act, Junior Employment spokesman Tony Blair stopped our support for the Closed Chop, Livingstoen lost his seat on the NEC, we decided not to buy back all the stuff the tories had sold off, and I joined labour There wa A nurses?ambulance drivers strike ,A dockers one and A techers striek I joined the picket line ,Unlike 4years earlier where Scargill had single handedly turned the public’s sympathy around from 1974. Now the  public were supporting strikers agian, There was Documentaries on kennedies Assasination and that If such lies could be told to the Public about eh Kennedy killing hten people would see what lies were being told to the Public by the Sun on Hitler voting labour. It was the Free Nelson Mandela concert, the tories had the Poll tax the NHS reforms, Section 28 and had sold COuncil Home sdirt cheap without using the money to replace them(we never bought ours off the council but My Aunt did) I started t get involved ,Of course laobur had lost the debate on the Economy and Unions, Bt was the fact that we were winning hte debate on the NHS win us the 92 leelction.I recall the fury the Tory press put at us on that Election and Devistation at us losing, I felt John Smith was too old to stand and would have like Bryan gould Or Blair or Brown to stand After Black wedensday teh tores commited one mistake after another, But John Smith just wasn’t scoring open goals, He even tried ot make A fight of OMOV, Where neil Kinnock scored Brwonie Points taking on Militant, I t was  Afight not worth having ,He tragically died weeks later adn then Tony Blair the Most Charismatic leader of His generation became leader, Where I stayed up alnight for the 92 Election, I went to bed at 10pm in 97 too tired, the Tories had now been proved wrong On APartied selling council homes dirt cheap without replacing them, the fact that crime doubled in the 80′s wasn’t due to teir polices on Section 28 the NHS, The first 4 years of the GOv’t would be dificult to stick to spending plans, And teh Usaul suspects on the back benches tried otehrwise, Yes Livingstone should have had A chance to stand under OMOV agaisnt a labour candidate (maybe Trevor philips)and Hopefully philips culd have been ourr choice, As I campaigned in the 2001 Eelction Tony Blair was heard to say (You don’t get it do you, If we win this election by another landslide ,the Tories will never be able to stand on a Manifesto of Cutting the NHS agian),With livingstone out of the Party and not even endorsing us at the Election It was A clear victory for New Laobur, Scargill goen and Bernie grant dead, Then Of course Blair commited the Great sin IRAQ, adn He had to do things he did’t believe in to get the Old labour vote BAck, FOI, invite Livingstoen ack in teh fold, after the 2005 elelction which was just a case of Holding My nose campainging for Labour as I was Appaled at the Tories Slogan “are you thinking what we’re thinking ‘s not racist to call asylum sekkers bogus”

    then A year into Our third term Blair tried 90 day detention, and It was reveled that 800 former foreign prsioners who had been released under David Blunkets time as Home secretary plus 200 more Under Charles Clarkes time hadn’t been deproted after their sentences were over, We had the Cash for peerages scandal and John Prescotts affair, and with in 6 months the Coup, Yes it was time for Blair to go and Brown new about he economy, But didn’t know how to govern, when Alistar cambell found out the Debt was growing and revealed that we would Have to Have “bigger cuts than Thathcer”Ed Balls tried to oust him,, Brown chickened out on the Election ,a Shame as he ould have won and nver recovered credibility and then we foguht the 2010 election Some of it was Good ideas (AV referndum, Fixed term parlaiments, Living wage of whch we since had,( Ironcially there were great things in the 2005 Manfiesto that were dropped, Changing the Abortion laws in Northen Ireland that Woemn didn’t have to see a Psychiatrist when Choosing ,)Women being able to set up their own brothels in redlight districts , without the fear of beign attacked ,teh police mergers among other things, Of course the bloke in the street is more concerned about the economy, but these are still good ideas, We have the Purple book, Helen goodman and Blue labour now looking at the German model of Bonds funding the NHS now, While the Tories have daft ideas on elected Police chiefs or NHS reforms.

    I was of the view that Apart from Diane Abbot David Milibnad would be my last choice for Labour leader, He didn’t realise just how unpopular THE GOVERNEMNT was, But then Ed Miliband in getting Unite Union to fund 85% of us ,if it’s policies strikes and members could be sleected as Labours choice, Would be as equally unpopular with the public, that’s why I backed Andy Burnham, Who tragically through his personal life put in a poor performance in the Leadership hustings, We’ve had some good preformances in our oppostion to the Gov’t in the last 2 years adn at last have A few good policies, But it’s till those election of ’87 and ’92 I go back to, Assuming we’re going to wing becuase the governemnts unpopular now, and I get criticsied for saying but stories of the return of the Loony left, With Karen Bucks view that “the toires don’t want poor people to breed” Diane Abbott’s nomerous statement’s, The Unite Union Or Oona king not being a better choice than Ken for us to have as Our Mayor.

    i only lookat Labour as from an London perspective I’ve freinds in Glasgow laobur and they tell me their disconcern but for different reasons, The 2014 council elections as we’ve more money to spend now than befor eadn the Govenremnts unpopularity could help, i Don’t know if LAobur lose the next election Ed Miliband will go, I don’t want to see David Return Or Ed Balls become leader, I don’t know if Labour will swing to the left and be seen as Extremist,or if we lose in 2015  they’ll be infighting of the Likes we had in ’83 when tony Benn said “Labour lost becasue it wasn’t left wing enough” If any of these things do happen it’ll be A shame as we won’t have learnt the lesson of History of why we lost in ’92.

    And No we didn’t lose in 92 Becasue of the Sheffield rally or jennifers ear or the SDP either.

  • HOWLERMONKEY

    Alex Just rember my comments on pissin in a tent.

  • swatantra

    Once you leave a Party, you rarely if ever come back. Some people try to claim that it’s the Party that left them, but that is just plain silly. People change as do Parties; they evolve, they change their views and their priorities; some things become more important and some less. Some stick with their Party through thick and thin, particularly through the dark days, because the basic values of that Party don’t change all that much. And that is probably the best thing to do. I don’t particularly like ‘switchers’ who move back and forth because it suits them.