Politically I support a mixed market economy and an universal welfare state operating under a democratic social contract between citizens and their elected officials to mitigate the inequalities inherent in free market capitalism. Socially I am a romantic individualist who is liberal on most social issues with little patience for appeals to tradition or patriotism. So the social-democratic Irish Labour party should be my natural political home despite their unhealthy links with certain trade unions.
Should be, but they are not. Their record in government has revealed them as obsessed with 'progressive' diversity and equality policies while feathering their own nests through state funds.
Progressive social policy is very much a summer obsession for the middle class. Now winter is here and the middle classes are more worried about paying their heating bills. Labour gives us a referendum on gay marriage while my housebound 89 year old great aunt loses her telephone benefits.
I've written before about my dislike of the Lefts distracting obsession with equality. It developed during the neurotic youth driven fashions of the 60's where university debating halls reverberated with communist slogans before morphing into cultural Marxism once the corruption of the Soviet Union was fully revealed to all but the ideological drunkards. The children of the 60's, accustomed to high employment rates and well funded welfare states, became middle aged parents during the recession hit 70s, more worried about their pensions than the proletarian struggle. History is now repeating itself. Sociology departments are creating another generation of unemployable kids with firm opinions on the gender of the next actor to play Dr Who or on the attire suitable for superheros, who consider themselves activists by liking a few facebook photos but remain completely ignorant of economics and political realities. What was once confined to university towns and largely ignored by the same working class it once was intended to benefit, is now spilling out through social media.
Frankly, it's time to store the equality and diversity debates until summer comes again. The majority of Irish voters are concerned with the economy and restructuring the state to eliminate waste and corruption. Labour have failed, or are perceived to have failed, in any such reform. Worse, thanks largely to Eamon "Gimmiemore" Gilmore, they are perceived as part of the problem.
Winter is here and I am left disfranchised in the cold without a polical home.