Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Election Diary: T- 10: Socialism and Marching In Amongst the Saints

I often check the Dublin South-West local elections thread on politics.ie to see if it offers up any titbits from other candidates. It is, of course, erroneously titled in the case of Tallaght Central which covers parts of the Dublin South-Central Dáil constituency as well as DSW.

It's worth noting that the vast majority of posters on the site are members of political organisations and inherently biased in what and how they choose to post. But the discussion today centring around 'socialism' is interesting indeed. One poster pointed out that 4 candidates in the election - Mick Murphy (Socialist Party), Seán Crowe (Sinn Féin), Pat Dunne (PBPA) and myself use the term 'socialist' to describe their politics (perhaps there are more). Predictably, this was followed by the same old critique you come to expect from elsewhere on the left.

Let me make one thing clear - and I don't speak for anyone else bar myself - I am a socialist.

Socialism is the political tradition to which I belong, and the way forward for our community, country and world. It is a desciption I use on the doors when quizzed regardless of whether I think it will gain or lose me a vote. I put it in my literature, I use it in the media, and I do not shirk when attacked from left, right or elsewhere on this. Just as there are Christians in the Church, as Tony Benn often said, there are socialists in the Labour Party. The term and the traditions are not my possessions, or those of the Labour Party - nor are they the preserve of smaller parties or other groupings.

I'd love to post more on this but now is, perhaps, not the best time. It did come up again tonight on the canvass in Tallaght where I really feel the mood has shifted leftward amongst working people. The rhetoric and analysis being put forward by voters on everything from the banks and developers to the way to win on local issues certainly sits well with the agenda our campaign is pushing. I tweeted that Tallaght was turning redder - it certainly seems to be the case. Nothing I've seen changes my mind that three Labour seats are eminently possible in this ward.

Both myself and Labour are polling well on the St Pat's Fans Forum (where I go by the name 'Greenhills Saint'). I occasionally meet Saints fans on the canvass and a lot of them have joined up through our Facebook Group. I know we have blog readers coming over from the Saints site, and I know that many of them share my regard for Bill Shankly's old statement that "the socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards...that's how I see football, that's how I see life." Hopefully, we'll be keeping the football and politics separate tomorrow night by canvassing early to avoid the Champions League final.

Outside of work, it's been full-on campaigning for the last 5-6 weeks for me. At this stage, only occasional episodes of the US Office are keeping me sane. I really enjoy the electioneering and am honoured to be in the position I am, as made possible by so many around me - but I'm certainly looking forward to a long sleep and a lazy Sunday when it's all over!