People make choices about what kind of things they want to be part of. Groups that reflect their community, background, interests and outlook on the world. Some of them are by their own choice - some of them aren't. Some people join the Labour Party because their parents were members and because of long-running family traditions. Others because of single issues; whether it be human rights and the NHS just to name two. Or their individual beliefs and an attempt to play your part and make Britain - and the world - a better place to grow up and live. Progressivism. But whatever it is, there are all the reasons in the world to respect people's choices, views and values. But so too to recognise why someone might leave. That's the decision I've taken today.
Leaving the party
People choose where to draw the line in the sand when their associations no longer reflect their values.
Maybe it was something someone said or did. Something they believe. The way they acted.
After nine years, lots of campaigning, hours and hours and hours of work, some great friends, some great opportunities, some dark and some light days, today, I've decided to part company with The Labour Party.
It’s been a protracted self-assessment, or renegotiation if you like, in my own head. About whether I can really keep trying to square the circle. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer can.
This is where I draw my line in the sand.
This is not the politics of hope.
When I joined Labour, back in 2007, it was meant to be rediscovering its roots. Not just historically - but also rediscovering its purpose in government. Refreshed. Renewed.
I joined Labour after Blair departed office. I felt buoyed by Gordon Brown's succession - although I didn't think he was the best choice, he was the only choice. It felt like perhaps the infighting, the two sides, might finally move on. Naivety on my part perhaps, and optimism quickly turned sour when it was obvious we were going to continue the way we'd been going. And then the financial crisis happened. The generation defining moment - that would change politics and Labour for decades. A moment for Gordo to shine. Temporarily.
It has been Labour's response to that crisis, first, and throughout the changing threats in the world and the so-called 'War on Terror', second, that has floored the party's reasoning and reactions. But worse than that - it has made it self-righteous. Self-righteous on both sides that is (clouded judgement, inability to reason or negotiate). And throughout it all - trashing Labour for no reason from all sides.
Iraq, now the Middle East in general and particular ISIS, then debt and public spending have proved a distraction and ended any hope of Labour talking about issues on the ground.
Just yesterday I read an article about how much London changed under a Labour government and a Labour mayor. Young disadvantaged BME kids are now outperforming their white peers all over the country. The picture painted by the left is the total opposite - that Labour left them behind. It's just not true. But where's Ken? Talking about nuclear weapons, again.
You see it's not actually the policies or the platform of the left that's particularly the problem. In fact, if Jeremy and his crony gang just went on to preach the 'politics of optimism and hope' that people were promised then we would, of course, still lose - but lose with our heads held up high. Something to actually believe in. In belief - imagination - only, but belief nonetheless.
But that's not the case. We don't have the 'politics of hope' - we've been given the politics of Trident and distraction. But mainly of loathing and fear.
Bernie Sanders, we are not.
Labour has become the Republican right - a party which mobilises superficially through scaremongering and piggybacking issues and causes. This isn't a genuine movement for change.
It's not that we want a nuclear free world, it's that ‘Tories are evil fascists who want to bomb people and we must rid Britain of Conservatives’.
Labour hasn't rediscovered its purpose - but it has found a new one. Betraying the very values it was built on. This new party - built on hatred of Tories rather than a desire to change the country - cannot be a sustainable political party. Particularly when people actually vote Tory.
Clement Attlee didn't come to power on hatred or sidelining Conservatives, he worked with them to save Britain and the world from evil and fascism, and went on to deliver a truly radical government.
He's probably a Tory now too though - as is Wilson no doubt. What an establishment prick.
(Better not mention Tony.)
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama built a politics of optimism and excitement. Whilst most recently Justin Trudeau actively told his supporters to see Conservatives as their neighbours, not their enemy.
Corbyn and his crew don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as any of these political leaders. Corbyn can't lead his supporters, let alone his party. God forbid our country. His activists aren't even bothered about leading their communities - they just shout and 'organise' aka - stab in the back and preach a perverted politics that blurs the lines between challenge and harassment and legitimate protest and anti-semitism.
The rest of the wet fish cabinet (save Hilary Benn), should realise they'll be going the same way when the whole thing comes crashing down, no matter how long it takes. Today, for example, Andy Burnham, in that fresh new politics abstains on a bill that the Labour left would be in uproar about, save for Corbyn being a mute in the leadership.
This cabinet - and this party - will lose, again, and Britain will be worse off.
And that was still enough for me to be part of it. Nine years.
But now? These supporters and the leadership have gone too far. They're just simply people I no longer want to be around.
The hatred they have for some people who don't deserve it is stunning. And yet their love for people who will eventually turn around and stab them in the back is fascinating.
David Cameron is not a fascist. Corbynistas are not being shot and killed or locked away in prison. You just can't win an election. Big difference.
But they genuinely believe this nonsense.
And the petty bitching and in-fighting and, more seriously, bullying is far worse now than it ever was under the new Labour years. And yet somehow that is now acceptable because it's apparently left-wing bullying and harassment. Everyone else in the country sees no difference and it's time Labour came round to their way of thinking.
Through all of that, I was still in. I kept slogging.
But there's always one final straw. The one that pushes you over the edge.
Antisemitism in the Labour Party is real, abhorrent and unacceptable. That's not an attack - it's just a fact.
I came to learn about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. People, and some now MPs, taught me that you don't need to hate Israel to be pro-Palestinian. That hatred itself is the problem.
One expulsion won't end that culture.
No amount of campaigning or plotting will either.
The reasoning I’ve come to is that in fact it is this leadership - that just like Trump in the states, has blissfully allowed this resentment to grow and grow - that has to change, and it has to change the purpose of the party otherwise it will find very quickly that movements of fear die quicker and harder than missions of hope and optimism.
This isn’t just ridding Labour of its new found self-righteous bullying and hate-filled politics of envy and the past, but about finally putting the party on a path back to power after 11 years of wandering into the wilderness.
But this hatred stuff isn't going away unless people do something about it.
Yet, there is no sign of that - the hatred just keeps growing and growing and growing both in real life and online. Because it's acceptable now, to just hate everything. That's the new line.
It is impossible to challenge this stuff in the party until something changes. That won’t come from the grassroots - someone has to be willing to lead.
That has been the problem for some 11 years. A lack of real leadership, vision and compelling truth-telling.
If Labour was just naive I'd stay. I think we could all live with the disappointment of another four years of ‘hopey changey’ stuff. But it's not naive- it's rotten.
Cancelling a direct debit is hardly the thing of radical dreams and protest. But it's the only thing left to do - to starve this leadership of what it craves. It’s not much, but in my head at least I know I won’t be part of it.
But when it comes down to it, the decision was made quite easily - because at the bottom of it all I'd rather be a movement of one, than in a cult of fear.
The red flag does not fly here anymore.