It has been a source of no little irritation to me over the years to be described as a liberal, a commie, a trad, a conservative.....among many other less thoughtful epithets. The one I most dislike is to be referred to as a left-wing Catholic, because this suggests that my politics inform my faith when, in truth, my faith has always informed my politics.
I am on what would be called the left of the political spectrum because of the drive to care for the most vulnerable, the weakest, the least supported that has been instilled in me through my faith. I never cease to be amazed at how often politicians enter politics expressing their faith and then allowing themselves to be frightened away from the policies that had first driven them through fear of upsetting their local parties, their whips or, most tellingly I would suggest, their ambition.
Don't get me wrong, some people truly change their minds but some, not so much.
So - this is me - a Labour man who fell out with them over their appalling views on immigration, dropping into the slogans of the right-wing ('British Jobs for British People' - hmm, where have we heard that before?), the Iraq War, their reprehensible treatment of Travellers, increasingly regressive views on criminal justice, a slavish concern not to upset the right-wing press with progressive taxation and a fear of taking us forward as leaders in the European Union. There is more but that can always come up again.
I am not a Liberal Democrat and won't vote for the 'all things to all people in order to get elected party' that it has always been and I am not in the least surprised to see them in coalition with the Conservatives.
So - I am Labour man wanting to see Labour return to its roots and to being open to those with different views on the Left and not being such a bunch of control freaks.
Socialist? Probably.....Christian Democrat? Only in the most general sense....Social Democrat? Not of the Gang of Four school. I am a Catholic Left-winger.