THE BLOG

Being a Labour Councillor Is Just Like Being a Kardashian, Isn't It?

07/01/2016 17:02 GMT | Updated 07/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Because I am a middle-aged man and Labour County Councillor from a midlands market town the Kardashians have pretty much passed me by.

Of course I know who they and their global dominance of supermarket checkout magazines (and the Daily Mail website) are. But other than a predilection for giving their offspring names starting with the letter K and a collection a renowned derrieres (I read the Daily Mail website a lot) that is about as far as my knowledge went.

That was all until I came across the story of Kardashian stepfather, and Olympic decathlon champion, Bruce Jenner going through a highly public, and I'm sure difficult, gender realignment into a literally new person: Caitlyn.

Living her life in front of television cameras Cait will not have found the process easy, it's not a bed of roses for any transgender person, and thousands of words have been written about the challenge she faces. But it's her ex-wife, Kris, that I have found myself identifying with.

Kris had been married to Bruce for more than twenty years until they separated in 2013. They had two daughters together and although their marriage eventually failed in Kris' own words 'there wasn't a gender issue'.

Now, I hear you ask, how does Kris and Caitlyn Jenner link up with being a Labour Councillor? If you bear with me there is a connection.

Although I've voted Labour since I was 18 I didn't join the party until I was around 30 in the mid 2000's, that's right I am one of the very few who became a Labour member after Iraq.

Whilst like most people I had some reservations about military action in the Middle East I was comfortable that regime change that was needed, but that wasn't why I joined up in the latter days of Tony Blair.

I saw what was happening in the transformation of public buildings such as schools and hospitals, I saw the great work Labour had done on tax credits and minimum wage. I saw how a Labour government had opened up public services with Freedom of Information and protected us through the Human Rights Act.

I was proud to get my membership card for the first time and I did it long after the original Clause IV disappeared.

So, let's get back to Kris Jenner. She had spent a large part of her life living with, and being married to, a man who by all accounts suddenly changed, where does she go from here? How does she move forward with Cait?

It's the same as my, and many others like me, relationship with Labour.

Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the party Labour has undeniably changed, perhaps permanently, from the party that I joined, the party I've spent a big chunk of my life working for.

I didn't join Labour because I hated the Tories, I don't. I didn't join Labour because I wanted to nationalise rail and energy, or because I wanted to get rid of Britain's nuclear deterrent or because I believed our armed forces should never intervene on the world stage.

I joined Labour because I believed a centre left approach was, on the whole, the best way Britain moved forward.

My problem is, just like Kris Jenner, that I haven't changed - a huge part of my life has.

Labour has become something far removed from the party I joined. It's not necessarily worse than my Labour, though my inclination is that it is, but it's different enough for me to feel that it I don't know it anymore.

Moving forward the question I have to ask is can I live with what Labour, the party I've worked for and been passionate about, has become?

It's a question being asked by a lot of people.