1983 - the Falklands election and the first time I voted. I still have my copy of the much derided 'suicide note' manifesto. Thirty years on it seems like a pretty decent programme
1987 - and Kinnock had already started the rot in Labour with his notorious conference speech attacking Liverpool Council. I was fully immersed in Johnny Bryan's election campaign in Bermondsey. Ironically the constituency covered Labour HQ at Walworth Road, and so whilst we were campaigning against Thatcher, the party appratchiks were pre-occuied snooping on us.
1992, having seen off the poll tax and got kicked out of Labour in the process, I was riding up to Coventry most weekends to help out there with Dave Nellist's 'Real Labour' campaign. Somehow Kinnock managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
1997 - and everyone was getting excited with a landslide for 'New' Labour, but I was left out in the cold. Even so, whilst Blair repelled me, seeing the humiliation of the Tories gave me a brief frisson of pleasure . I got briefly excited about the possibility of a new formation called 'Socialist Labour' but was this was then swiftly dispelled when Scargill's ego strangled the new party at birth. '
2001- and a new formation had emerged - The Socialist Alliance. But by the time of the election, sectarian squabbling had ensured that this had imploded. Even so, with no alternative in my own area, I ended up voting for them - actually the first time that I had voted anything other than Labour.
2005 - by then even my dad who had joined the Labour Party in 1946 after hearing Nye Bevan, had resigned in protest over the Iraq war. Locally, I had no choice but to hold my nose and vote for Respect despite the stench of their opportunist cozy-ing up to religious 'mentalists.
2010 - and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition TUSC was off to a fragile stuttering start. It was a great campaign in my area and we genuinely managed to transcend the sectarian nonsense that had always cursed the Left. In Tottenham Labour voters stayed at home, and elsewhere many simply didn't see the difference between Tories and Labour, and so chose the former because they had the good fortune not to have presided over the banking crisis and an unpopular war
2015 - again a very healthy local TUSC campaign was a breath of fresh air in a depressing atmosphere of austerity-acceptance. In this part of London, despite a totally invisible local campaign, Labour bucked the trend and significantly increased its vote. Elsewhere ... well again the Turkeys have voted for Christmas and even more have chosen to stay indoors and hope it all goes away.