Matthew Cashmore is a blogger at thelondonbiker.com who has worked all over the world in research and development, and has travelled the world on his motorbike. He'll be campaigning in the marginal seat of Oxford West and Abingdon for Nicola Blackwood.
I used to think your politics was something you inherited, like ginger hair or knobbly knees or a love of Marmite. Growing up I thought your political persuasion was a bit like a religious belief, that you could slice someone open and see the word Labour or Conservative or Liberal written on their inside.
I grew up in the Welsh mining valleys where it's taken for granted that you'll love rugby, go to chapel religiously (if you'll forgive the pun) and of course, without a hint of hesitation, vote Labour. My grandfather was Labour, my father still is Labour and I was Labour. The whole community was intrinsically wrapped up in the party - the social scene was down the Labour club and the best cinema around was the Miners' Welfare.
As a child of the 1980s in south Wales I remember the wide-scale unemployment, the EU food rations and sharing text books at school. It's these memories that saw me cheering as Tony Blair swept into Downing Street. The campaign tune was Things Can Only Get Better and I truly believed they could.
How can someone who has such hostile memories of the last Conservative government now declare they can’t wait until they take power again? Simple, the Labour Party has lost it. The Labour Party in Blaenau Gwent – my home constituency – ignored the local voters and imposed an all-female selection list. The voters elected their existing Assembly Member to Westminster as an independent and Labour hasn’t held the seat since.
Why should you care about all this? Since those heady days of 1997 we’ve seen promise after promise from the Labour Party, and time and time again they’ve failed to deliver, they’ve failed to recognise the mood of the nation and they’ve failed to truly connect with a modern Britain. They’ve failed me – I’ve succeeded in life despite them rather than because of them, but more importantly, they’ve failed Britain.