In my younger days (up to about age 25) I voted Labour and, if pressed, would have described myself as socialist. By that, I would have meant that I believed in a society that was fair, with equal opportunities, no unjustified discrimination, which cared for the poor and the needy, and so on. Fact is, I still believe in all of those things, although as I have got older I have revised my definitions of things like 'needy' and 'discrimination'. The reason I no longer describe myself as a socialist (and would punch your lights out if you did so) is that in the intervening 30 years I have seen a lot of life, read a lot of history, heard a lot of speeches, and I have revised my idea of what 'socialism' means. I now realise that it is not the fluffy, caring-sharing, all-round-niceness that I
used to think it was. It is an evil dogma, founded on the principle that the state is more important than the individual, and that freedom is only one of a multitude of aims - alongside full employment, literacy, tolerance and an end to poverty - which can be sacrificed in order to promote any of the others, instead of the foundation and bedrock on which all other policies should be built. It subsumes the individual into the larger state, whereas for me the individual is the only thing that matters. Everywhere in the world that socialism has been tried, it has produced poverty, oppression and misery. By their fruits shall ye know them.
Wrinkled Weasel has an excellent post on this subject, which I urge you to read in full.
For me, Gillian Duffy's services to humanity have a much wider symbolism. She symbolises the rift between the real working classes and the absurd caricature of socialism that Labour has become. Gillian Duffy didn't defraud the taxpayer. Gillian Duffy didn't take us to a war on the pre-text of a lie. Gillian Duffy didn't agree that we should incur so much national debt that her grandchildren will be paying for it.Good stuff.