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During the election campaign, I found myself the subject of an attack by a Labour Party website for daring to criticise Gordon Brown and for not giving the Conservatives a harder time before the election. Apparently, I had criticised the Brown government too much. I was told by a leading Labour activist that if I didn't have something nice to say then I should say nothing at all. Strange, no?

As it happens, what I've written above is slightly, though only slightly, different from the truth. The attack actually came from ConservativeHome, a party activist website, against a number of commentators who had, in addition to criticising every other party, criticised the Tories. Norman Tebbit (whom we were told "should know better"), and I (who presumably should not) were among a list of insufficiently loyal people accused of "blue-on-blue" fire, and ordered to "either be silent or gun for Labour".

It was a strange experience, because if you are not a tribalist then somebody trying to pull the tribal loyalty card on you is like somebody coming into your home and telling you you're wearing the wrong attire for a club you're not a member of and have no intention of entering.

It was also a rather striking reminder that for a lot of people, this is what politics is like — similar to supporting a football team, but perhaps less ideological.

It made me wonder why anyone should presume to know to whom or what I should be loyal, and to what I do feel loyal.

Having voted for all the main parties at some point I suppose I am a floating voter. This much-sought-after demographic looks with some amazement at our contemporaries who have decided to hold on to a party raft through thick and thin.

I wonder what they are clinging on to. One of the most extraordinary things about the campaign was hearing Nick Clegg talk about "Liberal Democrat values". What are they? Are they, for instance, interventionist values of Paddy Ashdown in the 1990s? Or the isolationist values of Charles Kennedy in the 2000s?

The same could be said of all the parties. What are the common themes of any of them? Perhaps the most depressing part of a depressing election was the attempt by Labour activists to portray the Conservatives as unreconstructed Thatcherites. If only, one thought, if only. A large number of people who would have been Tories or still are, now find that Ukip speaks better for them than the Conservatives.

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