It took me a while to figure out why Malcolm was quoting this. After all it didn't seem to me to be a ringing endorsement. Then I began to realise where he might be coming from. The person he quoted was part of his tribe. So it was OK for the voter to be fed up with everything and everyone. So long as he was going to go down to the ballot box and do "the right thing" then the world was in the right place and the public was prepared to forgive and forget.
This type of thinking worries me badly. People are fed up with politicians for a number of reasons. One of them is precisely the kind of tribalism that this Labour voter showed. If a Prime Minister tells you that you must trust him because he has seen crystal clear evidence that there are weapons of mass destruction and so we must invade Iraq, then that is a very serious thing. It involves sending young men and women into very dangerous places and means that people will get killed. When it turns out that there were no weapons of mass destruction and our invasion cost lives in order to create chaos and destruction then we are entitled to lose trust in all our politicians. But we are also justified in losing trust in the members of the party that was responsible for that war. It shouldn't make any difference what label those politicians carry. If they were in any way associated with the decision - either in voting for it or in cheering the leader who took us into that war then they deserve that lack of trust.
When a Prime Minister stands up and tells you that he has fixed the economy and he has put an end to boom and bust and established stable growth then that is also a very serious thing. If true that politician deserves the respect and admiration of all of us. When it turns out to be a complete illusion and the statement is rapidly followed by collapsing banks, the worst recession since the 1930s and eight years of financial misery for the general public then what is deserved by that politician is a loss of respect. Those who stood by him and supported him whilst he made that statement and cheered him on must share in that loss of respect.
It should not matter that another party has also made serious mistakes. I know all too well that the Conservatives cheered on the reckless invasion of Iraq. I am well aware that it was the Conservatives who removed the regulations from the banking sector and that they enthusiastically supported the growth in city speculation in the mistakes belief that the free market can never be wrong. I cannot see how it lessens the responsibility the Labour party carry for leading the country into a huge error of judgement if it so happens that the other tribe were also pretty stupid. The best thing in life is not to be stupid rather than to be stupid with lots of company.
We need to get away from the kind of politics that says it is OK that we made mistakes because the other lot make even bigger ones. And whilst we are at it we need to get away from the kind of politics that says all good ideas must come from my tribe and all the ideas of the other tribe must be wrong. There are good ideas being put forward by all of the political parties in this election. There are also pretty daft ones - and that, of course, includes some from the Greens. Though nothing as daft, of course, as the Conservatives proposal to seize the assets of housing associations to win a few votes.
For me it is really important that we get away from the kind of politics that says "I don't mind that you let me down badly." "I don't mind that there was a huge gap between what you promised and what you delivered." "I have always voted for your label and I always will."
In my view political parties rise and fall. There is a time when they are at the cutting edge and genuinely acting out of conviction. The Labour Party was at that point under Keir Hardie and the early Ramsay McDonald. Then the party becomes part of the establishment. People join it not out of conviction but because it offers a good career. It loses touch with the people it is supposed to fight for. It gets beyond the point where it is capable of being reformed. There are still good people in it but they are surrounded by an atmosphere of careerism. A new party needs to come along and identify the issues which are of genuine concern for the next period of history.
If you, or anyone you know is voting Labour because that is what they or their family has always done then I would only ask one question. Are you doing it because you have faith that the Labour Party has learned its lesson and you are confident that it will represent you properly? Or are you voting for it out of habit?
It seems to me that the time has come to dump all political habits and to try and bring some fresh principles, some fresh thinking and some fresh people forward to represent us. The Green Party has many things wrong with it. But it is, at least, trying to understand the problems of a global economy and a global environment and to help us fix those problems. Better to vote for that than to distrust completely the party you are voting for and only do so because it is what you have always done!