I've never counted myself among their number, with the possible exception of a period in my youth when, owing to a love affair with France and 1789, I was a proponent of what the Marxists would call a bourgeois revolution. This, despite making me quite properly 'left' (though far from a montagnard), wasn't really productive of any agitation beyond some arguments in the pub. However, an interest in ways of explaining the world combined with what you might call my cultural context (Welsh, etc.) gave me a lively interest in socialism in its many varieties.
I guess what I really miss about present day political debate is the structure provided by the socialist systematising of the world and everything in it. This, with its class-based taxonomy, provided real substance and definition to debates. And because socialism was a religion of the book (from Morris to Marx) it was underpinned by proper, literate learning.
Now, the main opposition to the status quo is provided by environmentalism. As it stands in ill-defined opposition to most everything to do with the modern world, its debates tend towards the loose and baggy, fueled by calls to replace the modern industrial economy with something nicer and just, well, less modern. Also, as its theoretical foundation is provided by science rather than the literary arts (unlike socialism, whatever Marx and Lenin claimed), its influence on culture is not as benign. One can't imagine environmentalism leading to the founding of a host of self-organised, working-class science labs in the way socialism created the miners' libraries.
Environmentalism's innate lack of rigour in its political philosophy is compounded by the contemporary lack of respect for facts and disbelief in the objective that is the main legacy of postmodernism. An indication that po-mo pervades the mental geography of the culture is that no-one talks about it any more. It now channels mainstream habits of thought.
Nick Cohen has elegised the left at book length. He personally represents the best of what remains: a forthrightly intelligent, cultured and (perhaps, rarer) analytically reasoned interest in justice.
But where can you go nowadays for proper, class-based, old-fashioned leftist analysis? Aside from a bit of park-kick-about dialectics with the odd friend brought up in the Party (one of whom now helps to run the global financial system) there's not a lot to latch on to. However, I have discovered a blog, which, despite having a Private Eye-derived title presumably indicating humourous self-awareness (Dave's Part), does seem to talk in all seriousness about the working class as an historical agent in the class-struggle. Though posts entitled 'Iceland: What Is To Be Done?' confirm that we're at the farcical end of Marx's dictum concerning historical recurrence.
I do find reading this blog enjoyable. I guess it's rather like watching the antics of those people who dress up to re-enact the Civil War, but just from a more recent period of history.
*That is, the nice left. Not the murder-us-in-our-beds, send-you-to-the-gulag one.