“The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded.” – Bill Hicks
So today I voted in my seventh UK General Election. I voted for the first time on 11 June 1987. I have voted in each election I have been eligible to vote in since. I think people should vote.
Right. I’m going to say it. This election campaign has been as depressing a campaign as I can remember in the 30 years I’ve been voting.
I had stupidly believed that this election could see a campaign that was more enlightened and genuinely engaged with the general populous; maybe following on from the Scottish Independence vote where (regardless of what was happening in the rest of the UK) people seemed to reconnect with politics ever-so-briefly. How wrong can you be. This has been excruciating. It really isn’t any wonder that (if polls are to believed) neither the Conservatives or Labour are going to get anything near to an overall majority. Why would any sane person vote for giving a majority to either of them.
Both still obsessed with austerity and the deficit/debt, even though economically it’s bogus . This is fine for the Conservatives as it fits in with its traditional ‘small government’ ethos, but for Labour this is frankly scandalous. On the economy they are just saying we’ll be slightly less nasty Tories. Well how fucking principled is that. It is a party that has lost it balls [something some would probably like to see happen with Ed]
As Paul Krugman says:
“It has been astonishing, from a US perspective, to witness the limpness of Labour’s response to the austerity push. Britain’s opposition has been amazingly willing to accept claims that budget deficits are the biggest economic issue facing the nation, and has made hardly any effort to challenge the extremely dubious proposition that fiscal policy under Blair and Brown was deeply irresponsible – or even the nonsensical proposition that this supposed fiscal irresponsibility caused the crisis of 2008-2009.”
Rather than say, you know what, it’s all bollocks, they – like much of the general public – have been lining up to buy more and more snake oil. Our wonderful press have helped too. Always on hand to find a benefit cheat to hoodwink people into thinking that there are (a) lots of them and (b) that the money lost is vast when compared to other things such as tax avoidance.
I’ll be honest, the Labour party depresses me. They had “Britain only succeeds when working people succeed.” on the front cover of their Manifesto, and Ed Miliband made a speech where he stated “As Prime Minister, I will always put working families first.” The first basically says fuck you nonworking disabled and sick people, or anyone not working for whatever reason – you may have been laid off and be looking for work, for example. The second says fuck off if you’re a single ‘hard working’ person, as Ed wants to put ‘families’ first. All of it a huge pile of pseudo Tory wank aimed at Daily Mail readers.
Meanwhile the Conservative’s whole election strategy has dissolved into SNP scaremongering and pointing out that Ed Miliband looks a bit of a twat eating a bacon sarnie. I’m not a fan of the SNP, but this is scaremongering that is based solely on deception, or lies as we who are not in politics say. And frankly, it disgusts me. You would think from what some in the press and the Conservative party are saying that civilisation as we know it will grind to a halt if some members of the United Kingdom (UK) decide to vote for a Party that is legally allowed to stand for election in the UK. Apparently this could mean they have sway over things that effect ‘England’. I know how unfair that seems. I lived in Scotland during the Thatcher years including the introduction of the Poll tax, so I know what it’s like to feel you’ve been ruled by people you didn’t vote for who don’t have your best interests at heart. But, thems the breaks in how our ‘first past the post’ political system works. Britain is a parliamentary democracy, it isn’t a who gets the most seats in England democracy.
But they’re nationalists whose sole intention is to break up the UK, some say. And? In case you missed it, Scotland voted to stay IN the UK. Granted they now seem to be having a big old joke at England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s expense, but as part of the UK, that’s their right. And that’s the funny thing you see a lot of voters in Scotland think the SNP might argue Scotland’s case best in Westminster, BUT, still want to be part of the UK. Contrary to popular belief not all SNP supporters were ‘Yes’ voters at the referendum.
Also far from decreasing the SNP vote the tactic of scaremongering may actually succeed in making the SNP the ONLY party in Scotland with Westminster MPs, as more Scottish voters, conclude, fuck ’em. Like much of the ‘better together’ campaign, it’s all about negatives. The Conservative ‘Preserve the Union’ ideal sacrificed for short term electoral glory. If the Conservative win on Thursday, Scotland will become more, not less, determined to hold a referendum again as soon as possible and the vote next time more likely to be a resounding Yes. That could indeed be the ‘career defining moment’ David Cameron so craves.
“Ed Miliband could be propped up the SNP … If the Scottish Nationalists are in charge, propping up a weak Ed Miliband, the north won’t get a look in” David Cameron told voters in the North of England last week, pledging to close the to close the north-south growth gap that he’d done fuck all to address in the last five years when London and the South east had got even more prosperous and powerful. He’d also like you to forget how the Conservatives supported a minority SNP administration in Scottish Parliament between 2007 & 2011.
There is also rubbish like ‘the SNP will make Labour get rid of Trident’. Utter tosh. Firstly Labour don’t want to, and secondly neither do the Conservatives. Ergo, all those parties need to do is vote to keep it and any debate is over. But no, instead of that we have to ‘play politics’, as evidenced by Michael Fallon being made to look like a fool by Andrew Neil when asked outright if the Conservatives would or wouldn’t support Labour in a scenario where a vote on Trident came before parliament, by pretending there was any doubt in the matter.
And all that before you even get to: No top down reorganisation of the NHS … followed by conducting the largest the country has ever see. A party who then illegally tried to close services in a non failing Hospital Trust (Lewisham), to help it to merge with a failing one South London Healthcare Trust, and who then wasted thousands of pound of tax-payer money taking the case through the courts, with not one jot of humility shown or apology uttered. In fact all it did was make Jeremy Hunt change the law to allow him to do elsewhere what the courts told him he couldn’t do in Lewisham – decimate services at successful hospitals in order to solve financial problems in neighbouring trusts.
This is a party who say we have a shortage of school places, but have stopped local authorities being able to build any new schools.
David Cameron like to tell us it is all about the economy. But the economy David Cameron inherited in May 2010 was growing at 1%. Currently growth is less than half that, at 0.3%. The UK is actually the 15th fastest growing EU economy. Even the Office of National Statistics has said “The absence of productivity growth in the 7 years since 2007 is unprecedented in the post-war period”
The Lib Dems? Jesus. I do actually feel sorry for Nick Clegg. The Lib Dems and he were always going to be on a hiding to nothing by going into coalition; as any good done was always going to be undone by any bad. But, be in no doubt, the last five years WOULD have been much worse without their presence in government. The Lib Dems have still be strong on Civil Liberties, and any other half decent ideas they had have now been nicked by the Conservatives, pretending they were there’s all along. Clegg took a chance the public might forgive and forget – and some will, but politically this last five years has put the Lib Dems back ten.
And what of Nigel? Man of the people, ex city trader. Farage is a tired joke. A man who talks of the ‘political class’ as something separate from himself; a man who helped found UKIP in 1992. Yes, Nigel wants you to believe that being actively involved in politics for 23 years, and leading a party that’s existed over twenty, means you can still claim with a straight face to NOT be part of the political class. And people believe him. He is 51. Almost half his life he has been involved in Politics, but he’s not ‘one of them’? I think he may have been smoking some funny cigarettes. He is more a part of the political class that the leaders of the other main parties. As a party I can’t even begin to get started with them. In UKIP world it is always someone else’s fault.
The Greens? I like Caroline Lucas. I hope the good folks of Brighton vote to hold on to her, but too many of their policy ideas are still pie in the sky – although I do personally favour the idea to reduce copyright protection drastically [We’d need to be outside EU for that though]
It’s nearly over. This, I mean, not the election.
My favourite manifesto line? “Surveys show that young women are keen to have children at a sufficient birthrate to ensure the long term stability of the size of the population.” [ English Democrats] This is why we don’t need any foreigners you see.
When it comes down to my choice, I actually vote for what’s going to benefit others not just myself. If it were that later I’d have to vote Lib Dem/Tory coalition, as I am better off ‘financially’ (just) now that I was the day they came to power. But, I’m lucky because I’m now part of one of those ‘hard working families’ that the two main parties orgasm over so much. I know some people who have done very well. But I also know quite a few who have done less well. And, here’s the thing. I actually care about those who have done less well. For me it all comes down to Christmas. Which gives you more pleasure the act of giving a present to someone or getting presents off people. I can suddenly see people going ‘ oi, them on benefits are getting presents off us and never give us one back in return’. And, if you need one back in return, that explains why we probably won’t be voting the same way.
So I voted and you probably wont be surprised to hear I voted Labour. I’m not voting for Ed Miliband’s austerity light. He’s wrong and sadly lacks the courage to say it’s all hogwash. I’m voting for a local MP – Heidi Alexander – that has been vocal for the local area on things that matter to all its residents and voters, not just those who vote/d Labour – the hospital, the train service, local redevelopment. I have not agreed with every stance she has taken nationally – most notably on whether we should suspend fracking – but I like her personally and think she has done good by our area and, for that, I’m willing to give her another term in office based on that. I hope, regardless of whether she and Labour are in power, that she continues to be a cheerleader for our area. If my vote can also help Labour nationally, all the better [Although I am in a fairly safe Labour seat]
I don’t know what is going to happen in the next 24 hours. The Polls may be totally wrong like they were when the two main parties were very close going into the 1992 election, and Labour or the Conservatives might just gain that overall majority. Maybe the SNP scaremongering and the ‘best press in the world’ will help the Conservatives over the winning line. Maybe Labour’s vote in Scotland will hold up better than expected and help Ed over the finish line. I hope it’s the latter, and I hope Ed can be better than his campaign.
If you haven’t already done so, please get out and vote, even if it’s just to spoil your ballot paper – at least you’d be actively saying none of the above.
I’ll end with another quote, and one which sums up my own politics better than any other.
“If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.” – Tony Benn