Monday, April 27, 2015

How I will vote

Trying to decide who to vote for has been a tortuous exercise. I'm not comfortable with the potential SNP pact / deal by Labour not because I object to Nicola Sturgeon or much of their manifesto (in places it is very positive) but because of the more independence minded members of that party. 

I'm not happy with the past performance of the Liberal democrats and I can't see me voting in support of their manifesto. The Greens, well some of the manifesto is good but in other aspects it seems like wishful thinking and lacking reality. I am uncomfortable with the Conservative party manifesto not simply because of my ideological opposition but because of rent to buy and past policies such as the bedroom tax and reduction in higher tax rates.

What a pickle and not a good one as in spread across a slice of stinking bishop on top of good old toasted spelt bread.

Trying to make a choice has been hard. The Labour party manifesto is in my opinion the better of all the manifestos I've seen but I have doubts whether Labour is ready yet. I'm sure Miliband will become a fine statesman (as per Foot) however it feels there's too much of Blair's legacy left in the party. However a weak Labour minority potentially in hock to the SNP or the SNP + Liberals does not fill me with enthusiasm. Minority Governments without a coalition (as per Con + Lib) don't exactly have a great record and even with the most recent coalition then the Liberals were too weak. My preference is strongly towards a Lab + Con coalition but no-one wants to consider this.

But it's time to choose and I now know the path by which I'll vote. My vote will decide on the last week and what events happen.

1) If Labour offers to or agrees to form a coalition with the Conservatives then I'll vote Labour because it'll be clear that the party is willing to put national interests above political. A Lab + Con coalition would be fine.

2) If the Conservatives offer to form a coalition with Labour but Labour rejects this then I'll vote Conservative principally because despite my ideological opposition I value national interests over political. I'd hope to see a Con + Lib coalition given no Lab + Con coalition remains possible. I'd hope we avoid the horror of UKIP being involved or a Con majority.

3) If neither party offers then I'll vote on the basis of manifesto and vote Labour. I'd prefer a Lab + Lib coalition but if we end up with Lab + SNP then I'll take comfort in that it could have been worse e.g. UKIP anything. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand what Lab + SNP will mean. As Gordon Brown said their mission was not to “deliver social justice” but “deliver chaos and constant crisis” and a second referendum. However, if the break up of the Union is the way we need to go then so be it. My biggest concern is that we end up with an unfair deal due to the weak negotiating position of Labour resulting in the rest of the Union being lumbered with the debts etc.

Well, at least I'm now decided on how I'm going to vote. My actual choice will depend upon what happens in the last week.

--- 8th May 2015

Well, we got a Conservative majority. The upside is we should see continued reform in IT, focus on R&D, removal of waste in Government, the focus on the economy and the good parts of the manifesto. The downside is the continuation of polices like the bedroom tax, expansion of right to buy and a probable lean to more libertarian views. I cannot emphasise enough how important Government is for the competitive state of the nation nor the importance of social cohesion and providing a safety net for the most vulnerable. I would have preferred a Con-Lab coalition because the more centre elements (that dominate) could have ignored the extremes. That was never likely to happen but I could hope.

Well, in the next five years we will discover the true character of Compassionate Conservatism. I hope that the ideas of the Big Society and Compassion are genuinely balanced with our need to grow the economy, reduce waste and to be competitive. The bedroom tax and the in effect "cleansing" of London of the poor are not encouraging signs.

Most of all, I'm concerned about long term competition and the danger of the EU referendum. There are numerous self interest groups that would find it advantageous for Europe to be weaker. This is firmly not in the interests of the citizen's of Europe. However, with enough money it should be possible to persuade the citizens of the UK to vote for that which is not in their long term interest. This along with social cohesion concerns me.