I have voted for the British Labour Party in every election since I was 18. In every Council Election, Euro Election, General Election, London Mayoral Election and referendum, since I was 18, (we’re not short of democracy in Britain) I have voted for the same party.
On May the 5th we have the General Election, and I have a problem. The leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is a man who I would like to punch in the face. Quite hard. His brand of faith-based self-belief carries with it a total contempt for cabinet government, constitution (“bugger, maybe we should have written it down”), international law and, err… truth.
I’m told there was a time when British politicians offered us an optimistic view of the future, loosely based around moderate left/right leanings. Now they compete to frighten us into voting for them. An uncritical mind would cower behind the sofa given the bellicose crap we’ve been served up so far. RUN FOR THE HILLS! Because: The bogus asylum seekers are swamping us, teenage hooligans are on the march, gypsies want to park their caravan in your back garden, there’s a murderous Islamic fundamentalist on every corner, go to hospital and the latest ‘superbug’ will get you, and don’t think you can stop working: There’s a black hole in the pension fund and you’ll be working until you drop dead.
This is all deeply depressing, but I’m voting Labour. Again.
Why? Because if you delve into the actual facts and concrete achievements of the British government, you uncover some moderate achievements. As I see them, they are:
1) The introduction of a minimum wage
2) Taking the lead in cancelling third world debt
3) Heavy investment in health and education
4) If I’m going to complain about a presidential style in our Prime Minister, it’s a contradiction if I then personalise my vote as ‘anti-Blair’
5) Rich people feel they are being over-taxed, so they must be doing something right (the words ‘re-distribution of wealth’ always bring me out in a smug grin).
So with a heavy heart, I’ll go in to the voting booth next month, and do exactly the same thing as I always do.
And I promise to write something more optimistic myself for my next post