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New Year, Vote?

Happy new year! Crappy new year! Hopefully not. Hopefully we can evict these blue-tie wearing bastards from office this year. Unfortunately I fear the cost of doing so will be to replace them with red tie wearing bastards who, frankly, have been a complete let down over the last five years. Still, all things being equal (and why would you think they are), a Labour government will at least have two things in its favour: it will slow the rate of decline hopefully enough to give us some breathing room to mount a proper and effective campaign to dismantle this broken system. Secondly they won’t be Ian Duncan Smith. While Rachel Reeves is no saint and far from what we need, and despite her apparently claiming to be tougher than the Tories (though, to be fair, that was in relation to welfare spending), she isn’t as violently sadistic and cruel as him. Few could be. However I’m under no illusion that Labour will effect real change, just a slight delay in the inevitable goal of all parties in this capitalist nightmare. That’s better than the alternative, it has to be.

Though I’d love to give the Green party a go. I suppose the only way for that to happen is to get out and vote for them, which is ironic considering Natalie Bennett has spent a lot of time sharing panels with Russell Brand. I’m not terribly enamoured with him. I suppose it’s good that he’s championing righteous causes (such as the New Era Estate), but I’d rather he wasn’t such a cocky misogynist woo woo spouting maniac. He’s an easy target for the right wing, but as long as the people he claims to support are under no illusions about him that should be fine. Hopefully he’ll realise behaving like that isn’t the best way to go and drop the silly act.

It all comes down to what choices are presented on the ballot. We don’t have equal votes or fair representation. I may support a Labour vote in the sense it appears to be the best chance of ousting the Tories, but locally they come a distant third with no real chance of winning against either Tory or Liberal Democrat. Neither of whom are choices I want to make. Neither is Labour for that matter and I’m not comfortable with advocating a ‘hold your nose and vote Labour’ platform, but the situation - and I’m referring solely to 2015 not the longer term - is so dire because of the possibility of a Tory return (even though they haven’t won in 20 years) that all bets are off. I don’t support Labour, I think Miliband is hopeless weak and not remotely left wing nor socialist (the less said about Ed Bollocks the better). However what alternative is there? If I believed the Greens had enough of a chance of winning I’d endorse them. Of course that’s a self fulfilling prophecy but the possibility of splitting the left vote is as dangerous as not voting.

We have to vote: Russell Brand forgets one thing and that is that Tory supporters will vote. They have no truck with his ideas and the system doesn’t recognise abstention or spoiling the paper. Instead that translates into a vote against what you believe. In this case it becomes a Tory vote. That’s the worst thing that could happen, even though I support the freedom not to vote (the alternative is fascism). There has to be unified opposition to the Tory onslaught - and it is an onslaught.

My point: the situation is uniquely dire this year. We cannot risk a Tory (even in coalition) return. The cost will be too dear; we will lose the NHS for certain as well as teh welfare state (and more besides). Is it worth holding your nose and returning a Labour government if it means preventing that? Even though the differences between red and blue are practically negligible and even though it’s repugnant to have to do this, what are the alternatives? By all means hold to your principles if you don’t believe in voting for Labour, but consider the cost.

Labour has pledged to repeal the Health and Social Care act (according to Andy Burnham) as well as the Bedroom Tax. Though these are certainly welcome they need to do a huge amount more and of course there’s no guarantee they will even do these things. I know this (though I have to believe if they didn’t it would be an act of collective suicide that would make Nick Clegg look sensible). But consider the alternative.

Hey if you disagree let me know!

Comments

  1. Ed Miliband recently advised the local parties in Northern Ireland to implement the Tory welfare reforms - they'd been dragging their feet about it. They've agreed to do it and I think Miliband's intervention was the deciding factor - because it must mean the nightmare of Universal Credit etc is here to stay because I don't think he would have advised them so if he planned to make any significant changes. His party may ameliorate some of the nastier stuff, but so long as the infrstructure remains in place it only takes another Tory administration to turn the carrot to a whip.

    Nor do I think Labour will repeal the Health & Social Care Act - it's probable they will remove the competition clauses and much of the secondary legislation, but Lansley's marketised NHS is here to stay. It would take another gigantic and expensive reorganisation to reverse it.

    Sadly Labour is just another neo-liberal party. If Labour really meant business on behalf of poor and working people it would simply tell the Tories privately that any attack on the NHS and welfare state would be met with the abolition of the Monarchy and the House of Lords and a tax rate of 90% on land and inherited wealth. The Tories may not believe they'll do it - but that's the chance they'll have to take. The only way to beat these Tories is to place their entitlements at risk - sadly too many Labour people share those same entitlements.

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  2. We don't know what will happen, we can only go on what is likely. There's a good chance they will renege on their pledges. That's the nature of all politicians. But at least the chance they might not is more than is being offered from the tories who will, as a matter of fact, make things worse. That's the one thing we do know.

    I'm not happy about any of this, and I'm only talking about 2015. Meanwhile we campaign for a better system as best we can. But in the short term getting people like IDS out of power is a must and the most likely way to do that is unfortunately to vote, where ossible, labour. It won't be possible everywhere because our electoral system is a joke. That's why we need to change it, but that's not an option for 2015.

    I agree with everything you say, but the bottom line for me is that the alternative is even worse. 5 more years of IDS is unthinkable. We have the NHS on its knees. Can Labour fix that? Will they try? I don't know. It might be naive, but if they pledge to do so and renege on that they will be committing a greater feat of electoral suicide than the Lib Dems did in 2010.

    There are also still some good people in Labour (lord knows why they remain). John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn seem decent enough, though whether them and any others like them are close enough to the decision makers is another matter.

    I wish there were better alternatives. I hate the idea of holding my nose and voting for someone I know is a poor choice. I think it demeans the idea of democracy and betrays the electorate, but we are, as they say, where we are. However shit Labour now are, and they most certainly are, the question is: are they as shit as the Tories.

    Don't forget that the Tories think Labour are a bunch of lefty socialists. Booting out the Tories sends them a message they aren't welcome. This is where they were a decade ago when they were at their lowest ebb (where IDS was their hopeless leader). They are where they are now simply because of the financial crisis. There is no way they would have won otherwise.

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