The coming General Election (GE) is tearing me apart. At every GE from 1979 I have voted Labour. I did not come from a political family. I chose my politics on the basis of my principles, beliefs and core values. Few, if any have changed. I still believe passionately in vital public services like the NHS, schools, the emergency services and so on. I still believe this country should offer the same opportunities for everyone, regardless of differences including sex, race and social class. For that reason, it was always Labour for me, the party that created the NHS. This time, I am conflicted. I don’t know what to do but I know what I am not going to do.
The biggest risk to the future of our country is Boris Johnson’s hard right, hard Brexit Conservative Party. If Johnson wins, expect an immediate bonfire of regulation and a government that will end the post war consensus almost straight away. People I like and respect all say the same thing: I must vote for the party most likely to defeat Johnson. I am being leaned on, not always passively either, to do my moral duty. After all, I am a socialist, aren’t I? Yes, that’s exactly what and who I am. “Do you really want Boris Johnson in number ten?” Of course I don’t. So, what’s the alternative?
For me, it’s almost impossible. The Labour candidate for Filton and Bradley Stoke (FABS) is very good. In normal circumstances the choice would be simple. But it isn’t;. Vote for a good Labour person with mainstream left of centre views could mean putting a man I utterly despite into 10 Downing Street.
Only those wearing the most tinted of rose tinted glasses genuinely believe Jeremy Corbyn is a man fit to be prime minister. He’s a career politician who has never had an original idea in his life. He still carts around the same dreary failed ideas that saw Labour confined to opposition to for all the 1980s and much of the 1990s. He has turned Labour into an anti-Semitic cesspit, turning a blind eye to the vile bullying of Jews. He has been, and probably still is, the friend of the terrorist, despite seemingly being also a pacifist. In short, he is every bit as unsuited to power as serial liar, shyster and huckster Boris Johnson.
“Vote for the lesser of two evils” is one classic piece of advice I have been given, as if voting for someone and something you perceived to be less evil than someone and something else is okay. It isn’t. I’m leaning to the Lib Dems, but only in a hold-your-nose kind of way. Much as I admire the new Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, the only current party leader not educated at an elite private school by the way, I’m afraid she has not properly addressed the role of the Lib Dems in David Cameron’s cruel, austerity-heavy government by at least offering some form of apology. It must not be forgotten that the Lib Dem decision to support tripling university tuition fees after promising to abolish them contaminated British politics to a level not seen in decades. And then there was the cruelty inflicted on the very weakest and most vulnerable in society by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition. We can’t just say, “Yes, but that was in the past.”
My current preference, if not a vote for the Lib Dems, is a spoiled ballot paper, I’m afraid. The “It will be your fault if a hard right, hard Brexit Johnson government is elected” line doesn’t wash with me. I never stopped believing in what I believed in and I doubt that I ever shall. But as things stand no one comes even close to representing a set of values, or enough of them, to enable me to cast my vote. It really is agonising and I am beginning to despise the politicians who are doing it to me.