Friday, 10 July 2009

Reasons not to vote Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem at the next UK general election

Yes a UK election is not far away - next May assuming the current government clings on as long as it can - and despite being on the other side of the world, I'm cynical enough to say why all 3 of the major parties are useless and don't deserve your vote.

-10p tax. Quite simply the most outrageous, UN-Labour policy this Labour government has put through. Gordon Brown, current Prime Minister and then Chancellor, removed the 10p tax band for people on low-middle earnings. Raising the tax-free allowance from £5500 to £6000 a year is a slap in the face to all those people on a crappy £12,000 a year who will now pay more tax.
-Transport. Yes, the trains needed sorting out after 17 years of under-investment and horrific crashes. But train prices are still rising and are shockingly unaffordable for a) the same low income people who can't afford a car and need affordable public transport, and b) people who want to cut carbon emissions by leaving the car at home or avoiding cheap plane tickets. Yes Labour needed to ditch their promise to return to the "workers" the "fruits of their labour", but you don't need to re-nationalise the railways to make them work and make train travel affordable - you need correct investment and firm price regulation of a market that clearly cannot regulate itself.
-Brown is not the anti-Blair. We all hoped he would be the real Labour we wanted, a serious politician. We got nothing. It took a global financial crisis for Gordon Brown to actually look like he was doing something, in turn reminding us his Chancellor Alistair Darling is clearly unnecessary.
-Surveillance and civil liberties. Labour is a left party - this doesn't mean it needs to be an authoritarian society. ID cards are unnecessary and will not cut crime. It's not impossible to protect civil liberties while governing for the majority and not the minority.
-Wasted promises. 12 years and 2 landslide election victories, and what did we get? All that stands out to me is the minimum wage.
-Running on empty. Labour won a historic 3rd term in 2005, thanks to Blair's charisma, middle-of-the-road policies and pandering to the private sector. But this party has no energy left, no ideas, and quite frankly needs to be in opposition to remind itself what it's about.

-The party of self-interest. The Conservatives are not the party of everyone, they are the party of business and property owners. It's very easy for them to criticise removing the 10p tax rate, yet Conservative tax cuts do not help those on lower incomes who a) deserve lower taxes more and b) are more likely to spend their extra earnings and help the economy. Remember this is the party that was against any form of minimum wage (i.e. a living wage) and consistently opposed any raises to it.
-Surveillance and civil liberties. It's all very easy for the Tories to criticise ID cards as an attack on civil liberties, yet they love being tough on law and order when in power. Let's not forget the Conservatives are, as their name suggests, the most cynical party on social issues for disabled people, gay people, sex equality and ethnic minorities. When the Conservatives are next in power, rest assured civil liberties will drop of the agenda.
-Iraq. While Labour at least asked themselves some questions about being led by America into a phoney war in Iraq, the Conservatives were for it the whole time, and were the last to admit it was a bad idea.
-Cameron. You know you're in trouble when the next potential prime minister is a Tory who clearly worshipped Tony Blair. He is as liquid as Blair, he has a vague charisma, but he has no solidity and lacks the moral basis for (domestic) politics that Blair had. Next to Obama he'll look like a private schoolboy. I'm cringing with embarrassment already.

-No seriously, who are they? What do they stand for? At least under Charles Kennedy they were the party left of centre, left of the Labour party, against the war in Iraq and tuition fees and for more progressive tax rates. Now I can't even remember who their leader is, let alone what their policies are (Chris Hulme? Or did he lose to Nick Clegg?). Menzies Campbell is a great politician but clearly wasn't leadership potential. Charles Kennedy may have had a drinking problem but you can treat that and get rid of it; considering he took over after Paddy Ashdown stood down (one of Parliament's finest recent politicians), and held his own, I think he still had/has a lot to give.

MP'S ALLOWANCES has nothing to do with it. Surprise surprise, a Tory politician was using taxpayer's money for a fucking duck pond. What do you expect from the party that gave us Jeffrey Archer, Neil Hamilton and cash-for-questions. The recent debacle with misusing their allowances is just part of the modernisation and cleaning up of Parliament, necessary but boring and systemic. Most of the misused public money was much less than private companies and rich individuals get away through tax evasion. The real reason the parties don't deserve your vote is not the corruption of individuals but the bankruptcy of modern progressive policies.

THE WORST PART IS people have already started following this advice, and what did we get? 2 BNP MEPS and even more BNP councillors. You give the British public a reason to dislike mainstream politics and they vote for a bunch of racists. I don't know what's worse, voting for the BNP because they didn't know what the BNP stood for, or because they knew exactly what the BNP stands for. Give them half a chance and the great British public would bring back public hangings and the stocks and put themselves in it.

Are we fucked? Probably. Do we deserve it? Probably.

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