Tuesday, 4 May 2010

UK Election: I'm declaring for Lib Dems

Fancy talking is below, but first here's my advice for voting in the UK election on Thursday:

-Vote for the Liberal Democrats where they can win

-In Labour vs. Conservative constituencies, vote Labour

-In Brighton Pavillion, vote for the Green Party (Caroline Lucas)

This is quite a turnaround for me since last year's blog where I said not to vote for any of the main parties. (Follow-up blog here.)

But just look at this election - the Liberal Democrats have got the coverage they've always needed, and people are taking them seriously. Nick Clegg may not be as charasmatic in my eyes as Charles Kennedy or as statesmanlike as Paddy Ashdown, but he's shown himself to be a clear, serious politician with a voice for change.

More significantly, he is likeable and human, which David Cameron is not.

The opportunity for this election is to change the voting system to make it fairer and to change British politics to make it more consensual and less confrontational. The Liberal Democrats provide this opportunity.

The danger for this election is letting the Conservative party win an overall majority, or even just being the biggest party.

The Conservative party detests electoral reform, and will resist all attempts to change the voting system. They are the party of business and the party of Thatcher, and will always put the rich ahead of those on low and lower-middle incomes. They are quite frankly the last people to keep the banks in check after the bonuses scandal, and the last people to clean up Parliament after the expenses scandal. They are the party of the minority, not the majority, and no amount of Labour mistakes and glossy Obama-talk of "change" will change that.

There are two ways to look at Labour: 1) a spent force, who will benefit from a change of leader and time in opposition, or 2) the people who need one more term to keep the economic ship from sinking. The economy is the one thing Gordon Brown is good at, and if you think it's been bad under Labour, just think what cuts the Conservatives would have already made. I'm not asking for another Labour majority. But you may live in a seat where it is a clear-cut 2-way fight between Labour and Conservatives. If you do, the only sensible choice is to vote Labour.

The best result for this election is a Labour-Liberal Democrat alliance. The fact is neither party can make a government on their own, and both parties are rightly opposed to the Conservatives.

For Labour supporters, the LibDems want to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000. After the 10p fiasco, and in these difficult times, it's a brilliant and progressive step for those on low and middle incomes.

For LibDem supporters, after the failed promises of Blair in 1997, Labour are in no position to say no to electoral reform. This election is the best chance to change the voting system, and joining forces with Labour is the only way to stop the Conservatives ditching it from the agenda completely.

Finally, a mention for the Green Party in Brighton - by voting in the first ever Green Party MP, we can show that progressive politics extends beyond Labour and Lib Dems, and give a voice in Parliament to another principled party.

If you have a vote in the UK, follow the steps above.
To non-UK friends and readers, you probably know someone with a UK vote - please send a link to this blog, or just describe the idea in words.

With luck and sensible voting decisions, we can wake up on Friday with a forward-looking progressive government. Spread the word.


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  2. A few of my preferences would be.

    Vote SNP in Scotland.
    Vote Respect in the two constituencies in London they're standing in.
    Vote UKIP in the Speaker's seat.
    Vote to keep in all current independents.