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UK General Election


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Who would you vote for and why?  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. Who would you vote for and why?

    • Conservative
      0
    • Labour
      1
    • Liberal Democrat
      4
    • British National Party
      0
    • Veritas
      0
    • UK Independence Party
      0
    • Green
      0
    • Other
      1


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We are "gripped" with election excitement in the UK at the moment. I thought I would invite forum members to share their thoughts about their voting intentions this time.

I am a life long Labour voter who will be voting Liberal Democrat this time largely because I cannot vote for a party which has taken us into an illegal and unnecessary war and in the process lied about it so often, but also because I like the Lib Dems proposal to create a new upper rate of taxation for those who earn in excess of £100,000. I would prefer them to bolder than this but at least it is a start.

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I have voted in every election since 1964. When deciding who to vote for I apply the same criteria as I did in my first election. My hope is that I will get a government committed to reducing the level of inequality in society. I am now only concerned about economic equality. I am also concerned about the redistribution of power. I am also concerned about the inequality encountered by women, homosexuals and ethnic minorities. Nor am I only concerned about the UK. I also want a government who supports policies that will reduce inequality between nations.

There have always been several parties that propose a more egalitarian society. However, given our corrupt and very unfair parliamentary system, I have always been forced to vote for a party that has got the best chance of winning. Therefore, until the last election, I have always voted for the Labour Party.

In 1997 I was very wary about voting for the Labour Party. Tony Blair appeared to be a Harold Macmillan type Tory. I was also aware of the large sums of money that had been given to Blair by a group of right-wing businessmen when he stood for the leadership of the Labour Party. I feared that we were seeing a repeat of the activities of the CIA’s International Organizations Division that had used money to turn Clement Attlee’s Labour government to the right in the late 1940s.

However, after so after 18 years of Tory governments I was willing to take a chance. After all, a friend of mine who shared by views on politics, stood a good chance of being elected as my MP (David Lepper: Brighton Pavilion). Lepper was elected and he did make some attempts to move Blair to the left. This was not the case with most MPs and we have had the second most reactionary government since the war (Margaret Thatcher is the other candidate for this title).

Blair’s government has redistributed wealth in the other direction. The gap between the rich and the poor is as wide now as it was in Victorian times.

Despite my friendship I did not vote for David Lepper. I voted for the party on the left that had the best opportunity to win the seat. In the last election it was the Liberal Democrat candidate. Today it is the Green candidate. Brighton Pavilion is expected to become the first constituency in the UK with a Green MP.

I now live in a safe Tory constituency and will be voting Liberal Democrat. I will never vote Labour while Tony Blair leads the party. In fact, I will not return to the fold (I was an active member for 23 years) until we see the end of the New Labour project.

Like Andy Walker I was appalled by Blair’s illegal war. I am also totally opposed to his tax and privatisation policies. I also dislike his presidential and dictatorial style. I am aware we will not have a democratically elected second chamber and a fairer voting system until Blair is removed from office. Although, I suspect we will never have a government with the courage to bring in a modern democratic system. Therefore we will have to remain tactical voters.

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Unlike John and Andy, I won't be voting at all... Since I have been living in Spain for the last 25 years, I don't get to vote in British elections. Also unlike John and Andy, I am a genuine Liberal supporter rather than just a "tactical" supporter.

It isn't new that on many issues the Liberals are well to the left of Labour. I remember Liberal policies in the 60's and 70's supporting profit-sharing and elements of worker control of industry, and for all his later notoriety, I still think "Bomber" Thorpe's policy might have led to a much more rapid solution to UDI than the rather wishy-washy position taken by the Wilson government.

I like to think of myself as being left-leaning, but what really attracted me to Liberalism in the 60's when I first became active in politics was much more the primacy which Liberals put on the rights of the individual in his/her relationship with the State. I always feelt uncomfortable with the collectivist view inherent in socialism. I find myself much more at home in the philosophy of JS Mill than in that of Marx.

At times in the 60's and 70's many of the Young Liberals felt that they were constantly beating their heads against the brick wall of older Liberals' annoying lack of militancy, but I think we all recognized that there was an emotional commitment to individual liberty which united us...

Sorry this was so rambling... I was reliving my misspent youth...

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I was a Labour Party activist for 20 years when the Labour Party had public ownership written into its constitution. I left when privatisation became Labour Party policy with the abolition of Clause 4. I will support the Socialist Party in this election. "It is better to vote for what you want, and perhaps not get it, than vote for what you don't want and get it!" (Debs)

Two other points. I held discussions with two of my ICT classes who are studying databases and used the BBC's list of 15 issues in the election to decide which was the most important issue. This led to a much more useful debate than discussing which party they would support. I used the example of the Tory Party standing in an election "to save the pound" when most people in this country wanted to "save the pound". What they neglected to take into account was how important that belief was. Not very as it turned out!

Second point. Politics is more than making the mark of the illiterate every four or so years. The battle against racism, privatisation and war will go on whichever canaille wins the election. The socialist party meets racism full on and their policies on privatisation and war are in the manifesto:

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/Manifesto.htm

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I was a Labour Party activist for 20 years when the Labour Party had public ownership written into its constitution. I left when privatisation became Labour Party policy with the abolition of Clause 4. I will support the Socialist Party in this election. "It is better to vote for what you want, and perhaps not get it, than vote for what you don't want and get it!" (Debs)

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/Manifesto.htm

You need to consider the political context of Eugene Debs’s quotation. Debs was the Socialist Party presidential candidate in the 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920 US elections. He knew he had no chance of winning these elections. His campaigns were attempts to spread socialist propaganda. His best showing was in 1920 when he fought the election from his prison cell (he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for making a speech in Canton, Ohio, on 16th June, 1918, criticizing the US Espionage Act).

Debs was of course talking about what socialists should do in presidential elections where only representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties could be victorious. This was not Debs position on all elections. For example, he urged tactical voting when it was possible for a left of centre candidate to achieve power in local elections (see the case of Emil Seidel in 1910 became the first socialist mayor of a major city in the United States).

Debs was willing to withdraw his own party candidate in order to get socialists elected (at this time the left was badly divided in the US). This made him unpopular with some members of his party. Some agreed with Derek that it is far better to vote for your own candidate than it is to get someone on the left into power.

Eugene Debs is one of my heroes and deserves to be quoted in context.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAdebs.htm

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I have mostly voted Labour since I first got the vote. I shall vote Lib Dem this time. Tony Blair's government has not impressed me at all.

1. I will not vote for a party that took us into an unnecessary war.

2. Labour have done nothing to improve our disastrous privatised railway system - probably the worst and most expensive in Europe. I think I might vote for any party that promised to renationalise the railways and bring them up to the standards of other European countries.

3. Labour seem to be hell-bent on turning us into the tongue-tied idiots of Europe by making foreign languages an option in state schools in England for children aged over 14.

Labour stands no chance of getting elected in the safe Tory constituency in which I live, but the Lib Dems gave the Tories a bit of a fright last time round by dramatically reducing their majority.

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If I were living in England and could vote (I do have a British passport and will be there from May26 - July 7 on holiday) I wouldn't vote for Blair either and my totally Labour partner wouldn't either. Serious reasons are those listed above by most others, plus what appears to an outsider to be a shambles in education and health (no better here) but, also, less seriously, because I can't think of a PMs wife who has been less suitable than Cherie. What a stupid, embarrassing, dreadful woman she appears to be.

Is the Lib-Dem wife an improvement??

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If I were living in England and could vote (I do have a British passport and will be there from May26 - July 7 on holiday) I wouldn't vote for Blair either and my totally Labour partner wouldn't either. Serious reasons are those listed above by most others, plus what appears to an outsider to be a shambles in education and health (no better here) but, also, less seriously, because I can't think of a PMs wife who has been less suitable than Cherie. What a stupid, embarrassing, dreadful woman she appears to be.

Is the Lib-Dem wife an improvement??

Very low profile until giving birth. The British electorate tend not like political wives. The right-wing media promote the message of the “power behind the throne”. This is especially a concern with the wives of Labour leaders. The view is (and I think rightly) that women are less willing to sell out then men. Therefore left-wing women are seen as particularly dangerous. Neil Kinnock wife was seen as very dangerous and was a target of the media during his period as leader.

Initially this was seen as a problem for Tony Blair. It was well known that Cherie was a very committed socialist while at university. In fact Tony only joined the Labour Party because of her (he had shown little interest in politics until then). Recently Cherie told a friend that she was still a socialist (however, her behaviour suggests that it goes no deeper than the label). On the other hand, Tony denies he has ever been a socialist. He likes to see himself as a “social democrat”. Cherie has been more successful in converting Tony to Roman Catholicism than socialism. However, he will not announce this until he leaves office.

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Frightful though Mrs Blair is she was very helpful to the Kent NUT recently helping us win a case against Kent County Council in the High Court.

Having said that the wife or indeed imminent religious conversation of Tone is of no significance to me in deciding who to vote for

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting article by Gary Younge about the New Labour scare tactic concerning letting the Tories in by the backdoor.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Colum...1474790,00.html

It includes the following:

There is as much veracity to the claim that voting for the Liberal Democrats will let the Tories through the back door as there was that Saddam Hussein was 45 minutes from killing us all. A study by the Independent revealed that a swing of 11.5% from Labour to the Lib Dems would indeed deprive Labour of its overall majority. But even if the defections were twice that rate, it would still be "virtually impossible" to let in a Conservative government. "It is highly unlikely any swing could result in the Conservatives becoming the largest party," according to John Curtice, a psephologist and professor of politics at Stratchclyde university. "The most likely consequence of any large switch from Labour to the Liberal Democrats is simply nobody would have overall control."

If this does happen it won't be because Tory Svengali Lynton Crosby has demotivated the Labour vote, but because the government has. But the fact that so many on the left feel morally compromised by voting for Tony Blair suggests not that there is something wrong with their morality but that there is something wrong with Labour. Indeed, New Labour was founded on the principle that, unlike old Labour, it had to reconnect with voters' concerns in order to win. Somewhere along the way that lesson was lost. Now the government claims any losses will not be its fault for pursuing a course that voters will reject: it will be the voters' fault for refusing to accept the course New Labour has imposed.

Each individual is responsible for the choice they make on polling day; the parties are responsible for crafting an agenda and developing a record that people will want to choose. The surest sign that a political party is in trouble is when it blames the electorate for not supporting it.

Thursday has been a long time coming and this government have had plenty of opportunity to be prepared for it. A million of us warned them on February 15 2003 when we took to the streets against the war. Many also warned them on June 10 2004, the date of the European and local elections. But nothing happened. Yet now they demand loyalty where none has been shown.

Many used their clothes pegs in 2001, after the bombing of Serbia, the asylum bill and student loans. This time round they will need blindfolds and earmuffs as well. Decadence is believing you are not accountable for the consequences of your actions. Let those accusations be laid at the doorstep of 10 Downing Street before they make their way to any mythical dinner party. For only then will it become clear that Labour's principal weakness is not middle-class petulance but working-class indifference. Its defeats in byelections at the hands of the Lib Dems have taken place not in leafy suburbs but poor urban areas such as Brent East and Leicester South. In the local council elections, they lost towns and cities like Cardiff, Doncaster, Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne. These were hardly plots hatched last summer in Tuscany.

In all of this the war has been emblematic. The vast majority of defectors on Thursday will not switch in solidarity with the people of Sadr City. They will do so because the war has symbolised much of what is wrong with New Labour - its contempt for its constituency, and democracy delivered with arrogance and spin. "If the political context were right, people would support regime change," said Blair before the war, according to a secret document leaked to the Sunday Times.

Cook up the pretext and people will swallow it; if they don't, we'll shove it down their throats. Never mind if they gag. We know what's best for them. Trust is the currency. Having spent it on Iraq, Blair is unable to use it elsewhere.

Having failed to persuade, they must now resort to pillory. But does Jessica Haigh, the student who assailed Blair as he toured a shopping centre in Leeds, look like a dilettante to you? She grew up in a Labour-voting household and is about to cast her first vote for the Lib Dems because she is disillusioned. And what about her father, Mick, 51, a former teacher from Ramshill, Scarbor ough, who was a party member for 36 years and the election agent for his hometown's first Labour MP in 1997? Was he soused on pinot grigio when he said of his daughter: "She is doing the job that senior members of the Labour party should be doing. I think her views are shared by many in the party and those who have left."

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