With the General Election “long campaign” starting on 19th December (that’s the period for which candidates’ expenses are controlled), I’m starting to think about how I should vote.
Tactically, as always.
First priority: ConDems out. This has been the worst government I have ever lived under, by a long way. #CameronMustGo is the trending Twitter hashtag; Cameron is the worst of the worst sort of modern toff Tory. His time at McKinsey obliterated any values of noblesse oblige that might have moderated the class loyalties of an earlier generation of Tories.
Second: Blairism begone. By Blairism, I mean the kind of Tory-lite Labourism that lickspittles the City and the Daily Mail, weasels about immigration, and whose prevalence in the PLP puts me right off. It’s not about the Blair/Brown personality clash, it’s much more to do with the wholesale abandonment of Labour values – the baby thrown out with the Clause IV bathwater – that meant that inequality rose in the Blair years. I will find it very hard to vote Labour while these values are still in the ascendant.
Third, stop UKIP. Round here, in the heartlands of the metropolitan elite, in my wonderfully mixed and diverse bit of London that is Brixton, they’re more of a laughing-stock than a threat, but their values are a threat to us all. In Europe, islamophobia is today’s antisemitism. We have no more need of Farage than we had of Oswald Moseley, and UKIP is becoming a haven to those who harbour the same racist views. Credit, then, to Douglas Carswell MP, who stands against it; but he jumped to the wrong ship.
Fourth, Greens in. In a fair voting system, which we do not have, I’d vote for them without a doubt, because on policy I’m more aligned to them than any of the major parties. I disagree profoundly with their position on GMOs and nuclear power, but their economic policy is one of the soundest. Sadly, there’s no chance that they’ll win a majority – though Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett would be brilliant leaders – but I’d rather have a couple of Greens negotiating a coalition than a couple of kippers.
I’m in one of the safest Labour seats in the country (and therefore almost entirely disenfranchised). Kate Hoey is my MP; I disagree with her on many things, but respect her independence of spirit. She’s one of the best of today’s Parliamentarians. Despite this, a tactical Green vote is where I’m heading.