Yesterday evening a brave Conservative walked along our terraced street in Liverpool delivering election leaflets. As soon as I noticed it I went and looked up and down the street to try and see what such a being looked like, but no, they were gone.
Back inside the house soon rang with laughter as I read through the joke in every line leaflet. This chancer, James Pearson is his name, will be ‘safeguarding our NHS, creating new jobs for hardworking people (yes ‘hardworking’ is now a conjoined political word) and protecting us from the coalition of chaos.’ Eh, I thought the Conservatives had spent the last 5 years running that?
Oh well, none of it matters because James has absolutely no chance of winning the seat here. But thanks for delivering your leaflet anyway. It’s your democratic right and it made me smile, not to say laugh, for a few minutes.
Which is more than the rest of this General Election campaign is doing. The fixed parliament seems to have had the result of making it last for ages, for one thing. Which is boring. But also the quality of the campaigns themselves are woeful. Which is worse. Leaving me with a severe democratic quandry this time.
I’ve no idea who to vote for. So I thought I’d write about it and see if that helps me to straighten out my thinking.
Now at all the General Elections of my life so far I’ve been your typical rock-solid Labour voter. Sometimes inspired, long ago and briefly a party member, but too often going with the least bad option to get or keep the grasping Conservative toffs out of power.
This time, as I’ve said, I just don’t know.
So I took a test to check and you could too. It’s at ‘Vote for policies not personalities’ and it takes you through a thorough questionnaire which compares your own opinions with everyone’s policies. And then tells you what you are. I turned out to be one third Green and two thirds Labour. That’s simple then, on this evidence I should vote Labour.
Except I don’t feel like it. They feel bossy and hard to like. A party of career politicians forever banging on about ‘on the Labour doorstep’ and, yes ‘hardworking families.’ Traces of socialism in their make up are hard to spot any more and their policies seem to be mostly about the management and control of the people, working, immigrants or otherwise.
And policies, oh yes. Everyone’s got them and seem to be slinging them at their daily media walls to see which ones stick, which ones will dupe a few extra people into voting for them. Unworkable, unworked out and either forgotten or lied about after the election anyway. Last time round it was university fees, this time this ludicrous ‘right to buy’ scam for housing association tenants? Who knows, they all seem to be spinning a new one every day or two to improve their standings in the permanently running polls.
And I’m heartily sick of them. In fact I’ve been heartily sick of all the main parties since the Scottish Referendum. When the three Westminster boys all looked like members of the same exclusive club bullying and threatening the Scottish people not to leave their precious ‘union.’ So now when they sling their ‘Yah, boo, sucks’ insults at each other it just looks like a playground game. Except that in three weeks I’m supposed to make up my mind and vote for who will run our country for the next five years and it’s not a game at all is it?
No, the Conservatives have obviously got to go. Not for the traditional reason that they are conservative, but more because this current lot have turned into the outright representatives and organising agents for the sinister controllers of global capitalism. Selling off the country and all that even their own supporters hold sacred. Yes I mean the NHS.
But who’s to replace them? You know my doubts and dislike of Labour (who in any case were the last organising agents for the shadowy power élite) but who else?
Well most of the talk seems to be about various combined coalitions. Parties many of us can’t even vote for combining with one we don’t like enough to vote for ‘keeping the Tories out.’ It feels like we’re living in ‘Borgen’ now.
Remember that? The Danish take on the West Wing with a political party for every day of the week. All combining and conspiring and, apparently, it’s the European way now and we’d better get used to it.
I just don’t know.
Maybe I should take my eyes off the national stage and vote locally. The Green Party do reasonably well here in local elections and do have an amount of socialism in them. On the other hand I do actually know Luciana Berger who’s been Labour MP here for the last five years. I even made a film to support her last time around and know she’s put a lot of work into the place (or the ‘Labour doorstep’ as I’m afraid she habitually describes it).
So why not the Greens or Luciana this time? I don’t know. All I do know is no one is inspiring me. With a vision and a way of being that looks like they will be capable of governing a fairer and freer country. Ending this deeply punitive austerity politics that is starving the heart out of our cities and looks like a class war to so many of us. Building houses our children and their children can afford to live in, with libraries down the road for them to read in. Not just preserving our NHS but cherishing it and gathering back the parts given away. Ideas that would lift my heart and make me want to cheer.
No one is making me want to cheer. No one, even after this 1,000 words of worrying, is making me want to vote for them. I know who I don’t want, so will it once again come down to voting for the least bad alternative to keep them out? It may well, and I’ve only got three weeks left to decide.