Friday, April 22, 2005

Elections 3

What are your election issues? Every time I have faced this choice since I could first vote in 1973 I have found myself frustrated that I could not indicate a preference beyond a first choice. In the forthcoming General Election I will be voting for my third choice because a vote for either of my first two choices will almost certainly contribute to my last choice being elected.

My voting history (as far as I can remember):

1973 Conservative
1974 Conservative
1979 Conservative
1983 SDP
1987 Liberal SDP Alliance
1992 Labour
1997 Labour
2001 Labour

Heath-style conservatism was pretty middle ground (not far off present day New Labour in attitude) but I unreservedly apologise for getting Margaret Thatcher elected Prime Minister. The death of our country's manufacturing base and the installation into this country of a culture of greed is almost certainly her/my fault.

It was my vote in 1987 that convinced me of the merits of either proportional representation or single transferable vote. The sitting Tory MP got in by about 300 votes and I had probably campaigned that many votes in for the Alliance. If I'd been less effective we would have got a better MP, and perhaps government.

So I'd love to vote for a party that will reform our democracy and a party that will stop the escalation of emission-damage to our planet before it's too late (about ten years) and a party that will be truly compassionate (New Labour have brought many people out of poverty but they don't shout about it because it will lose them middle ground).

And I'd love an election campaign to have some substance to it. As Johann Hari (always wise; sometimes wrong) said in The Independent last Wednesday. 'Do we really want to be trapped in this political Groundhog Day, where once every four years we spend a painful, barely-democratic month witnessing the airless, grinding circulation of ignorance?'

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