It is my custom (or has been at the last two general elections, at least) to broadcast, shortly before an election, to those I know, my thoughts and advice on the forthcoming event. Should the mood take you, you can look back at what I wrote in 1997 and 2001. Back then I did it by emailing a load of people. Nowadays we have blogs.
This time, though, I haven’t managed to get my thoughts out in advance. Then again, it’s not a general election.
I’ve voted Labour at every election since I’ve been able to vote. Oh, I think I might have thrown one of my transferrable votes to the Greens in the London Mayoral and Assembly ones last time, but basically its been Labour all the way.1
This time, though, I wasn’t sure.
You know the reasons, I’m sure: Iraq; ID cards; err, that’s enough, really. Did I still wan’t to support the part that I hadn’t been entirely happy with since it got the “New” tag?
But what are the alternatives? The Greens, I’ve been thinking recently, are too luddite for me. Obviously we shouldn’t pollute the environment, and we should do all we can to reduce energy use and carbon emissions; but I fear the Greens are largely anti-technology, and worse, are bordering on the being the type who put animal rights above human rights, which I can’t countenance. Note that I have no hard evidence to hand for either of those concerns, but I could probably find some with a little research. if not, and I do them a disservice, well, I’m sure they’ll live.
I thought about the Lib Dems, who are clearly the most pro-Europe of the parties. I’m sure they’d be fine in many ways. But in London, for example, they don’t want to increase the size of the Congestion Charge zone. I think it should cover the whole city. Or at least come out as far as Hackney. Anyway, despite my Labour concerns, I was always going to vote for Ken for Mayor again.
I would cut off my uninjured right leg before voting Tory, of course (hey let’s see who says they would scrap the Congestion Charge: Tories, BNP, UKIP; hmmm, is there a common theme there?) And none of the smaller independents really seem to have it.
Last night I decided. and today I went out and voted. Labour, in all available boxes. Because the London Mayor, and Assembly and MEPs aren’t Tony Blair or David Blunkett. And when it comes to the next general election I’ll probably conclude that Brian Sedgemore, my MP, isn’t them either, and vote for him.
If you haven’t been to your friendly local polling station or postbox today, get on out there. Remember: all those D-Day heroes that were on the telly recently died so that you could.
1. Strictly speaking, voting for Ken for mayor wasn’t a Labour vote, but I think you know where I’m coming from.