Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems have done terribly well so far in the general election. Their star is rising and depending on which poll you read they are either just behind Labour or have overtaken them in the affections of the voting public. But they won’t win. They won’t get anything like the number of seats their popularity in the polls would suggest they get, this is because their vote is too evenly spread across the country, they are going to come a creditable second in a lot of places though, and they may well be the king makers in a hung parliament.
I will probably be voting Lib Dem not that it matters I live in a solidly Conservative constituency so my only hope is to help reduce their majority a bit.
However I am worried, because I fear that the lib dems will act as the minority partner in a Conservative/LibDem pact, I fear that the Lib Dems would like to be in power more than they like many of their fine policies. I find the Tory policies to be loathsome in the main part. Tax cuts for the rich, increased costs for the rest of us and poorer services for everyone.
As an aside The £150 tax give away for married couples particularly riles me, Only married couples who resemble a 1950’s stereotype that barely existed at the time, single income or the wife only earning very small pin money will benefit most families with double incomes will see nothing. We will be some of the few who actually gain from this as I am not in employment but we can actually just about afford to do this and 150 pounds isn’t going to strengthen our marriage and as we don’t have tangible child care costs we need less help than the couple who earn together the same income as we have, we don’t need the help compared to the single parent who is working hard to cloth, feed and shelter his/her family it makes me angry because what it is saying to those who don’t fit their outmoded idea of how we should lead our lives.
I realise that I’ve become somewhat old and cynical about the political process, I remember the Lib/Lab pact (just) and the ’79 election I missed out on voting in 87 by a few short weeks. I remember the long discussions in our sixth form common room about politics and how the SDP and the Liberals were going to changes things. My first chance to vote in a general election came in 92, I went to a student party fully expecting to be celebrating a Labour victory because that’s what the polls told us was on the cards only to find that the voters had lied to the pollsters and themselves and had gone and voted Tory anyways. May the second 1997 was probably the nicest day of the 90s complete strangers smiled at each other, I have never seen London look so happy, hungover and beautiful since. 13 years later Labour have slowly pissed on all the good will and hope entrusted to them. The Iraq war was probably the biggest drop of wormwood in the milk, but treatment of refuges, the cosying up to big business and pathetic greed and stupidity of the expenses scandal all turned the hope to loathing.
I don’t have much hope for the Lib Dems being new shiny and changing things, I think our political process is so huge and resistant to change that it would eat up them up before they could properly reform the thing.
The parties are not the same, we would not have had the minimum wage, the removal of the ban on gays in the military, civil partnerships and increasing equality for all if we had had a conservative government for the last 13 years. Sadly the infringements on civil liberties, bad laws such as the Digital Economy Act, the misadventures in Iraq, weakness on extraordinary renditions crossing UK airspace happened under a labour government, I don’t think I would be stretching too far to suppose that they would have still happened under a conservative one.
So there is a reason to vote even if the parties are full of flawed failing human beings just like us rather than political superpeople who have the solutions to everything because there are choices that can be made which will effect us all. It’s your civic duty to vote, it gives you the right to complain if you vote, it does matter, it may change a safe seat into a marginal one.
So go out and vote on the 6th May.
Unless you are going to vote UKIP or BNP please go out and vote on the 7th.