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How To Vote?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:54 pm
by Garth Cartwright
My first day back in the UK and I am watching Ch 4 News and it's all about tax pledges from the 2 big parties. They went out and interviewed female voters - apparently 35% are undecided on who they will vote for - and one well spoken young women said "likely for Cameron as he is already in power". Can't refute that, can you?

Anyway, it got me wondering on what you look out for when you cast your vote? Tax is not an issue for me personally as I don't earn much (I believe in taxing the rich more but as I'm not one of them this is my usual class warfare stance). I live in Peckham which is one of Labour's safest seats so, with first past the post, any vote I cast is meaningless. But I still vote every time out of duty towards some concept of democracy, flawed as it is.

My MP is Harriet Harman. She was parachuted in here - coming from a wealthy white background she is not representative of the community - and, I believe, does a competent job if being very much part of the Blairite inner circle that still holds power. I've had a local Asian guy knocking on the door about his All People's Party - not sure exactly what he stands for but he does appear to be speaking about a united, ethnically diverse party. Highly unlikely he can gain many votes as there are few Asians here and he doesn't seem to really stand for something. Last election the Greens did not field a local candidate and their manifesto is so full of woolly liberal nonsense that I can't take them seriously as a political party. In a way they infuriate me cos I am very much a greenie but why do they have to come on like the most self parodic elements of the Guardian?

UKIP are nasty. But they are correct on mass immigration being something that has, in many ways, been detrimental to working class Britain. If only Labour had picked up on this issue after Gordon Brown blew his chances when he dismissed the pensioner who challenged him on East European migration last election then UKIP might never have got the attention - and popularity - it now has. But Labour are so in bed with the wealthy who benefit most from having unlimited cheap labour that they have refused to even consider the issue. The Lib-Dems might be written off as a joke but Simon Hughes represents Bermondsey - across the road from me - and by all accounts does a very good job as a community MP. And the Tories? Nasty lot. But they have managed to get unemployment down.

So lots to choose from. But little really on offer that grabs my attention. I'd prefer a Labour govt simply for the lesser of two evils. But Blair's govt did prove it could be just as evil as the Tories. And Milliband will never do away with Trident, enforce sanctions against Israel, invest purposefully in poor communities, clean up air quality, create apprenticeships, stop sucking up to the wealthy, rule the bankers with a fist of iron and such. Anyway, most of the news is about fucking Jeremy Clarkson - for many people celebs like him are the real news.

So: what's inspiring you lot to vote? Who is making sense to you out there? Do you rate your MP? Do you care about the election? Or are too jaded/wealthy to bother? Is nationalism - as seen in Scotland and UKIP - the driving force in UK politics today? What would you like British politicians to tackle? Go on, let's hear ya!

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:11 pm
by Adam Blake
Politics in this country has followed the American model. Politicians do not serve the general public anymore and the concept of public service is out of date. Unfortunately, the people that politicians serve all earn astronomically higher salaries than politicians which makes it difficult for politicians to retain any sense of perspective. They earn £75,80 grand a year while the people they are constantly hanging out with all earn at least half a million. The politicians, understandably perhaps, feel that the jobs they do are just as valuable and they get a little tetchy about it. They figure if they hang on in there long enough and schmooze the right people, eventually they'll get a consultancy gig or a directorship which will put them in the same league as the plutocrats they serve and so the game continues.

Meanwhile, the public have no-one representing their interests at all.

Until corporate money and lobbying is removed from the parliamentary and legislative process, there will be no significant change whoever gets in - Tory or Labour. It is in the nature of the ruling class to attempt to buy power. They must be prevented from doing so by rigorously upheld legislation. This is unlikely to happen any time soon.

So... To answer your question, Garth, I always vote Green on principle. I know that the Green party are a bunch of incompetents but I feel it is important that a party that stands for the environment exists, and it could not exist if no-one voted for it. As to who is making sense to me out there: no-one, except possibly Russell Brand. An American friend of mine pointed out to me that at least they have Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. All we've got is a slightly twattish comedian. (And before anyone starts, at least Brand has a go.)

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:38 am
by Garth Cartwright
Agreed, Adam, at least Brand is willing to get out there and passionately deal with the unpleasant everyday crisis of addiction, rehab, housing etc. A pity he has to say stupid stuff like I never bother voting but i guess it comes with the territory.

I don't believe all politicians are as open to corruption as you suggest - obviously, the recent Jack Straw and that Tory twat going on about how they are for hire for £5000 a day rubs in how greedy many are - but there are still a few who see it as an honour to be elected to represent their community. And, yes, a pity we lack anyone akin to Tony Benn these days. George Galloway has blown it by constantly siding with Islamists - his disliking the US/Israel is one thing but sucking up to equally brutal reactionary Muslim thugs shows he's just playing the old skin game.

Anyway, who's your MP, Adam? Is he/she any good? It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it...

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:09 am
by Adam Blake
My MP is that Tory twat! Malcolm Rifkind. I am rather disappointed in him. I thought he was better than that. I thought he was an old-fashioned High Tory - the kind who had noblesse oblige inculcated into him at birth.

It's not so much that all politicians are corrupt as that the system itself is corrupt. A politician may have the most altruistic motives imaginable but, as it stands at present, in order to succeed, a politician has to kiss the arses of the corporate oligarchy. Britain has always been an oligarchy, after all, this is nothing new, but it used to be that politicians represented the electorate and tried to at least occasionally provide obstacles to the wealthy and powerful doing whatever they want. Thatcher put paid to all of that, of course. Since the 80s, politicians are just enablers for the corporate sector.

I repeat, until corporate money is removed from politics, nothing will really change.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:54 am
by AndyM
I will vote Labour, as I always have and (unless something profoundly unexpected happens) always will. Working in the public sector, as both me & my other half do, voting any other way would be suicidal. Of course I wish Labour was futher to the Left, but with the media prejudices as they are in this country, that would make them even less likely to win. I am fearful about the next election results, as I don't expect Labour to win a majority, and a large part of the reason for that is the galumphing and ineffectual figure of Ed Milliband, who is about as Prime Ministerial as a bag of turnips.

I couldn't vote Green, as I left Student Union politics behind when I graduated. Plus they have made such a godawful holy mess of running the local council here that they have shown themselves up to be the political inadequates they are. Their policies are incoherent at best, highly dubious at worst.

I live in a fairly marginal constituency, it includes some of Brighton's poorest areas as well as affluent suburbs and comfortable areas outside the city proper. (Caroline Lucas is the Green MP for the other, more central, more consistently well-off, more studenty Brighton constituency.) The current Tory MP is not that toxic as Tories go, and shrewd enough to court the gay vote (not that he's getting ours); and the Green vote will probably ensure that Labour is kept out, which infuriates me.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:49 pm
by will vine
They're all tinkering with the same engine. All trying to stand on the centre ground as if that's going to solve anything.

Hard as I try I cannot find anybody who reflects my own inconsistent, contradictory,poorly formed and probably illogical views.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:29 pm
by Pete Fowler
Northern working class roots and an LSE degree in the 60s result in me being a predictable cliche. Trouble is, it's not Saturday Night or even Sunday Morning anymore, more like a dull but ominous Wednesday. And Albert Finney could never have made RADA these days.

I just about managed to remain a Labour Party member (joined after the usual flirtation with groups like King Mob, the situationists) from the early 70s through to 81, but left in a huff about cruise missiles and reading too much EP Thompson. Labour is not even remotely on my radar now. Just another bunch of people with focus groups and mission statements and visions of excellence. I had to write enough of that crap to get funding when working in Liverpool John Moores. I was, would you believe, their best bid writer, roped in from all over the place, natural sciences, cybernetics, art and design, you name it, I've written it. I discovered that a combination of good dope and a handy supply of Lagavulin and my ability to 'act' out the role of the sickeningly modern technocrat was an unbeatable formula for writing unstoppable bids. I always say, whenever people ask me, that I got a Professorship for bringing the dosh in. I certainly didn't merit it for anything else.

On that note, off at a tangent as always, I conclude by saying I don't think I'll vote. I'm in a safe Tory seat, no point. If I were in a marginal, I'd vote negatively. That is, the best way to stop the floggers, the xenophobes, the parasites. Gary Barlow, he sums it up. I'd look at the list of candidates and say, 'which of this lot most despises Gary Barlow?'

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:11 pm
by alister prince
I shall vote, I always do; but with no real conviction. My local MP has been the utterly appalling Tessa Jowell. A dreadful Blairite who makes Harriet Harman look like a saintly Rosa Luxembourg. She hasn't leven got an office in the constituency. She lives in North London and her partner was that bloke Mills who was in bed with Berlusconni. Now, I'd vote Labour only if I thought a Tory would get, unlikely as Jowell's majority is bigger than the deficit. (She's retiring, but her successor looks like a clone). The Tories only have a couple of seats on the council now, the rest are Labour, so it's all inevitable. I'll most likely vote Green, yes.I know all the arguments, but at least they're anti nuclear and might prune the armed.forces to a reasonable level, (as close to zero as possible). Sadly, I'm bored shitless with it all. If the boredom could be recycled into energy and fertiliser..

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:36 am
by NickH
AndyM wrote:
The current Tory MP is not that toxic as Tories go

Presume that's ineffectual millionaire booze salesman Simon Kirby? Labour's candidate for Brighton Kemptown, Nancy Platts, is a far more attractive option. She would make a fine MP for the area.

Labour's Perna Sen was excellent this afternnon in a Brighton Centre Vegfest debate on animal welfare, chared by John Robb. I picked up a pamphlet detailing Labour Party policy on animal welfare (Labour: Protecting Animals). Good to read about positive alternatives to badger culls and Tory plans to reintroduce fox hunting. It'll be hard to choose between Perna and superb Green MP Caroline Lucas on 7th May. Most of the problems with local government in Brighton have been created by Tory cuts from Westminster. A real shame that Brighton Greens and Labour seem unable to cooperate during elections to keep the hated Tories out.

Ed Miliband seems to me to be the best leader Labour has had in years. It's great that he's dumped the toxic 'New Labour' baggage and is taking the party in a direction more critical of big business and the banks which caused the 2008 financial crash. Pompous Old Etonian toff Cameron today described those who oppose his Tory government as “hypocritical holier-than-thou, hopeless, sneering socialists”. Sneering socialists everywhere must unite and kick the Tory bastards out on 7th May.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:43 am
by AndyM
NickH wrote: Most of the problems with local government in Brighton have been created by Tory cuts from Westminster.

Not entirely. Tory cuts aren't behind the Green Party's pro-cyclist jihad against cars, which has reduced the town centre to a permanent patchwork of roadworks as more & more unwanted cycle lanes are introduced, and visitors are put off visiting the town and choose other resorts to spend their money in.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:29 pm
by NormanD
NickH wrote:...socialists everywhere must unite and kick the Tory bastards out on 7th May.
Agreed, but the national party of the left seems more concerned about kicking others out, or at least preventing their free movement.

I thought this might be an Amando Ianucci stunt, but no. Could Labour get any lower? Probably.

Leftists used to say: 'We must fight to get Labour elected. And then fight to make them keep their promises'. Now, we must fight to make sure that they don't.

I parted ways with Labour in 1991, after their support for the first Gulf War. Nothing has since persuaded me to give them my X. Living in Deptford, the MP has been Joan Ruddock, a former radical remembered for her leadership of the CND. Whilst she is a decent constituency MP, her role as an activist or a left-Labour MP, has been negligible. Her only criticism of the leadership has only ever extended to her marginalisation and lack of progress within the party echelon. She's now retiring, and the usual clone has been parachuted in to our 80%+ safe Labour seat.

There may be a readical option locally I can support - such as 'People Before Profit', or the National Health Action Party. The Anti-Cuts Left Unity candidates seem to have an anti-EU stand - a level of petty-nationalism that, quite frankly, stinks.

On the whole, I fully agree with Aly's first and last sentences. The whole Parliamentary process is a sham, and my political views have moved further away from, and against it as I've got older. Don't believe that cliché about moving to the right as you get older. All I've managed to do is to control my anger more.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:44 pm
by will vine
I make that 8 people who've contributed their thoughts about who to vote for. That, I presume, is 8 reasonably well educated and engaged and (it has to be said) male contributors none of whom can offer any real enthusiasm for the process or the parties.

Are we a representative sample? I don't know. I guess it depends on the nature of your work, rest, and play places but I hear plenty of committed voices in my day-to-day public sector existence and I have to say very few of them are left leaning.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:55 pm
by Adam Blake
That is because politicians do not represent the interests of the general populace any more. They represent the interests of the people who bankroll their parties and who will give them very highly paid jobs when they leave parliament. The general populace may not be very well educated but they're not stupid, and they are not unaware that they are effectively unrepresented in parliament. Even if your local MP is good, has their ear to the ground on local issues, does their bit for their constituents as best they can, they are still hidebound by the greater party machinery that does not care about their constituents beyond saying whatever needs to be said to convince an ever dwindling number of voters to vote for them.

Get corporate lobbyists out of parliament, jail cash-for-questions criminals, stop the revolving door of cabinet posts to corporate consultancies and British politics would be rejuvenated and the difference between Labour and Conservative would once again mean something.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:31 pm
by alister prince
The UK is the only country in the world which allows 'non dom' status. This costs us at least 18 billion a year in personal taxation. Add to this the tax losses from the multi national corporate bloodsuckers and you've one hell of a source of income. If leeches such as Philip Green were given tax bills instead of knighthoods... The Euro sceptics, complain we are ceding our sovereignty to Europe, we have long donated it to the banks, corporate wealth and all the other vampires. It's no wonder we are disillusioned.

Re: How To Vote?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:07 pm
by Adam Blake
Yah, but some of those chappies are among the PM's closest personal friends. After all, pater made his fortune from tax evasion schemes, don't you know, they paid for little David to go to bally Eton. If David were to spoil their fun, the Christmas letter wouldn't be much fun to read and goodness knows how many parties there would be that one just wouldn't be invited to.