Friday, April 29, 2005


Before heading north, I completed my postal ballot. Up until picking up the pencil I did not who I would vote for. My head said Labour. There's little doubt, as you will have seen from posts elsewhere on this blog, that I'm your archetypical Grauniad reading lefty Labour supporter. This despite my belief in certain truisms of markets and the failure of socialism.

I was 3500 miles away for Portillo - the moment when arch Tory boy Michael Portillo lost his seat in the 1997 Labour landslide. That was the moment that buried Thatcherism. Or so we thought. Blair has shown that he can adopt and adapt the worst/best (takes yer pick) elements of Thatcherism. But, cheer I did when Portillo lost his seat.

Now, I find it hard to support my natural political party. I know the arguments. Labour has achieved much in 8 years. No other government has done so much to tackle child poverty. The economy is in safe hands. Investment in public services has never been greater. All looks rosy.

And yet, it doesn't. It's not so much about Blair's presidential style. The supposed kow-towing to US imperialism is not the issue. I firmly believe Blair thinks what he did was right for Britain - irrespective of Bush and the neo-cons. But, I believe Iraq was wrong - the end did not justify the means.

I also care deeply about the erosion of civil liberties. Post 9/11, Labour has betrayed its natural inclinations to uphold justice and rule of law.

Labour's gutter dragging anti-migrant, neo-racialist policies worry me.

And, finally. Tony Blair has stated that the most serious threat to our prosperity is climate change. Labour (and the other major parties) ignored the issue in what's been an ugly, negative, "Australian" campaign.

So why didn't I vote Lib Dem, you ask? I was sorely tempted. But, on many issues I still fail to see where Lib Dem convictions lie. My politics are conviction politics. I do not buy the "third way" or pragmatism. Charles Kennedy is very much the latter - though granted the Lib Dems do seem to have convictions when it comes to civil liberties.

But, it's the environment, stupid. The Greens may not have the answers. And, I've no illusions that they will win this or any other seat. Yet, I believed this time that I had to vote with my heart.

:: Posted by pete @ 10:00