Ok so my whole several part guide to why I’m voting labour thing has kind of stalled because I am having some difficulty with the immigration issue.  I’m more pro-immigration than Labour appear to be. I have concerns about detention centres and dawn raids. Am really struggling with this one at the moment.

But as this video demonstrates I really think there are so many amazing things that Labour has done which we are far, far too quick to forget. Its almost as though we take them for granted. Check it out.


GB’s last hope

May 3, 2010

Save for something really unexpected, perhaps Gordon Brown’s hope is some freakishly wrong bank holiday monday poll backed up by another poll sampled at the same time. If I was the Mirror I would do it.

Bank holiday polls have shown unreliable results in the past – maybe they could put him in first or equal first.  If that happens it might seize the media narrative as previous polls have done and maybe the Lib Dem vote will soften and get behind Brown.

Only fanciful if its wrong!

David Cameron

May 2, 2010

The likelihood is that I will vote Labour on Thursday, unless my pro-immigration conscience gets in the way. I wouldn’t vote Conservative in a month of Sundays. I don’t like their policies and I don’t like their ideology.I believe in a large state as the best central provision for our nation’s poor, I believe in the public sector.

But I will say this for David Cameron, our future Prime Minister, he hasn’t so much detoxified the Conservative party as uh…toxified …the Labour party.

The conservatives were nowhere on the economy when Cameron took over. Now finally, we can at last say David Cameron has had a good recession. Though Brown’s actions with the banks, and subsequent interventions have probably saved our state Brown’s greatest strength has been diminished. Though Labour’s historically socialist ideology was the answer to saving the banks, the Conservatives present their smaller state ideology as the solution to our debt problem, they say that we can’t afford a Labour party. The narrative on debt and waste has made conservative ideology on smaller government go viral. I think the public has softened its position on a smaller state. Unfortunately. The narrative on Brown’s personality has gone viral too. He’s never been able to reframe his grumpy tough demeanor as an asset.

Although I do hope that Labour are the largest party in a hung parliament, with the largest share of the popular vote, I don’t want people to simply disengage with politics for five years because their man didn’t get in. All this mud slinging between the parties is ridiculous. The policies of the three main parties will have an effect on our jobs, our standard of living, our security and our future. But it is not some kind of hardcore russian roulette, with only one missing bullet, that it justifies the extent of the vitriol directed at each of the leaders. If it is, I’m not playing.

Although the Conservatives would be my last and eighth choice for Government, I think they do have an exciting narrative. Granted I disagree with it completely, but they have a vision for localism, debt reduction and a s-s-s-smaller state and bigger society.

David Cameron and those behind him haven’t just made his party more palatable through pr, and electable through joined up policy but he’s made them more interesting. Good, fine. Now whatever you do, don’t vote for them.

It really is.

It’s Nick Clegg’s fault that we all have really got to vote on Thursday, since he has decided to interpret the results of a first past the post system not on the number of seats a party gets, but as though it were a proportional system on the percentage of the vote. (Try fitting that on Twitter)

It’s Nick Clegg’s fault that so many ‘don’t know’s and ‘won’t vote’ are engaging in politics, which so many including he have done so much to discredit over the last few years. By so many I include MPs, journalists and voters who generate or throw dirt at it.

It’s Nick Clegg’s fault that I’m writing this post.

It’s Nick Clegg’s fault that election night is going to be exciting (or terrifying depending on how seriously you take it).

It’s Nick Clegg’s fault that we finally have some proper debate on immigration with someone who is finally getting some media coverage for arguing brilliantly for increasing it (even though it sometimes sounds like he’s arguing against it).

It’s Nick Clegg’s fault that people are actually looking at Liberal Democrat policies. Even if they are a bit of a Guardian-lefty wish list. It’s Nick Clegg’s fault those policies on splitting banks, reducing nuclear arms, taking a softer line with Iran, etc are a bit mad, or at any rate, I don’t understand them.

Or, the best I read today on #nickcleggsfault:

“Still trending. Wonder whose fault that is.”

Not everyone is perfect – even politicians. Nevertheless politicians are kept to the highest standards. Of course, its not a particularly high standard not to describe a voter as bigoted.

But consider the things you’ve said about politicians. Haven’t many people said far worse? We don’t hold ourselves to the same standards that we hold them really, do we?

I know many people who read this will be living in a super safe constituency and won’t feel there’s much of a point in voting. If you have a bunch of no hoper candidates then that will make it even worse. The first past the post system can make people in these circumstances less inclined to vote. I reckon if you know someone is going to get in anyway, the likelihood to vote saturates at some point. In addition, tactical voting comes into play when you believe your chosen party can’t possibly get in. For these reasons and more, you can’t interpret the result of a FPTP system in a Proportional Representation way.

Since we are in a first past the post system it should be the number of seats which matter. Thats not an endorsement of the first past the post just a fact.

However, the Liberal Democrats have made it clear that they will be interpreting the response of the electorate through the popular vote. Although I disagree with taking this approach before we have the proper electoral reform to support it, Nick Clegg doesn’t read my facebook notes. Like yesterday’s.

So even if your chosen candidate is guarranteed to go in because its a safe seat, you should vote anyway in order to be counted in the national popular vote. #nickcleggsfault

So we’re off. It’s started. No more decent tv for ages now, except for Doctor Who. BBC News 24 finally has something to report. In the unlikely event the result of the election its not enough, theres Alex Salmond.

Ho ho.

I think I’ve made my mind up – I mean to vote Labour. Don’t ask me if I voted for them last time. Probably should have been, might have actually been a member at the time. But I really don’t recall. Something about Iraq I think.

Anyway, there’s lots of reasons I’m voting Labour. Truth. If I can be bothered I’ll try and deal with one per post, both a reason why, and a kind of apologetics about a common objection to labour.

This week I’ve been having trouble sleeping and listening to extracts on bbc parliament. Note not at the same time. The liberal democrats, or the tories (which is which?) were saying the gap between rich and poor has gotten bigger during labour’s terms in office. This has really stayed with me since I just got back from america.

I was staying in downtown LA. Both times I’ve been to the US I’ve stayed in rough areas in inner cities, the first in Camden New Jersey. Homelessness was ubiquitous. The amount of homeless people suffering from frightening mental illnesses, eating from bins, living under bridges,  it scars your conscience. I think there are many great things about the US that we need to emulate here, like their passion for sport which could help solve so many social problems here, but when I see teachers who must work over summer as waiters to pay their rent and when people are terrified of getting sick, when people are not simply homeless because of an addiction, I think we have something here worth celebrating.

We aren’t perfect, and I don’t say we’re the best in the world. But the US, the mightiest country on earth, cannot touch UK social welfare with a barge poll. Try telling people struggling to make ends meet in America its time we changed the government here.

I don’t honestly care if rich people get richer. I do support raising the minimum wage, I am so glad we’ve got one under labour. That and paternity leave, maternity pay, new deal (not perfect…), nursery places, so many things. You could double the minimum wage and still relative poverty could increase  – because I dont think relative poverty is the best measure here.

People have basic human rights, which is a part of how we should measure it, with more attention to absolute poverty than relative poverty. And we need to help people who are struggling especially now, theres so many. They might not be perfect, but I think labours done a lot in our time to change the UK for the better.

I mean don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Gordon Brown has a list of problems. I could give you a list. I even voted for him in the leadership election, as I thought the competition was uh oh…yeah. But at least he knows how to do a good U-turn, and although he may do maddening things sometimes, its better you sometimes get it right than just don’t know what you’re doing at all.

Seems he never gets any credit, this Gordon Brown. When he does something capitalist, folks say New Labours sold out. When he does something socialist like buy a bank or take over a rail line, no praise from the left.

As I said I was in california –  and didnt get a tan. I didn’t get a sunburn. I would have settled for, you know, if not a beautiful brown, at least bright red. There’s a profound political comment in there somewhere.