I would describe myself as a Conservative. Very much in the British sense, not the American. Where my views would go down in certain redneck circles as Commie. I stand just to the right of centre. I believe everyone should not just be born equal but also provided the means and education to enter adult life on an equal footing. I don’t believe in an enforced equality in life. But I do believe in an enforced system to prevent inequality. They might sound a contrary pair of ideals, but they are not.
My grandfather was a Labour supporter and union member. My dad quite the opposite. I’ve switched sides myself on a regular basis. I voted Conservative in 1992 and 1997, because I believed in John Major and Ken Clarke and was thoroughly sceptical of Neil Kinnock’s manifesto. I abstained in 2001, unable to bring myself to vote for a Conservative party headed by William Hague that had run to the Tory extremists corner.
In 2005, the Tory’s went further to the right with Michael Howard, and that was enough for me. One of my final acts before setting off to Mexico was to cast my first vote for the Labour party. Even one lead by Tony Blair was a better option. I was still in Mexico in 2010. Had there been an option to cast a vote for ‘None of the above’, I would have done so. There should be that option. I wasn’t going to go to the considerable trouble of registering as a foreign voter just to spoil my ballot. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to vote for either the Tory party or Labour. Brown or Cameron? Which turd would you least like to step in?
I will vote in 2015, or earlier if an election is called. My choice has, bar any major event occurring, been made. It won’t be for David Cameron. He’s not necessarily the worst Prime Minister we’ve ever had, although he probably is the worst in my lifetime. Phrases like ‘out of touch’ and ‘attention seeker’ stand out. They are the more polite phrases. I am right of centre. He is right of right.
The Liberals would have been an option. Had they not chosen to put their lot in with Cameron in 2010. I understand their decision. Labour would only enter into a coalition if Brown stayed as PM, and that was a simply ridiculous proposition. They could have refused to enter a coalition at all, and forced the Tories into a minority government. We would have had another election by now if they’d gone that route.
But they jumped into bed with Dave and George, which was a piece of very short term thinking. You never know what you might catch when you jump into bed with a new partner, and the Liberals now have a nasty, unsightly blue rash all over them. Most unappealing. They should have jumped straight back out of bed the moment they saw the infectious policies that Dave and George were planning to poke the general public with.
So I will, of course, vote Labour. That will even the score. Two votes for the Tories, two for Labour. I might even become actively involved. It would be fun. And an experience. I’m not currently intending to become a signed up, paying Labour party member. Although I might. I can’t say I’m completely enthralled with Labour and their own policies. However, they are closer to my own views than are the alternatives. Most importantly of all, though, they are not the Conservative party. Or, at least, the current Conservative party. Which also answers the question Labour asked me when I signed up to their website – why do I support Labour? But what are my views, exactly? Well, my basic principles…
- A free education to Degree (or equivalent) level. But with places limited to what is needed in the workplace.
- A free NHS at entry point for all. But with some serious changes to the running of it. I’m not adverse a small charge to see the quack.
- A clampdown on abusive and unfair employment practices. But an easier route out for employers needing to move on employees.
- If it is too big to fail, it is too big for the private sector to manage.
- The National Minimum Wage and the Liveable Wage should be the same thing.
- Decent pensions with decent benefits. But you’ll be working till you’re 70. Because you’ll be living till you’re nearly 90. It’s about the maths.
- Investment into a justice system that should be more about rehabilitation centres rather than retribution and punishment.
- Governments and unions should be on the same side, doing the same job at different levels. Just making sure everything is fair and lawful.
- Society should be secular, neutral and free from discrimination. What people do in their private time is up to them, until they inflict it on anyone else.
- National infrastructure belongs to the nation not a corporation. What runs on that infrastructure is another matter.
- Go green and clean.
- The Social Security Safety Net is to catch people when they fall. Not for use as a hammock.
- Government should lead the way with policies and investment with regards the direction the country takes in the future. But the government should never ‘be the future’.
- The United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland doesn’t sound right. If the Scots declare independence, we rebuild Hadrian’s Wall. Maybe.
- We’re in Europe. We should stay in Europe. But Europe should be a leaner less intrusive bureaucracy. We can guide it there.
- God Save the Queen!