I think I’ve decided today that I’d be voting Labour. The logic is below, not to try and persuade you to do likewise, but more to work through my reasoning out loud.
Before we start, it’s important to realise that I’m not looking for local representation in an MP. The four East Renfrewshire councillors are who I turn to when I need help with stuff nearby (generally cycling-releated, you’ll be amazed to hear). If that fails, there’s then my MSP. As far as I’m concerned, the MP is just a token lobbed into a bucket to indicate how I want the UK to be run.
You might think completely differently. That’s OK.
In East Renfrewshire, then, I have a choice of four parties to pick from: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, or Scottish National Party.
Here’s how they’ve done over the past three elections:
To start with, I’ve knocked out the Lib Dems. After the 2010 coalition with the Tories when the Lib Dems rolled over on pretty much every promise they made, it will be a very long time before I consider voting for them again. I’d rather create a satisfying spoilt ballot.
Talking of which – the Tories. I’m naturally left-wing so struggle to agree with much of their manifesto, but I’m not even sure what they’re arguing for any more. So much of their campaign has been attacks on other parties, savage personal abuse, and delegation of any kind of responsibility for the various ills that afflict our country at the moment. As far as I can tell, May’s core justification for my vote is that she’s not Corbyn. If that’s the best option you have for drumming up support, then it’s a pretty poor show.
It particularly irks me when a party tears into the costings within someone else’s manifesto, when they haven’t even bothered to publish their own.
So, not them. Gods, let it not be them…
That leaves the SNP, and Labour. I’d be content with either, but over the last fortnight Corbyn has really impressed me. I like their manifesto; I support the idea of investment in education and public services; I’m content that to do that we have to make greater personal contributions to society through tax; but above all I like that he sticks to his opinions and decisions, even when it’s clear that it’s costing him votes.
I don’t want a leader for the UK who tries to make everyone happy. That isn’t possible, and it results in stagnation and half-measures. I want someone who sets out what they believe in and what they intend to do, and invites support on that basis, and that basis alone. For example, I imagine it’s not easy standing on a manifesto that will take money away from the richest individuals in society, when almost all of the UK media is owned by rich individuals. It would have been easy to have not included the Corporation Tax increase to blunt their attack – Labour didn’t, and it makes me more likely to vote for them.
The SNP campaign has been odd – I haven’t heard much apart from the committment to a second independence referendum. That makes me worried that people who didn’t want that the first time (which, after all, is most people in Scotland – just) will switch to either Labour or the Tories. It only needs 9% of the folk voting in East Ren to switch from SNP to the Tories, and we’d return a blue MP. Independence was a fierce topic up here back in 2014 (I wrote about it here) – I fear it’s sufficiently polarising to create that kind of shift.
So, I’m left with the decision:
Do I vote for SNP and for a manifesto that I can get along with, with the hope that their bold Indy2 plans don’t sink their chances?
Or do I vote for Labour, with their manifesto and style of politics that gives me great hope for the future?
At the moment, I think it’ll be option two.
Let’s see what kind of UK Friday brings us.
PS: It’s late. This probably isn’t my greatest piece of writing…