Tuesday 20 April 2010

Election excess

For the first time in my life I am seriously thinking of voting Labour.

I have been in London for a couple of days, where my flat is in a very marginal constituency between Labour and the Lib Dems; it's currently held by Labour with about a 480 majority. I have been inundated by leaflets and letters from the Lib Dems; in the last couple of weeks, there have been 10 different leaflets, papers or letters - including personal letters to me from Nick Clegg and Vince Cable (although strangely their signatures didn't seem to indent the paper, and the ink didn't run when wetted. But they seemed so genuine they surely couldn't have been facsimile signatures).

Tuesday alone saw 3 new bits of paper including a letter from an ex-conservative telling me that he had decided to vote LibDem "because the Conservatives couldn't win here". His letter was in a hand addressed envelope - except again, if I didn't know better, the ink seemed printed rather then genuine. (And even more bizarrely, the letter from the ex-conservative was in a typeface as though from a 1960s typewriter but printed in a very slick 21st century way). My new bestfriends Nick and Vince seemed very angry - so angry that they flung abuse at both Labour and the Conservatives which implied they could never work with either if there was a hung Parliament. They misrepresented the policies and funding of Labour and Conservatives. But despite them being my new friends and despite them saying they wanted openess in politics, they didn't mention the mistakes in policy they had made (for example wanting to join the Euro and encouraging excess borrowing in the mid 2000s) and the dubious funding they had received. And again, both reminded me that the Conservatives couldn't win here.

That theme - the Conservatives can't win here - is a constant theme, repeated on each page of each bit of election material. It was even highlighted in a leaflet printed in Conservative party colours (but with the Lib Dem disclaimer in tiny print at the bottom).

In the election period and the weeks before I have had no leaflets from the Tories - obviously not ones to waste paper - and only one from Labour which rather cleverly didn't mention the Lib Dems, and tried to frighten voters by saying how evil the Tories are.

The Lib Dem strategy isn't helped by having a candidate who comes across as smug busybody you'd just hate to have as your next door neighbour. The Labour candidate is a barrister ex-neighbour of Tony Blair with large property portfolio, but hey - its easier to look after the deserving poor if you aren't poor yourself. And she comes across as quite decent on her occasional appearances on the Westminster Hour.
The thrust of the Lib Dem campaign seems to be: don't vote for what you believe in, just vote for us. And that push to vote against your beliefs makes me want to vote Labour in Islington South and Finsbury just to punish the unpleasant and OTT campaign the Lib Dems have been running there.

I think I would, if it wasn't for the fact that I am actively supporting a good candidate in Berwick upon Tweed who has a real chance of defeating a useless MP. I just hope that others in Islington South and Finsbury are pushed the same way as me.

Two final thoughts from London:
- It's very quiet. Lots of people may be stranded abroad but you'd think there'd be as many stranded here. Yet the tube, the shops, streets restaurants etc are nowhere near as full as normal. Is that to do with the economy? The lack of aircraft? The election? School holidays? Not sure.

- I walked past the Houses of Parliament on my way to an exhibition at the Museum of Garden History about the life at Great Dixter (the garden I most admire) of Christopher Lloyd (the gardener I most admire). It's a wonderful building, currently under used. It made me feel sad to think about just how much damage New Labour 's meddling has done to our Parliamentary process. (Yes, I primarily blame New Labour for the expenses scandal: read here).

1 comment:

Troy said...

You've summed up the LibDems perfectly -loathsome people!