Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Dilemma

As a left-winger, the forthcoming British General Election is going to be quite a difficult choice for me, and probably for every other person who considers themselves centre-left.

We all know that the top of the Labour party has been seized by the Blairites. I know I can never vote for Labour again while Blair, or even a descended Blairite, is running the show. Yet, I know that by doing that, thanks to the wonders of our electoral system, I could be letting the Tories in through the back door. At least Blair is the lesser of two evils. In theory.

So how about a vote for the Liberal Democrats? Their policies are now certainly more attractive to me than Labour's. They appear to have picked up a lot of things pertaining to social liberalism that they never used to have. I suspect that's a Charles Kennedy thing. Kennedy is also a decent man, if a little uncharismatic at times.

However, I know that the grassroots of the Liberals are not quite reflective of the party. Down at the bottom, they are equally liberal on social issues, but their economical right-wing stance can be difficult to square with my mostly left-wing economic outlook too. Of course, that's not universally true, but it is reasonably extensive. Add to that the fact that local Lib Dems can be somewhat devious and very ambiguous in their politics... sometimes further right than the Tories, other times far left of Labour. This worries me.

Meanwhile, the grassroots of Labour is a mix of exactly what I'm looking for, with a rising infestation of Nu Lab, plus an infusion of slightly authoritarian Bennite socialism. It certainly is a big tent.

There are other parties, but we have to be realistic. If you're of a left-disposition, the key to placing your vote this election should be entirely tactically. Probably the most useful result in this election would be a hung Parliament with a prospect of a Labour-Liberal coalition. Of course, for this to happen, a small miracle would need to occur. It would allow for the disposal of Blair, and the sacrifice of illiberal policies such as identity cards, further erosions of civil rights, and the continuing emphasis on the private sector ethos. As well as dropping all the usual mass hysteria about immigration, we may even get some electoral reform into the bargain.

It's the only chance for there to be a completely reformist government in power that will push through the changes that this country needs.

Consequently, it's absolutely vital that you consider the local position of who is standing, and who of a liberal-left leaning is most likely to win. I will not be giving a blanket endorsement this election. The best solution is to cast your vote in such a manner that the best result for the left is achieved.

Right now I'm predicting a majority of around 80 to 100 for Labour. Continued Blair dominance, and a disowning of the EU constitution referendum so that when it fails, he will not have to offer his resignation.


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