General Election Ramblings: A Tentative Vote For Labour

This uninspiring and nasty campaign has reached almost its last ebb. All the indications paint a clear picture: none of the parties have won a ringing endorsement from the electorate.

This is very much my own view, being more of an issue voter rather than subscribing to ludicrous party loyalty. I still have not completely ruled out spoiling my ballot paper in protest, but in the end I feel I had better at least back someone.

I agree with the three parties on different issues. The Liberal Democrats might currently be the closest to my views on economics, they are centrist and have taken me out of paying tax, and don’t believe, as I don’t, that the state is the best spender of our money or runner of all our public services. In addition, Nick Clegg has impressed me the most out of the three main leaders, the least partisan and reasonable of the three. I cannot ultimately back them in isolation however as I am not as pro-European as them, and their liberal, namby pamby approach to matters of law and order run quite contrary to mine.

On which note to the Conservatives. I am a Conservative with regards to crime and how we punish it. However, their slashing of the police is counterintuitive to their rhetoric. I agree in the need for a referendum, but I question their sincerity on this pledge, less principled, more a tactic to placate backbenchers and win back UKIP voters. I agree with SOME of their tax measures, especially raising the 40p threshold for middle income earners, and the 45p rate for higher earners is more than in the majority of Labour’s time in power. Nevertheless, I see them as bereft of compassion: I do not trust them on the NHS, and measures such as the bedroom tax are immoral.

Finally to the Labour Party. I think that Ed Miliband is poor, sincere but poor. I think that he has led the party, now more resembling a student union political society than a party of government, too far to the left, in his risk ‘35% strategy’ of Lab/Lib voters. While scoring some good hits on phone hacking, energy prices and the bedroom tax, the party under his leadership has lacked coherence and has not convinced that it is a natural party of government. They have alienated business, reverted to classical tax and spend, state centralism, and I believe the leadership has woolly thinking on crime, as witnessed in Ed’s citing as causation for the 2011 riots disenfranchisement with the bankers, rather than calling a spade a spade, and describe criminality as criminality.

While I do not think that Ed Miliband is going to win or form a government, I shall probably vote for them tomorrow. I think the poorest stand to fare better under Labour, the NHS to be lest tampered with, and as a Social Democrat they are in most categories closest to my views on inequality and wages. This is not however a ringing endorsement. In the unlikely event of Labour gaining power, I am hoping that the modernising strain of Purple Labour, combined with the localism and defence of small-c conservatism represented by the Blue Labour movement, forces Ed to stop pandering to the parties left. In the more likely scenario of Labour spending another term in opposition, I hope that the afore mentioned strains shape a more serious party, Chuka Umunna, Tristram Hunt, Rachel Reeves making the party more conspicuously pro-business, with Liz Kendall, Jon Cruddas et al continuing their drive to move away from state centralisation and towards federalism and local democracy and services.

After Brands interview with Ed, the pledges in stone, and The Independent backing the Coalition, Ed seems royally fucked. I think this time next week Cameron will be Prime Minister, supported by the Lib Dems, and although I will be voting for Labour tomorrow, a part of me prefers the idea of another round of them compared to a leftwards drift and the ensuing chaos of a deal with the SNP.

What a bloody mess…

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