05 May 2010

I Kick Men's Asses, and I Vote

The waiting is over. After almost three years of uncertainty, since Brown's ascension to the Premiership, it is the turn of the people to register their opinion. It looks as though it will not be favourable to him, or indeed to many Labour candidates.

Prior to attaining his goal - Leadership of the Labour Party - Brown spent 13 years planning for The Day, when Brown would walk into 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister. But judging by the way the Government has hiccuped from one fiasco to another, it seems that no thought was given to The Day After, when Brown would have to start work. We've seen promises made and broken, we've even seen stark, cold reality denied. Yet somehow, there was surprise that he might have been - surely not! - insincere to a senior citizen last week. He's been insincere to every one of us for years.

Alas, the alternative is less palatable. I can't help but hum the opening bars to Let's Face The Music And Dance: I am still not satisfied that I know what the entry of David Cameron into Downing Street will mean for, well, anyone.

Then there's the dire deception of the Liberal Democrats - "It can be different! Vote for what you believe in!" says Nick Clegg. "Only we can beat the Keep Clackmannanshire Smiling Party! Vote for anyone else, and they won't win!" crow local candidates. "Vote for someone new, vote for change, but not those bastards because they're not relevant to the result!" Vacuous, yet vicious.

So it's a point of frustration that on my ballot paper, there won't be an SNP option: candidates willing to stand up for their constituents rather than roll over to their leadership; a party with clear principles and policies designed to keep the country moving. I would urge those readers (and that's most of you) who have the SNP option on your ballot paper to use it. The SNP Government has spent three years delivering real, positive change at Holyrood as opposed to the stagnation of the previous Executive. That progress needs to be augmented by a solid team of SNP MPs to act as their constituents' voice at Westminster rather than their party's voice in the constituencies.

As for me, I still haven't decided. The three big UK parties don't resonate with me and I don't have a Green candidate to vote for either. My choices are limited and I must reflect on how to act. I take my vote seriously.

And that's why I oppose all calls for tactical voting. Where possible, it's best to vote for what you believe in, otherwise you perpetuate the 'two-horse race' with a pair of nags you didn't really like, the same Hobson's Choice that exasperated you when you looked at the last results. There might be hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people who believe as you do, but vote for something else simply on the strength of a bar chart. Not this time. If you believe in a party, in a policy, or if you simply believe that out of the choice you have, one party's views are closest to your own, then vote for it. With the outcome as uncertain as it is, and a worldwide climate as grim as it is, we need a clear bedrock of principle on which to build a programme. That doesn't mean that we need a clear majority. It does mean that we need candidates whose presence is derived from concrete policies rather than the performance of their party in 2005. We need belief, not barcharts.

But ultimately, my main call is simply to vote. It's easy to say, "Don't vote, it only encourages them" but the reverse is true: could the expenses scandal have spun so wildly out of control had we been paying attention to our politicians? Did the falling turnout tell our representatives that few people were bothered anymore, and they could get away with anything they wanted but no matter how angry we got, we wouldn't do anything about it? I believe that it did: our apathy led to their complacency. Whoever we vote for, by turning up and placing an X in a box, we do send a message: that we are watching. That we are interested. That they will put us first or they will face the consequences. I ask all of you who haven't voted by post already to send that message tomorrow.

My mantra is as it was last year.

I Kick Men's Asses, and I Vote.


Mark MacLachlan said...

If it's Asses you're after Will, I present you with the finest Labour ass in all of Christendom...


commentor said...

I'll be voting for Notorious L.I.N.C.O.L.N, as always.

Will said...

Mark, that poor ass has clearly suffered enough cruelty!

And commentor, Notorious L.I.N.C.O.L.N. does not kick men's asses or vote - He Gets With Ladies But In The End They Do Not Like Him!

commentor said...

I'm now left wondering if Will has an assetbar account. Achewood is much more important than all this politics nonsense.

Will said...

I don't have an Assetbar account, but I do check Achewood enough to know that it's not easy to give bad news to Charlie Brown. :)

Allan said...

Sorry, but I voted Lib Dem. If the SNP can't behave like Renfrewshire's Champions. What hope have they in being effective champions for Scotland.

I've said this before, and it bears repeating. I seriously think the SNP have missed a trick at this election.