Till some progress begins

A cry from the heart at Crooked Timber:

Here is the voting record of Lynda Waltho, MP for Stourbridge, from TheyWorkForYou:

Voted very strongly for allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.
Voted very strongly for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.
Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.
Voted moderately against laws to stop climate change.
Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards.

Never rebels against their party in this parliament.

I can’t vote for this.

I’m in a Lib Dem/Labour marginal, with an untried Labour contender facing a Lib Dem MP who’s had the seat since 2005, so I haven’t got quite the same problem. For the record, the Lib Dem candidate

Voted moderately against allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.
Voted very strongly against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.
Voted very strongly against replacing Trident.
Voted strongly for laws to stop climate change.
Voted very strongly for an investigation into the Iraq war.
Voted very strongly against introducing ID cards.

and

Never rebels against their party in this parliament.

If I felt I could trust a Liberal Democrat – and, more to the point, if I felt I could trust the Liberal Democratic Party, with a hung parliament around the corner – there’d be no trouble voting for this one. Unfortunately I don’t, so I’m left with a choice between the Greens (almost certainly closest to what I actually believe in, absolutely certain not to get elected, might contribute to letting the Lib Dem back in) and Labour.

So what do they stand for? More to the point, what do these specific candidates stand for? Step forward TheyWorkForYou. The three significant candidates (as far as I’m concerned) line up as follows.

“Manchester should not trial the ID cards scheme”
Green and LD: disagree
Labour: neutral.
“Somewhere has to trial it, so why not Manchester. That way, Mancunians get to be the ones to determine whether the scheme gets rolled out or not.”

“Manchester Airport shouldn’t build another freight terminal”
Green and LD: agree
Labour: disagree
“These issues are never easy, but the success of Manchester Airport has been one of the key factors to the city’s success.”

“The British government interferes too much with business”
LD: agree
Green and Labour: neutral

“Despite the recession, Britain should increase spending on public sector services”
Green: agree
LD: neutral
“There are some areas where public sector spending needs to rise – eg mental health services, increasing the number of police officers. However there are areas of spending that do need to be brought under control to deal with the deficit.”
Labour: disagree

“There are too many CCTV cameras in Britain”
Green: agree
LD: neutral
Labour: disagree

“Even if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, Britain should not support any military action against Iran”
Green and LD: agree
Labour: neutral
“While I wouldn’t support military action apart from in the most extreme circumstances, I don’t think you should completely rule it out in any circumstance – whatever that might be.”

“British troops should stay in Afghanistan for as long as they are needed.”
Green and LD: disagree
Labour: agree

So there you have it: vote Labour for ID cards, CCTV, airport development, the war in Afghanistan and grudging support for an attack on Iran. Or vote Green for none of the above – or Lib Dem for a watered-down and more business-friendly version of Green policies.

Where does that leave me? No party willing to form a coalition government with the Conservatives is going to get my vote: that’s a given. The way this election is going, his party’s policies – or even his own policies – are secondary: laughing boy has to go. A Lib Dem MP in an ex-Labour seat is a luxury we can’t afford at the moment. But I might be forced to vote Green and leave the heavy lifting to other Labour deserters – those lines about ID cards and Iran are shockers.

(Next: a post on the anti-Olsonian logic of voting, which will also have the merit of explaining my thought processes, vis-à-vis potentially voting Labour, for the particular benefit of any passing Liberal Democrats.).

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One Comment

  1. Steve
    Posted 5 May 2010 at 18:30 | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for writing this. You’ve captured exactly the problem that I think faces any left choice tomorrow. Labour just don’t inspire confidence on Iran or civil liberties, in any way, and they’ve got enough of a history of shipwrecks behind them to make me doubt their captaincy, but on the other hand, keeping the Tories out does have to be goal number one, and it’s increasingly clear that a vote for the Lib Dems will be a proxy vote for the Tories.

    In the end, I decided to follow you and use the PPC questionnaire thing. The Green candidate won handily, and given the problem of Tories bad, Labour bad record, and Lib Dem leading to Tories, I’ve decided to go with them. Like you said, I wouldn’t want them to lose their deposit, and I think there would be advantages to the country as a whole if we had a nationally-electable Green Party in the German mould. (Incidentally, the UKIP candidate is terrifying. Here is the answer to the Iran question: “The first duty of Government is to protect the people. Iran would nuke us tomorrow.” Is it just me, or is that tantamount to a declaration of war? Also, “Scientists in East Anglia made up the warming with the rotten IPCC”. She was more liberal than the Lib Dem on gay marriage though . . . )

    I can also back up your comments about John Leech; I lived in Withington until 2008, and lived with two Labour activists at the time, one who is now a PPC. They hated Leech on a more personal level than any Tory. We did have a Lib Dem activist turn up at the house one day to grouch about campaign literature, despite the fact that my housemate was simply photographed on the leaflet, and had no role in producing it.

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