Political Rants

I have never voted for Labour. Today, that changes.

Yes. My big 2017 snap election secret is out. It still feels very weird to say, but hear me out.

My polling history has been sketchy at best, I have got to admit. I have had a huge overhaul in ideals and priorities in the last 5 years, which has resulted in my political standpoint moving more and more towards the left hand side of the spectrum.

My original party of choice was the Conservatives. Yes, I know. Again, hear me out.

They were something different, in a world where my views were slowly developing and growing, a disillusioned teen viewing the end of the Labour years, the financial crash, and the beginning of the end of New Labour. I had witnessed war in Iraq, terror in London, and a significant amount of struggle from people facing the brunt of poorly regulated banking systems and poor investment.

David Cameron and his new form of Conservative Party was a breath of fresh air, or so it seemed at the time, and I, like many others, was caught up in it. The 2010 election, the Conservative-LibDem coalition.

Despite being too young to vote at the time, I supported the Conservative campaign, I was a blue, a Tory, to the utter despair of people I knew, die-hard Labour supporters, friends. I went along with it all, I supported austerity cuts, because we needed to cut the deficit, we needed to get the budget back on track and reduce spending. It all made sense, but it didn’t play out that way.

It is bizarre to consider that, if the Tories were successful in their austerity, and removed the deficit by the 2015 election, I, and many others, may have had a soft spot for the government – maybe even praising them. But that didn’t happen.

The deadline kept on extending, and extending, and extending, and now we have moved on from a 2015 goal to end the deficit to a 2025 goal to end the deficit.

With the goalposts constantly moving further and further away, it became less and less possible to justify the cuts that the Conservatives were, and still are, making. They have made serious and damaging cuts to the NHS, started the privatisation of Royal Mail, cut funding for poor students, and a significant amount of other cuts that hurt the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the young. How can someone still have faith in a party that has done nothing but take, and provide tax relief for the rich? Give or take a universally approved marriage equality bill, of course.

With all of this in mind, I made my switch to the Liberal Democrats. I voted for them the first time in the general election in 2015. I had seen through the unfair press they were getting as the minority party in the coalition. They made hard decisions and restrained a much more vicious Tory party than what we were expecting. They provided balance and security, and paid the price for it, as the Tories blamed them for the poor results and took the positive ones for themselves, something that they still do now.

Since then, I have been a Liberal Democrat. To my knowledge, I am still a Liberal Democrat. I have been a member of the party for over 2 years now, and very much defend the party and its core values. It holds a very major part of my political identity, with key figures such as Nick Clegg, Norman Lamb, and, possibly controversially, Tim Farron all inspiring me to be more involved in politics and form my liberal identity.

However, the 2017 election is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before on a political front. Half of the country is still reeling from the Brexit result, and the concept of a Tory Hard Brexit seemed inevitable until the election was called. The snap election that was, in my opinion, just a tool to take advantage of a fractured opposition and gain more seats. The Copeland by-election, the constituency next to mine, most certainly played a major part in this election being called. The Tories took an old Labour stronghold, an ex-Shadow Cabinet’s constituency, almost out of nowhere. Theresa May is intending on having that trend stretch further into Labour’s turf, gaining an even stronger government to have full and comfortable control over the Commons.

This is where strategic voting comes into play.

My local constituency has been a Labour stronghold for years. Tony Cunningham was the MP for 14 years before Sue Hayman took over in 2015, and Dale Campbell-Savours held the seat for an incredible 22 years before that between 1979 and 2001. For the first time in decades, that seat is at its most vulnerable, with the Conservatives trying its hardest to extend its support in the North.

Let’s not get just put my decision down to strategic voting, either. Sue Hayman is a pretty great local representative for the constituency. She has fantastic values, has fought hard for local concerns in the Commons, and has worked tirelessly throughout the entire election campaign. I know, I subscribed to her email updates and her schedule has been airtight at times. She even took time to go door to door, and spoke with my grandparents, sending them correspondence with an update on their concerns afterwards, too. It’s a fantastic work ethic and shows off a person who cares deeply for her party and the people in her Workington constituency, whilst my local LibDem candidate has been mostly mute, with most of the LibDems in the area’s concern being on Farron’s seat in Westmorland and Lonsdale. I just don’t feel obliged to vote for my party’s candidate if there is a better one available that would keep the Tories out of the area at the same time.

I must admit, too, that it goes beyond my local MP. The Labour manifesto very much speaks to me, and appeals to me in a lot of ways, sharing my views with a significant amount of their policies. I like Jeremy Corbyn, I think he is a breath of fresh air in modern politics, a man who has stuck to his guns through hardship and prosperity. I am not scared of him, far from it. He is not a man deserving of fear, unless your ideals are against a progressive, liberal movement, he is a man who has not let public opinions define him. He has done the dirty work when he has needed to, negotiating with the IRA to try and resolve the issues going on at the time. Having a discussion with terrorists doesn’t make him a terrorist sympathiser, it makes him better than the terrorists, he hasn’t resorted to violence to achieve a goal. This is the exact type of man who should be in charge of international conflict, whether political or military.

I do not have entire faith in the Labour manifesto, however. I do not think all the aims are achievable in one term, or at least not fully. Restructuring funding for the NHS, buying back the Royal Mail, and setting up a public energy company to drive down prices would take a hell of a lot of effort alone, never mind entirely scrapping tuition fees and reorganising them to a structure that works.

However, I’d very much rather a Labour manifesto that meets most of its goals, as opposed to a Tory government that is allowed to enact their manifesto in its entirety.

I feel like that is enough from me right now. I will be posting as the election day continues. But I feel like I have said enough for now.

If you are registered, go out and vote. I’d rather you didn’t go for a Tory option, but regardless of who you would vote for, exercise your right to vote. It’s important.

Happy Election Day, everyone.

Corey x

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Politics in the UK: The Tories, more resignations than The Thick of It, and the opposition parties rising from the ashes.

Not writing related, but I thought I’d do a little comment piece on the UK general election.

So, another general election has came and went in the UK. When everything looked dead-set on a hung parliament with a slight Conservative majority, the smaller parties made their voices known. The Green Party, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and UKIP all ended up coming forward to provide significant voices through the entire election campaign, with expected victories for SNP and UKIP, and the fall of the Liberal Democrats to a fraction of the seats they had in 2010.

But, as you can see, that isn’t the case, and the Tories got a majority government seemingly out of nowhere, going beyond even the predictions of the exit polls, which is something that nobody expected after such a hit and miss coalition government, and a shaky campaign by Cameron.

As a Liberal Democrat, the election was depressing enough, but sitting around and moping about what has happened is a bit pointless now.

What is more interesting is the aftermath, which resulted in the resignations of three party leaders, the rise in memberships for the Liberal Democrats, and anti-austerity rioting in London that would make Leanne Wood proud.

Admittedly, the resignation of Nick Clegg is the least surprising, seeing his party lose all but 8 seats in parliament after being unable to survive criticism from raising tuition fees and often getting the blame for the Tory policies being passed, instead of policies that they put through themselves.

Miliband and Farage, however, were a bit more odd. Miliband, whilst suffering the worst Labour result since 1987, could have easily stepped up to fight as the opposition after the defeat, understand why he lost, and work on a better Labour manifesto for the 2020 election, as well as trying to win back seats in by-elections. This means that the two biggest English parties in the opposition now have a leadership election which completely distracts everyone from the Tories pushing forward with the scrapping of the Human Rights Act and appointing Michael Gove.

Farage resigned after his party gained one seat and he ended up losing his battle for South Thanet, before immediately stating he might run for the leadership role again in the summer. It’s pretty odd, because UKIP were never expected to get more than 2 seats according to opinion polls all through the election campaign, and it wasn’t even a catastrophic loss, with 12.6% of the vote.

After the hangover of the election, however, has been a lot more interesting for the LibDems. The Liberal Democrats have had over 5,000 people join their party after their crashing defeat at the polls. This all leads me to suggest that the Liberal Democrats may well come back exceptionally strong in the 2020 election. Sorry to say it, but Nick Clegg resigning has probably done the party a significant amount of good. Him staying would have kept the tuition fees situation stuck to the party for even longer than it already will be (because they have kinda pissed off a significant amount of the next generation voters…). However, the surge in membership will not only provide more support for the party, but also will give them more opinions on future policies, the direction of the party, and of course, the choosing of the party’s next leader. Not to mention the fact that these new members provide extra choices for MP candidates in the future…

This gets me onto the Labour Party, and more specifically, their monumentally important leadership election. With famous faces such as Tristam Hunt, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, and Chuka Umunna being suggested to make leadership bids, the only person to have confirmed their running for leadership is my own MP, Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West. Whilst there is little news on this topic so far, Liz was interviewed on Sunday Politics, where she stated where Labour went wrong, and what should be next for her party. She sounds like she has big ideas for Labour, but with no other candidates coming forward as of yet, there is a lot more to discuss on this.

Of course, there is also the anti-austerity protests that have been happening in London and Cardiff, too. Whilst it is all fine and well sharing your political opinion in the form of protest, some of it got out of hand, resulting in at least 15 arrests and graffiti on a Whitehall war memorial. It’s okay to make your voices heard, but where were these people literally 3 days ago when people were voting? You can’t complain about the outcome of an election if you don’t make direct attempts at spreading alternative options to the party you don’t like. Even if you do complain now, you don’t have to be a dick and be violent, as well as spraying paint on war memorials. Stuff like that directs attention away from the reasons behind the protest itself, as well as giving the opposing arguments even more strength by passing you off as “violent rioters” and being “disrespectful”. Hence the BBC’s article being heavily biased towards the negative aspects of the protest, and away from the monumental shitstorm of cuts that the Tories are going to put in place. Don’t give them a chance to report negative things, because that’s all they will report.

These have been a few comments on what’s been happening recently and my opinions on them. If you wish to comment on anything, feel free to leave comments on the page!

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