Friday, March 26, 2010

No compromise

Sometimes I get a bit frustrated with the situation I find myself in. By that I mean that I don't feel comfortable about supporting any of the political parties because there simply isn't one which I completely or even mostly agree with.

In truth, most of the parties have one or even several policies that I can agree with or, at least, see some merit in - even the Labour Party (although, oddly enough for a conservative, the party I least have anything in common with is the Tory Party - but perhaps that is because I expect them to conservative which they clearly are not).

In that sense most people prioritise. They decide what is important to them politically and then vote for the party which they least disagree with. For example, the recent revival of Labour in the polls is put down to most voters believing that Labour are better placed to steer us through the economic maelstrom. It's not that they necessarily think that what Labour is doing is right - chances are they don't - but they do think it's less wrong than what the Tory party is proposing (if anyone actually knows what the Tories are proposing, 'cos I'm damned if I do).

Does that make sense? It does to me.

Essentially, what I am saying is that the party that wins elections is not the one that most people support - it is the one that the fewest disagree with. Actual support is reflected in membership numbers - i.e. the people who most agree with a political party's policies are likely to sign up as members to that party - and the fact that support for all the main political parties has waned considerably over the last 10-20 years or so is indicative of just how few people actually support the policies of the Labour, Tory or Lib Dem parties.

People still turn out in large numbers to put their X next to those parties candidates, but they do so not because they support them - they do so because they disagree with them less than they do the other parties. I've done this myself in the past. The last time I voted for a party I actually supported was in 1979 when, as a Liberal party member, I voted Liberal (hey, I was only 18 - if I can't be stupidly idealistic at 18 then when can I be?).

I'm just not comfortable in voting that way anymore. Next time I go into a polling booth I want to be able to put my mark next to the name of a candidate whose party I mostly agree with. If there was one I completely agreed with that would be even better, but such a party does not exist (and with my rather unusual mix of political philosophies they are unlikely to).

And if I'm not happy with any of the options available to me on the day I won't vote for any of them - but I will spoil my ballot paper.

For what it is worth, I'd like to urge everyone else to do the same. If you really agree with the Tory party policies then vote for them - but if you are thinking of voting for them just because you disagree with them less than you disagree with the Labour party then don't. Check out all the options too - whether it is UKIP, the Greens or BNP - and if you feel that any of those match your views better than the Tories, vote for them.

Vote for a party that you actually support. A good rule of thumb would be to ask yourself if you could see yourself as a member of that party - if you can't then you probably shouldn't be voting for them. Whatever you do, don't vote for a party just because you think they aren't as bad as the other lot.


Antisthenes said...

The answer of course is to have real democracy where every body votes for a policy not a person even less a party, shouldn't be beyond this technological age. However no doubt beyond political will.

Anonymous said...

I've given up on compromise Stan, the LibLabCon tripartite of evil can whistle, they'll never see my X again. LibDems: terminally baffled. Tories: terminally drifting. Labour: terminal. Access to democracy in England is like a a man with a full body cast wanting to scratch his backside - impossible. Take care mate.