So. Here we are on the eve of the election and I’m nervous – pretty much for the first time – about the outcome. I’ve always voted Liberal Democrats because the only party I’ve known since voting age has been a Labour party pursuing an increasingly Conservative agenda and before voting age I lived through the sleaze of the Conservatives. I voted Liberal Democrats with the expectation that people would be surprised, that they would see it as ‘wasting’ a vote on a party that couldn’t possibly win the election. However, I never saw it like this. I always viewed the tactical voter or the voter choosing only a party that they thought might win as wasting their vote. For what can be more of a waste than voting for the party that you do not really want in power?
Before the first TV debate I asked a question on Twitter along the lines of ‘will anyone be voting Lib Dem, because I’m sick of people saying they would like to vote Lib Dem but they then do not because they won’t get in’. I received a lot of responses suggesting that they would be voting Lib Dem, largely because Labour had let them down and the Conservatives are a terrifying alternative. However, it wasn’t until after the first TV debate that a Liberal Democrat vote really started to vote for something, and after that point the right-wing press constantly attacked the party to confirm that perhaps they were a realistic option after all.
Now, suddenly, it seems as if people who once merely claimed that they would like to vote Liberal Democrat, might actually vote Liberal Democrat when the time comes. I’m genuinely excited at this prospect. However, because of the electoral system in this country Labour and Conservatives may not gain much more of the overall vote, but still seem likely to win a huge amount more seats than the Liberal Democrats. This system is likely to either create a hung parliament with a stand off between Labour and the Conservatives, or it will provide the Conservatives with a narrow victory.
I am dreading a Conservative victory. I work in Further Education in one of the most deprived areas in Wales and one of the target zones no doubt for Conservative attacks on the long-term unemployable, disabled or just poor people in general. During the third TV debate Cameron launched his evening with an attack on the welfare state, and there is every reason to expect he would launch any Conservative victory in exactly the same way.
I’m extremely distrustful of Cameron’s glib pledge to ‘fix Broken Britain’; firstly, because ‘Britain’ isn’t broken, it just seems that way if you read certain dreadful right-wing newspapers; secondly, because any parts of society that do require fixing – such as the vicious cycle of poverty, crime and failure – are not going to be fixed by hollow phrases about ‘getting people back to work’ or ‘giving responsibility back to volunteer armies’; and finally because the Conservatives seem to believe that small government can fix big problems, but haven’t explained in anyway how. All we do know is that the Conservative candidates have no experience of how the vast majority of people live in the UK, and they couldn’t give a damn about the poor.
I also cannot talk about voting without mentioning the disgraceful behaviour of the press telling us who we should vote for and why this is the best reason for us to vote Liberal Democrat. Think of it this way: Tony Blair cozied up to Rupert Murdoch for his support and then bent over for Murdoch after he was elected. Likewise, if the Conservative Party are elected they will owe the press for turning their newspapers into extended Conservative leaflets for the past 3 weeks, if the Daily Mail doesn’t agree with a progressive policy (this is hypothetical, I know I’m talking about the Tories here) then they will do all they can to force Cameron to back down – much like they did with Labour over drug classification.
Now, imagine that Nick Clegg is in power and wants to force through some progressive policies that has Dacre and other shit-stained editors frothing at the mouth. He and his party have already received every possible attack from the right-wing scare-sheets during the run-up to election, so not only does he not owe them anything, he can also safely ignore their opinions. If the Liberal Democrats can get elected without press support, why would they want to court it whilst making policy decisions? Wouldn’t it be lovely to have scientific policy, for example, dictated by scientists and experts rather than the constant interfering, lying and badgering of the Daily Mail?
I hope I wake up on Friday morning to find out that Cameron hasn’t won. However, if he does scrape a majority then I know his slash and burn policies, his elitism and his total lack of appreciation of how powerful the ‘little people’ are will lead to civil unrest. At the end of their term – if they even survive this long – the Tories will be thrown out by a landslide to give way to genuine electoral reform and they will never govern again. Every cloud and all that.
That, though, is a long way off. For now I will be voting Liberal Democrat and urging others to not vote for a Tory party that really does offer them nothing, unless they just happen to be very rich.