Election 17: I’ll hold my nose & support Jeremy Corbyn. You should too. If you like.
It’s happened. Unelected Prime Minister Theresa May has broken her solemn promise and called an early general election. With Labour far behind in the polls, and any number of potential scandals in the future to chisel away at her wafer-thin majority, it was a sensible political decision.
Despite what legions assume about me online, I will not be voting for that nice Mr Hitler & his Nazi Party on June 8.
I will however be voting. Conatus News asked me to lay out who I will be supporting and why: and to see if I could persuade you, gentle reader, to vote with me.
First, a complication. I live in Scotland, a one-party state ruthlessly ruled by the Scottish National Party, with MPs from other parties being rarer than Hen Broon’s teeth.
Even so, there are two choices available. One, if I want to hand unbridled power to wee Nicola Sturgeon to wreak havoc in British Politics, is to vote SNP. The other, is to pretend democracy matters in a Scotland ran from Westminster, and vote against the SNP.
My natural inkling would be to vote Labour, the only party on the national scene with any chance of remotely forming a government in opposition to the Conservatives. Who I should really have said at the outset, I think are utterly useless. The last thing I want is another five years of Theresa May. Who is not my real mother.
That leaves Jeremy Corbyn, the doyen of the political constituency who thinks only saying positive things about a person or policy or thing magically makes it right, and that everyone who says anything remotely negative about unfettered mass immigration or 80s leftist economics or patched corduroy jackets is an unrepentant fascist (as alluded to earlier).
On that point I might as well be clear: I do not think Jeremy Corbyn will win. I do not think this is because the media is biased against him (it is, but he runs away from journalists, so what does he expect?), or that Labour supporters sceptical of his leadership are sellouts or turncoats or secret Tories (no-one has to justify how they vote — that’s the entire point of secret ballots), but because he is unable to reach out beyond his core constituency and his core concerns.
Promising a “fairer Britain” with “wealth spread more equally” and tax dodgers chased down to their Bermuda tax havens is all well and good: but if the best vision for Britain’s future Corbyn can conjure up with is feckin’ Venezuela, the real surprise is that he’s only 20 points behind in the polls.
Corbyn’s supporters make a big play about how popular certain of his policies are with the general public. The nationalisation of the railways, for example. Higher taxes for the rich. Scepticism over Trident. More support for the poor. A more cautious approach to foreign affairs.
His supporters make much less of his perceived (or perhaps obvious) weaknesses. He can’t control his own party. He’s a vacillator, not a decision maker. He’d have tea with Hamas and rehabilitate Isis terrorists. And, the elephant in the room, he’d be least likely to control mass migration. (With one in three ethnic minority votes in the UK going for Brexit, and many for parties other than Labour, calling this position “racist” is not going to win hearts & minds).
So, in conclusion… How I personally vote is pretty much irrelevant, because the SNP are a sure thing in my constituency. And I’m not going to tell you how to vote, or think any less of you however you vote, because what would be the point?
(What I’d like to see is the opposition parties coming together to defeat the Conservatives, or at least make life difficult for them, and to somehow keep the UK in the European Union to boot. That is not going to happen, no matter how much I individually insult people who don’t share my politics.)
I will however say this: if, like me, you want to avoid another five years of Tory rule, vote any way you can to make life as difficult as possible for Theresa May. Depending on where you are, that might be the SNP or Labour or the LibDems or the Greens. It might even be, heaven forfend, Ukip or the DUP.
I believe in democracy, and democracy is too important to hand a five year term and a potential 100 seat majority to the Conservatives, who I don’t believe have any greater vision for Britain than selling off everything that isn’t nailed down, and giving cushy contracts to old school friends.
I do not promise that any other party as a better clue, and I do fear the possibility of Labour being routed and Corbyn refusing to leave, like a mad uncle at Christmas, but not as much as I fear giving unfettered power to the very establishment that has delivered us into shit in the first place.
This is a first pass at a possible piece for Conatus News and may bear no relation to whatever they finally publish.