I’m done with sitting on the fence. I’ve read Polly Toynbee’s appeal that left-thinkers should hold their noses and vote Labour, and Francis Beckett’s rebuttal. And from non-Guardian sources: blood & treasure, ellis sharp, harry’s place, guido fawkes, and chicken yoghurt. Many other pro or anti-Labour sources out there, but there’s a limit to how many one can read. Everyone has an opinion, even those who claim to be apathetic non-voters. None of this has really helped me decide for myself. And every quiz I’ve done leads me to the Lib Dems or whoever is left of Labour. (I’m slightly suspicious of a couple…)
And let’s not forget there are three other ‘minor’ party candidates standing in this constituency. The SNP and SSP aren’t really for me. Which leaves the Scottish Greens, who are a one-track party, but at least they’ll be consistent. Also, if more than 5% vote for Mark Sydenham, he’ll get his £500 back, which is not to be sniffed at. Plus, it would be a case for putting my vote where my money is. We make an effort to buy local & responsibly-farmed food as much as possible (sometimes I crave aubergines and exotic fruit), try not to fly too often, own a hybrid car (compromise solution… we know it’s better not to have one, and we walk to work and the shops by preference), and other wishy-washy things.
I’ve done quite well out of Labour’s spell in charge, and I’m sure I would do equally well if the Tories or the Lib Dems come into power. This time, instead of voting for my own bank account’s well-being, I’ll vote to appease my conscience. It’s not a protest vote in a childish fashion. It’s a conscious choice, in the hope that more people will realise that sooner or later, however much blue (tax cuts) red (public spending) or yellow (personal freedom) promises the main parties make, rectifying the damage we’ve done to the environment is important too. One-topic parties don’t make much of an impact on government policies, but they can at least lodge motions that lead to debates. There are Green MSPs and MEPs (thanks to proportional representation), and they are able to raise environmental issues (however flaky some of them may be). Proportional representation has gone down pretty well in Scotland, and might just work for Westminster too. Only problem is that other single-topic parties of a more right-wing nature can also sneak in. But that’s democracy for you…
However the UK votes tomorrow, it will return a right-of-centre House of Commons. I’m voting as left as I dare to even it out. Perhaps enough non-apathetic voters will do the same.