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Cheers - AE

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Hobson's Choice... again.

Vicki Woods writes in the Telegraph on ContactPoint, ID cards, creeping authoritarian legislation and not-police-policing, all things that have wound me up lately. When did Labour become the nasty party, she asks. Some comments suggest that they may have become nasty as recently as a certain lunch in the Granita in 1994 to as long ago as the Fabians, but really it's beside the point. What do we do about it is a more pertinent question, and one that Vicki Woods isn't asking loudly enough, though she does seem to be looking forward to IngSoc NuLabGov getting kicked out on their arses.

Now if David Cameron was in the news every day speaking out against the increasing authoritarian style of government and making a commitment to repeal as much of it as the Tories physically have time to if elected then I'd be looking forward to IngSoc NuLabGov getting taken apart in the next election, but this doesn't seem to be happening. Some long time Labour voters I know bitterly complained at the end of the 90s that the Blair government was so similar to the Major government it replaced that they wondered why the hell they bothered voting. It probably wasn't helped much by people like my father, a life long Tory voter and for many years a Conservative party member, saying things like Blair was one of the best Conservative Prime Ministers they'd had (I'm sure they were just twisting the knife a little). The point is that the parties have become so close now as a result of squabbling over the centre ground that there really is little to choose between them. Yes they're different in the details, but sometimes the devil isn't hiding in the details and instead stands proudly in general areas. And in the general area of individual freedom there really doesn't seem to be much advantage to voting for the Tories.

So as an ex-pat who retains a vote where should I use it? IngSoc NuLabGov under Gordon Clown doesn't even bear thinking about, and frankly I can't think of any serious contenders who might take over from Gordon before the next election that deserve any more trust than the wanker in chief himself. The Tories? As said, is there any real evidence that they'd change things? They may make some noises of protest here and there but do they actually intend change things back? Without any firm policy and with little sign of commitment from Cameron I don't hold out much hope. For all we know there's a little group in Conservative Part HQ working out what use NuLabGov's most repellant creations can be put to in Tory hands. The LibDems? Well, I'll give them some credit as some of them seem to have looked up the word "liberal" and noticed that they haven't been particularly liberal since, well pretty much since they formed after merging with the SDP. But they're still very pro-EU, which means the LibDems now need to get the dictionary out again and find out what "democratic" means as well.

So that's the main parties pretty much ruled out, which means voting for a likely non-winner. UKIP are at least well known and might be worth a vote, but are they interested in much beyond getting the UK out of Europe? What do they plan to do about the various abuses of power, the creeping legislation, the databases, 42 days imprisonment without trial, the extension of police powers to non-police etc? Like the Tories they don't really seem to have a policy of changing it. Likewise the BNP, but as an immigrant myself (though from the UK rather than to it) and someone who believes immigration can be beneficial can I support a rabidly anti-immigration party? No, and it's not the only reason either. The only party I'm aware of, and I didn't become aware of it until after I left Britain, that has pledged to repeal authoritarian legislation and making Britain a more genuinely free society is the Libertarian Party of the UK. But so far they haven't even contested a seat despite recent by elections. Okay, the party is less than a year old and it's early days, but who knows if they'll even stand for more than half a dozen seats in a couple of years time. Well, I think I'll register as an overseas voter and pick a constituency where someone can proxy vote for me, but frankly if there's no LPUK candidate I may not bother voting for the very first time in my adult life. Of course I'll probably be compelled to vote here under Australian electoral laws which famously make voting compulsory. Fortunately there is a libertarian party here too, the Liberty and Democracy Party. While I doubt many seriously expect them to win they've been around longer than the LPUK and since they've fielded candidates in a few elections they are beginning to get noticed.

It may be unfair of me but I'm going to have a little bet with myself. Here in Australia the LDP will continue to improve their share of the vote and life in the UK will continue to become less free, government more authoritarian and the British people more pissed off. Whether the LPUK can make the most of it and become a force for change is probably up to them. I wish them luck.


IanPJ said...

A very well written piece, well done.

I can tell you that although we have not yet put our name to a ballot, being less than a year old, we at the LPUK are building the party structure day by day.

Come 2010, LPUK are aiming to field a candidate in all constituencies and look forward to standing, and hopefully replacing all 646 MP's with people with honesty and integrity upon whom the people can rely.

That is the aim, reality may be a little different but we shall have to wait and see what shape the party, and the country, is in by then.

As they say in the media, Watch this space.

Angry Exile said...

Glad to hear it Ian, and I certainly will be watching. As I said, if there's a Libertarian standing in whatever constituency I pick to register as an overseas voter they can be sure of at least one very long range vote, possibly more if other ex-pats care enough about the old place.

I think the reality will indeed be different, and perhaps more than a little. Vast numbers of people will robotically vote for NuLabGov and the Tories and the LibDems because they always have or because their parents did or because they're not the party that they've decided to dislike. For millions the policies of the main three are simply irrelevant because they'll vote for them anyway, or at the very least not vote for anyone else. It's a big hurdle for the LibDems let alone small young parties. Hardly unique to the UK of course - same here in Oz, same in the States. I think somehow being a floating voter needs to be made trendy and voting for a party that's highly unlikely to win nothing to be ashamed of. People support football clubs that they don't expect to win trophies, so why not parties?

Vindico said...

if you want to find out about UKIPs policies they are downloadable from the UKIP website. More will be launched at conference next weekend.

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