Political Shenanigans

[EDIT Dec ’10: I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT stand by the hopelessly braindead optimism expressed below in light of the hypocrisy, bullshit and general sleazy frippery we’ve all been sickened by subsequently…]

The burning question might be, did I vote? Historically, I haven’t voted. The two-party system, to me, always feels like a choice between herpes and dysentery. This has been particularly true since Labour rebranded themselves as a centre party after the death of John Smith in 1994. If Nu-Lab were one or two hairs left of centre, that’d be the limit; and after the Iraq farce and the pending initiation of an Identity Card scheme that is straight out of Orwell, I would find it hard to view them as a leftist party at all.

Two Heads

Still, I did vote. Some people had urged me to avail myself of my ‘democratic’ right. They had a point. A wasted vote is still a gesture of sorts. So I wasted my vote on the LibDems; West Bromwich West (my current area) is pretty much a Labour stronghold and I’m sure Adrian Bailey’s a nice man. But my vote had to be against the two-party deadlock.

I felt pretty good about it, in a strange kind of way. I knew the election would be won by either Lab or Con (aka Labservative). Probably Con. I didn’t necessarily expect the result we did get. I mean, of the significant parties, only the LibDems today represent what might be called legitimate left-wing/liberal political ideas. Charles Kennedy was one of the first MPs to stand up and speak against the Iraq invasion in 2003, and was jeered loudly in the House for his stand. I admired him tremendously and found the reaction he received disgraceful. Broadly, I’ve admired the party for quite a while.

I watched the first of the leaders’ debates. Cameron and Clegg argued a lot; Brown rather obsequiously and pitifully tried to align himself with Clegg at every opportunity, ultimately to no avail. I though C&C seemed actually more similar in style and attitude, if not politics. But the Tory-LibDem coalition… is almost surreal in its implications.

It’s a sad indictment of UK politics that this is actually the best result that was possible. That doesn’t make it a good result. It could turn incredibly bad. But, it’s partly broken the deadlock. The LibDems have a chance to introduce some of their policies (albeit somewhat censored and compromised)—it’s one step beyond the Labservative dominance. So I’m trying to keep as open mind as I can. There’s one plus: the ID Card scheme’s out the window, an idea too fascistic even for the Tories to countenance. As to the rest of it… I’m watching with interest, if not actual optimism. It’s not quite the two-party bullshit we’re used to; ergo, a potential improvement, even if an incredibly tiny one.

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