Not long until election day. This has been an exciting election campaign hasn’t it?
Nice to see everyone still hates immigrants and knows that anything approaching honesty with the electorate is going to be punished. I suppose that is why no one has released details on more than 25% of the the spending cuts sorry, efficiency savings, they are going to make from May 7th.
Regardless, this election has been far from the boring pick you favourite colour that I had worried it may have been. As a political blogger I suppose I’m not really the person election campaigns or the leaders debates are aimed at. I care far more about policy than the average voter. Unlike much of the electorate it seems I care more about electoral reform than who cram the most “tough”s into a speech about Law and Order.
But I hope my readership, such that it is, care about what I’ve got to say on the election. I’ve got a vote to cast I am going to tell you who’s getting it.
My vote will be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats and their local candidate David Rendel.
Despite that fact that I am drawn to Labour by instinct I have not contemplated voting Labour for a variety of reasons. One is predominantly tactical. I live in a seat that has never returned a Labour member and maybe never will.
As you can see, it really is a two horse race here in Newbury. Labour can’t win here, as the leaflets say. In 1993 it was won by David Rendel of the Liberal Democrats with a swing of 28.4% from the Tories. Only the third non-Tory MP for the area since 1900, David Rendel lost the 2005 election to the Conservative Richard Benyon. David and Richard are facing off again in their 4th meeting.
I have a good liberal candidate in David Rendel and he has an admiral voting record in parliament from when (data from They Work for You). David has never voted on replacing Trident but I know and support the Lib Dem line that it would be foolish and wasteful to renew it.
Has never voted on replacing Trident. votes Voted strongly for removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. votes Voted very strongly for a wholly elected House of Lords. votes Voted very strongly for equal gay rights. votes Voted very strongly against introducing ID cards. votes Voted very strongly against introducing foundation hospitals. votes Voted very strongly against the Iraq war. votes Voted very strongly for an investigation into the Iraq war. votes Voted strongly against introducing student top-up fees. votes Voted moderately against greater autonomy for schools. votes Voted very strongly for the hunting ban. votes Voted very strongly against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws. votes Voted for laws to stop climate change. votes Voted a mixture of for and against introducing a smoking ban.
Like I said I am lucky to have a good candidate in my area however, as seen below, David Rendel is hardly a working class hero, but then the Tory Candidate Richard Benyon is the great-great grandson of former Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury.
But with me personality and somebody’s antecedents never matters as much as policy and I like the Liberals’ policies.
Importantly this election there are substantive policy areas where I am closer to the Lib Dems than I am to any other party and there are large areas where I disagree fundamentally with what Labour have done while in power.
What I have seen on topics I care about such as immigration is a Labour Government behaving every bit as bad as a Tory one would have. That alienates me and although I’m used to supporting least worst options, its hard to get motivated.
Why some argue their plan to raise the tax threshold to £10,000 does nothing for the poorest it does something for me, which lets be honest I won’t complain about. This policy also goes some way towards making the move out of the poorest into the less poor into even more attractive. Simple and fair even if it appears I must break ranks with Chris Dillow on this.
As I’ve said, I like their policy on Trident and they are less cut happy than the Tories are. Their general position is something I can support this May 6th.
Of course not everything the Lib Dems do is perfect. The Lib Dem policy on immigration is disappointing, but then whose isn’t? From their manifesto we have the unavoidable acknowledgement of the good immigrants do before explaining what to do about them. Regardless of their bizarre, illiberal, probably unworkable and economically illiterate policy to force immigrants to stay where they think jobs are (rather than let them go where jobs actually are) this is an improvement on the Labour position.
Exit checks should never have been abandoned and I’m glad the Liberals are bringing them in (The Tories in the mid-90s), the public and officials need this information. That the final policy promise in their manifesto has to be to not deport people to be murdered or tortured shows how far down the road to barbarism we have come, but I welcome its inclusion. Likewise, the end of indefinite detention for immigrants is a good move. Their proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants is something I’ve marched for so I am happy to say I am more enthusiastic about this than Nick Clegg. Like Sunny and Chris the Lib Dem immigration policy is the least inhumane of the alternatives.
Importantly these days the Lib Dems also want to clean up politics. Proportional representation and the removal of “safe” seats is something I support to these ends. Not only would it give you and I a more powerful voice in elections but it would bring the a plurality to party politics that is badly lacking in this country.
I’m voting for the Lib Dems on the 6th May, maybe you should too.