Politics, dear boy. Politics.

11 Apr

Now here’s a funny one. I know (well, I’m 95% certain) who I’m going to vote for, but I genuinely don’t know who I want to win the general election.

Regular readers (both of you) will of course remember that back in January, I blogged some “reverse-pledges” – i.e. policies I would *like* to see implemented, with the promise that I would vote for the party that bought them in. Little did I realise, a week into an election campaign, that the Conservatives would be that party!

Just by way of a recap, the ideas I thought would change Britain for the better were the introduction of a state-run Employment Agency, taking people off Job Seekers and placing them with temporary jobs until they could find full time employment; a “Right to Sell” your house to a housing association to create housing stock (and mixed income communities) whilst KEEPING “Right to Buy”, and the idea of the state not running communities, but actively encouraging communities to run themselves. A kind of less paranoid, positive Neighbourhood Watch, if you will. Scores on these doors; Lab 0, Lib 0, Con 1.

Not withstanding all of the above, I am not going to vote Conservative at this election. Simple reason being where I live, they don’t have a snowballs chance of winning. The Lib Dems, however, are only notionally about 4,000 behind the sitting Labour MP. I think I might vote them.

Why? Civil Liberties. I do not like the fact that, under the current government, suspects can be detained for up to 42 days on suspicion alone. I do not like the idea of a national ID and central database. I do not like the idea that the DNA of the innocent can be held by the state. I do not like the idea of trials in England and Wales taking place without a jury. I do not like the fact that, according to this list here the vast majority of MPs who voted against personal freedoms were Labour, and the vast majority of Conservative and Lib Dem MPs did not.

I also don’t like this story here in the Sunday Times today. Long and the short of it is that a quarter of a million people, on a CENTRAL DATABASE, got a letter from the Labour party telling them how the Tories will be bad for cancer patients.
Two initial thoughts and an afterthought: Firstly, the use of sensitive medical data for electioneering purposes is bad. With the ID card/database and DNA database debates, we were reassured that all private data held would be secure and subject to checks and balances to ensure that the data wouldn’t be misused, and that it would be held securely. Whilst, in this instance, this data is unlikely to have come from health boards (more likely private research), the fact remains that the data was appropriated for marketing reasons, which really doesn’t sit well with me.
Secondly, the sad reality for a lot of sufferers is that their disease will be terminal, and in a small number of cases those sent the mailshot will have recently passed away, leaving some upsetting mail for recently bereaved spouses and loved ones. Now, call me a cynic, but this is not the sort of thing you want to be doing during a general election campaign. Most political spinners and operators know this. The question is, was this genuine naivety by the campaigners, or was it a calculated risk? By calculated risk I mean “likely to get more people to vote Labour despite fucking a lot of people off”. Who can say?

Back to that “funny thing” I mentioned earlier. I will be voting Lib Dem, but I really don’t know who I want to win. In my mind, the chances of the Lib Dems forming a government outright are slim to none, The chances of the Tories forming a government are quite high, but then I do worry about the level of control the traditional wing of the party would have. I guess my preferred option in this election would be a Con/Lib coalition. Problem is, I can’t see many Lib Dems voting for it. Which is a shame, especially given the closeness between the parties on civil liberties.

EDIT: Oh yeah, forgot to mention the Digital Economy Bill. Having a phone line ain’t a crime, Labour.

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