PURDAH LIKE IT’S 1999 : An Announcement

Hello BTLers.

It’s been a little while, I know. Since last we spoke, the election train has chucked a load of coal in the engine, released the brakes, and is now slowly starting to chug out of the station.

We’ve seen the opening salvos of what seems destined to be a vicious few weeks, with blame-games and insults being thrown around with the nillest of willies.

We also have some intrigue in a report that Number 10 is trying to suppress about Russian interference in the referendum, a new speaker, the concept of tactical voting and Nigel Farage stepping in to cock up the one thing he’s been so desperate to deliver for about forty years.

But, dear reader, I have some news. While I am going to do my best to keep Between the Lines going over the next few weeks, I’m not going to be able to cover the election as much as I would like.

This is because I am now working for the Liberal Democrats.


WHODDA THUNK

Yes, I know. I lambast and belittle Johnson and Corbyn as frequently as a trip to the urinals after your sixth pint. I furiously wrote about how appallingly Johnson had acted in trying to bypass Parliament, and I lambast the way that Corbyn wants to take us back economically, politically, and socially to the 1970s.

It’s almost I’m some sort of chap who likes Democracy, and Liberal policies.

I’ve been a Lib Dem supporter for years now, ever since the coalition government. This is ironic, considering that the reason why the Lib Dems found themselves in the political wasteland until only recently was due to their going back on their word during that period.

But the Liberal Democrats drove what I liked about that government. 5p plastic bag charge? Lib Dem policy. State pension triple lock, ensuring pensions were protected? Lib Dem policy. Same-sex marriage?

Yep, you guessed it. Lib Dem policy.

Also, the B-word. I have always tried to write impartially about Brexit, and I will never, ever, say that those who voted to Leave should be told that they got it wrong. They didn’t, but I do believe that the lies, overspending and suspicious activity of the Vote Leave campaign should also really be talked about more.

But Brexit, at its core, is a hugely damaging decision. Not just financially (and it will be a major financial faceplant), but diplomatically – we have a seat at an entity big and strong enough to compete against the US and China in terms of trade.

To throw that away to pursue the vision of historical, empirical glory is utterly bonkers, to me.

I will be honest – the Lib Dem position on Revoking Article 50 without a referendum is something that I have my doubts about. But I do understand why that’s their policy – they are now, legitimately, the only party that is openly campaigning to Remain, rather than Labour’s renegotiated deal followed by a referendum.

Ending Brexit by revocation is also the only way that we make this Brexit mess go away immediately. If we pass a Johnson deal, or leave with no-deal, the negotiations for the future trading relationship will go on for literally years.


LIB DEM SPIRITS UP

It made perfect sense for me to support for the party that espouses these values, and I somehow managed to snag myself a job writing for them. It’s literally my dream job, and I feel incredibly lucky.

I’ve been told about some of the stuff coming in the Lib Dem manifesto, and it sounds brilliant. So many of the issues that I care about are at its core, and I think it should be well-received by the wider public.

I have adored creating Between the Lines, and I’m so lucky in that I’ve been able to express my deep interest in and burning fury at our national political meltdown through writing for you all.

But there’s been one itch it hasn’t quite scratched.

I want to help make society better. I know, I know, some of the kinder of you right now are saying “Oh, glorious BTL editor” (and if you’re not you should be), “you are already making society better by explaining things to us.” Which I sincerely hope is true, and why I will make every endeavour to keep Between the Lines going as much as possible.

But I really do believe in the Lib Dems, their vision for a progressive, fairer and forward-thinking Britain and I really want to help them get the best election result they’ve ever had. I’m going to be throwing myself into it headfirst, and we’ll see what happens.

I’m quietly confident that this could be a pretty big year.


PURDAH ON

Now, back to BTL. It’s not just the fact that I’m about to be helping to fight an election campaign that is probably going to be absolutely mental, but I also have to be careful with what I write, too. Purdah is an understanding that’s put in place during election periods, which basically accounts for balance and fairness.

While I have next to no doubt that anything I write on here wouldn’t be picked up on (or even deemed relevant), I would also kill myself if I made a Bozzle Konks dick-joke that meant I couldn’t work in politics anymore.

It would be objectively hilarious, for sure. But ya boi gots ta eat.

So while I will try to write a few blog posts here and there, they’re going to have to be a bit more impartial and a bit more factual. I’ll still try and throw in a dick-joke here and there for good measure, but it’s not going to be quite the same.

And after the election I have every intention on getting Between the Lines back up and running again – consider this a hiatus, rather than an end.


Before I Go…

I’m not going to tell you to vote Liberal Democrat.

…Though you should.

But it is of the utmost importance that you vote. Don’t you dare come back to Between the Lines on December 13th without exercising your political privilege, or I will come to your house and drive a shopping trolley through your front door while screaming “SUFFRAGE” at you.

But one other thing, too – the next few weeks are going to be tough. The language will be spiteful, the anger palpable, the debate dire.

But don’t lose hope.

I really do get the impression that we are, slowly, moving away from the Johnsons, Trumps and Bolsonaros in the West. We’ve seen what happens when we give populists a platform, and it’s about as pretty as a dog turd on a bit of plastic stuck around a dead turtle’s head.

Common sense is coming back, even if it’s at a snail’s pace. But in the meantime, listen to the arguments presented to you, think about them, challenge them, and support them if they resonate with you. Don’t let anyone tell you how to vote, whether it be your parents, your partner, or someone you follow on Twitter.

Democracy works when we vote for what we believe is best for our country. We cannot know this unless we’re give as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the latter, but we can damn well make sure we strive to do the former.

Good luck, everyone. I’ll see you when I see you.

Matt x

Weekly Wrap-Up – 19/07 – 25/07

Here we are. Some fifteen years in the making, we are finally living in a Boris Johnson Britain.

The politician who undoubtedly won the “Most likely to follow own ego until they become Prime Minister” prize at school is now our leader. And he has kicked things off with a bang.

Now, like some cruel teaser trailer for the film we thought we were about to see, all of Parliament will take 5 weeks to be away from Westminster. It’s unfair to call this a holiday – most MPs will take this time to work in their constituencies and use the time to help people who rely on them at a local level.

But my god, what a tease. We have two days of Boris, and then everyone sods off for a month?!

Don’t be too alarmed, though – over the next few weeks, we will keep speeding towards the inevitable carnage that is the clash between Parliament and Government. Everyone will still be working, especially Boris…

But things will only really heat up in September.

For now, though, let’s take a moment to assess this historic week, reflect, and then enjoy the sweet, sweet cool of the drizzle and clouds we have forecast for tomorrow.

38 degrees can absolutely do one.


Ad-Lib (Dem)

On Monday, Jo Swinson won the race to become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. You can read about this here.

So far, she has done rather well – she has already mobilised the Lib-Dem social media team, who have suddenly become prolific on Twitter; shown compassion to a defeated Theresa May when Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t; and openly stated her case to be Prime Minister, not just a third-party leader.

And, with Boris’ doubling-down on Brexit this week, and Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to openly back Remain, she has seen the Lib Dem support skyrocket.

This will be making the moderate Tories either start cacking themselves, or think long and hard about defecting.

The Lib-Dems might just be on the start of not just a resurgence, but becoming a new political power. 

Watch this space.


King Boris

The day after, a second leadership election result was announced.

You can read about it, in a slightly tipsily-written blog, here, or in a slightly less tipsily-written blog, here.

More will follow from this writer next week about what the repercussions of his new Cabinet are. But, in the meantime, it is worth noting this:

Boris has firmly staked his claim as the man to deliver Brexit. He has created a team around him that is designed to achieve this goal, and this goal alone.

Ostensibly.

Whispers have come out of Westminster saying that there is widespread speculation that Boris is planting the seeds of a fantastically Machiavellian political plot.

Having gone fully gung-ho, putting all of the pressure on the EU to accept his plans to “renegotiate,” despite their repeatedly saying that there will be no new negotiations, he has created his first scapegoat if things fail.

Then, when they refuse, he will go for a No-Deal Brexit, which he knows will be blocked by Parliament. The Tory rebels, the “non-believers” and “pessimists” in the Labour Party, as he accused them of being today – they are the second scapegoat.

And, with enemies from abroad and within laying siege to the “democratic will of the people,” which he has openly embodied, he will create a passionate, furiously-loyal voter base if he fails to pass Brexit by October 31st.

And then, and only then, will he call a General Election – he will have been prevented from achieving his goals by his political enemies, and so, will run on the understanding that “We can believe in Britain again, and make ourselves the great nation we should be, by voting for Boris.”

If he won an election, he would have a mandate to govern for five years.

Maybe this isn’t really about Brexit, after all?


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You Swinson, You Lose Some

Well, folks, here we go. Today, we will find out whether our new Prime Minister will be Boris Johnson (it will) or Jeremy Hunt (it won’t).

While it is almost certain that the blonde, bumbling BoJo will take office, the question is by how much? Will he romp to victory, giving his no-deal credentials a shot in the arm? Will he flatten Hunt, giving him a mandate from the Tory membership to press on, at full steam, to leave the EU on October 31st, come hell or high water?

Or will it be closer than we thought? If he only narrowly wins, might the first seeds of doubt start to creep in to his mind? Maybe no-deal isn’t such a good idea after all, if even the Tory faithful don’t believe in it…

But let’s save the speculation and discuss it when we know the answer.

For today’s new leader isn’t the only new face this week…


I’m Sorry What? The Lib Dems Have Been Having a Leadership Contest?

Yep. Despite next to no coverage by the media whatsoever, the Liberal Democrats have also been holding hustings up and down the country over the last few weeks. The two candidates, Jo Swinson and Sir Ed Davey, were competing to take over from Sir Vince Cable.

…Who is around 400 years old.

And, yesterday, it was announced that Jo Swinson had won the contest by a whopping 47,000 votes to Sir Ed’s 28,000, making her the first female leader of the Liberal Democrats.

This leaves only the Labour Party as a major political party to have never been led by a woman.

Anyway, her maiden speech was surprisingly good.

She was optimistic, magnanimous, consensus-building and open to cross-party collaboration.

She was also openly, politely, and fiercely critical of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, the Tories, Labour, Brexit, Leave.EU and just about anyone that has taken centre stage since the 2016 Referendum was announced. She championed liberalism, and spoke passionately about her desire to see a society where those who worked hard got what they deserved – a societal contract that she believes is currently broken.

She also announced that she would do everything in her power to stop Brexit.

Seeing as the country is so utterly divided at the moment, a future coalition with the Lib-Dems might be the only way for a party to gain a majority to form a government – if she is really serious about stopping Brexit, she might insist on a second referendum being a part of the deal.

Which could make things tasty.


So, a Bright, Engaging, Young(ish) Leader – What’s Not to Love?

Plenty, according to both the hard-left and the far-right. Which, to her, is probably exactly how she wants it.

Of course, the far-right will have absolutely none of not only Jo, but the Liberal Democrats and their catchy slogan, “Bollocks to Brexit” in general. Being hard Brexiteers, she is the complete antithesis of their deep-seated desire to leave the EU.

This makes sense.

The hard-left immediately started attacking her voting record while she was in the coalition government with the Tories. And I mean immediately – within minutes of her victory, before any kind of congratulations were issued, the Labour Party posted this:

The Twitter equivalent of a 6 year-old doing slam-poetry.

And while they do make good points in there, you also have to remember that this was a coalition government – she would have been whipped to ensure loyalty. 

Back in the days when our politics wasn’t a festering long-drop toilet at Glastonbury after three days in the sun, if you defied the whip, you destroyed your career. The Lib Dems famously hated a lot of the policies they had to vote in favour with – but they had made their bed, and had to lie in it.

Jo Swinson did not create these policies. She was forced to vote for them.

But she will likely pose a huge threat to Labour by attracting voters who are in favour of Remaining, especially if the European Parliamentary elections are anything to go by.

So, obviously Labour would attack her to try to keep as many voters as possible.

This also makes sense.

However.

What doesn’t make sense, at all, is the Scottish Nationalist Party doing exactly the same thing.

Again, posted just minutes after her election result was announced.

The SNP, unlike Labour, are a party that is vehemently opposed to Brexit, just like the Lib-Dems. Why would they attack someone who is about to be one of their strongest allies, and possibly even a coalition partner, in this way?

She is an MP for a Scottish constituency, which makes her a political rival, but the SNP were recently polled at being around 40% in Scotland, which is excellent. So they’re in a strong position – so strong, in fact, that Swinson might even lose her seat to the SNP, which would be embarrassing.

So why attack her? Surely one seat is far less important than defeating Brexit, for a party who openly campaign against it?

Ah yes. Scottish Independence. If Brexit doesn’t happen, then the Union remains strong. If it does, Scotland will do everything in their power to leave.

So Scottish independence is more important than Brexit. So they slag off an ally.

Good to know where the SNP stands.

ISN’T POLITICS FUN?!

All of this, however, is just the prelude of guff that comes before the symphony of crap that’s about to splatter over us – not because of Boris, but because of what he has to face. He may find that his campaign promises might be broken very quickly.

It’s all going to get very, very messy.

But, in a few months time, when the dust settles, Jo Swinson might just be the one who gets to decide how it gets cleaned up…


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Brexit Stage Left – What happens when the curtain falls on Brexit?

It is widely accepted that Brexit has decimated the norms of the UK’s political system, whatever the eventual outcome. It has exposed not just the flaws of our system of government, but also the deep divide across the electorate. By introducing the direct democracy of a referendum into a representative system, Brexit has eroded faith in our politicians, pushed the debate from rational to extreme, and pitched hard-right, moderate and hard-left voters against one another. This has brought about a level of vitriol among society that has taken many by surprise, commentators and politicians alike.

It has also led many to want to rip out their hair in anguish, smash their faces into their desks and/or scream “PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME, I DIDN’T MEAN IT” over the White Cliffs of Dover.

The sheer lack of empathy, understanding or responsibility from the leaders of the two main parties is unforgivable. Given the scale of the damage that leaving the EU could cause (with or without a deal), for Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to blithely and unashamedly stick their heads in the sand and simply return to the same, unsuccessful arguments over and over again is reprehensible.

Come what may, whether we leave the EU or not, historians and commentators will look back on this time as being the moment that Britain finally realised that its political discourse had to change. So, once the dust has settled, the inquest has been held and the heads have rolled, what do we do?

Put simply, we must ensure the creation of at least two more political parties. However, neither of them can be a centrist party, despite what logic might suggest.

An intrinsic part of the ineptitude of our government and shadow government is that neither are united parties. The Conservatives are being torn apart by ‘small-c’ and socially-liberal conservatives having to continuously fight against the openly hard-right factions, led by the grim spectre of the European Research Group and its glorious leader, Chairman Mogg. The Labour Party is led by a man who is essentially a communist, yet the party itself mostly consists of more moderate MPs.

As a consequence of this, if I were to vote Conservative, I would be giving a democratic mandate to both hard-right and centrist policy. If I were to vote Labour, then I would be giving a mandate to both communist and centrist policy. Because I believe in learning the lessons of history, I am neither a Nazi nor a Trotskyite. Therefore, I have very little inclination to give a mandate, or indeed a vote, to either of these parties.

The idea of a Corbyn government terrifies me, but the idea of being forced to vote for the Conservative party out of fear disgusts me. The Lib Dems, then? Realistically, they are never going to recover from the expenses scandal in their current incarnation – they have little or no clout within British politics.

So, if there is currently no viable party to vote for, surely a new, exciting centrist party, like the under-construction United for Change party, would be the answer? To an extent, yes – any new centrist party that cuts through the current political malaise sounds appealing. But what will happen to the great, established parties that have been at the forefront of British politics for well over a century? Are they to be left by the wayside and forgotten about? Is their wealth of knowledge and experience now completely bereft of value because of a few years of poor leadership?

If we create a new, artificial centre, then the Conservative Party would be forced to move right and the Labour Party would be forced to move left. A new party like United for Change would be exciting, certainly, but would it appeal to lifelong Conservative or Labour (or even Liberal Democrat) voters?

Despite the events of the last few years, a huge swathe of the electorate on either side of the divide will never change allegiance, despite its respective party’s performance. For many, politics is tribal, and to suggest that they jump ship now would be akin to telling Liverpool supporters to support Manchester United because ‘Manchester United understand you better than Liverpool do.’ It simply won’t happen. Even if some were persuaded to leave, would those voters in the safe-seat constituencies, the political equivalent of the ‘ultras,’ join them?

When the Gang of Four broke ranks to create the SDP (and subsequent SDP-Liberal Alliance), they did actually manage to garner a huge number of votes away from Labour in the 1983 election – 7.8m to Labour’s 8.5m. However, because of the nature of First Past the Post, they only won 23 seats compared to Labour’s 209. The voters in the Labour heartlands, the safe seats, remained loyal.

Were a new centre to be created, the lifelong centralist Labour voters, and indeed their Conservative equivalents, would stay loyal to their increasingly extremist parties, driven to the fringes of the political spectrum. As such, their loyalty would give their parties a false mandate to govern in a more extremist way – a vote for a moderate party is also a vote for an extremist party when the party contains both factions within it.

Additionally, our system is designed for us to elect MPs to represent their constituents’ worries and concerns, debate them in Parliament, and generate legislation – the people create the agenda. Who could honestly deny, however, that the “conversation” around Brexit, generated largely by more hard-line MPs and fuelled by an alarmist media, has led the agenda of the people instead?

While we, the electorate, are supposed to shape the debate for our MPs, we now live in a soundbite-laden, social media-infested, click-bait-heavy society where MPs, desperate to become a trending hashtag, shape the debate for us. Those who were once moderate voters will become far more susceptible to accepting hard-line views as standard party policy, rather than the extremist views they are.

The further to the right or left the two main parties go, the further they would take their voters with them ideologically, leaving only the “liberal elite” in the middle. Despite everything, I do have some faith in this country, and I believe that a centre party could win a number of seats in an election and maybe even do quite well. However, the reality is that the two main parties will have taken a sizeable number of votes with them to the fringes. Would a new centrist party really be able to win an overall majority?

If, as I do, you would like to see a rational, centrist government appear to help us through this post-Brexit hell-scape, by far the better option is to create a new hard-line party for both sides of the spectrum and leave the old parties to fall back into the centre.

Between Tony Blair taking office in 1997 and David Cameron leaving in 2016 we have seen the two major parties led by centrist leaders (the economic nightmare and subsequent fallout of austerity notwithstanding). One could argue that Labour’s roots lie in socialism, but in this modern, globalised society, the best place for both main parties to set up shop is in the middle of the political spectrum – still clearly and demonstrably right and left-wing, but without hard-line factions trying to pull them away.

To look at hard-line Brexiteer voters for the Conservatives today is to look at the UKIP voters of two and a half years ago. The fall of the far-right political parties like the BNP and UKIP has meant that they have had to clamber onto the side of the Conservative boat, veering it sharply to the right (although Theresa May’s stewardship has also given little resistance). The truly hard-left voices within Labour were silenced for so long by the abandonment of socialism during New Labour. Now they have been given a voice again by the cult of Corbynism, despite the fact that what made Corbyn so god-like to the youth vote in the first place was that he gave us an alternative to austerity, not that he was a communist.

Give these extremists their own parties. Before 2016, before the referendum that gave us this festering dog-mess called Brexit was even a twinkle in David Cameron’s eye, a far-right supporter was seen by most as something of a joke. They were a throwback to yesteryear, almost comical in how deluded they were. For instance, people adored Nigel Farage as being a parody of the British psyche, a real-life Alan Partridge. The remnants of the far-left met in pubs and grumbled, forgotten and irrelevant, with little political stock.

Now, both ideologies hold more power than ever before.

Give them parties that truly align to their beliefs. That way, they might sod off and stop ruining ours.

Teach an Old Etonian New Tricks – A Champagne-Snowflake’s Thoughts on the Election

Let’s face it, the current British political landscape looks less “green and pleasant land” and more “seagull shite-covered landfill site.” I mean, the state of all parties going into tomorrow’s election is actually too depressing to be funny:

  • The Conservatives have had an absolutely abysmal campaign, with the initial idea of promoting the charisma and strength-of-character of Theresa May falling somewhat short when they discovered that she had all of the charm and leadership qualities of a decomposing Halloween pumpkin in an unseasonably-warm November.
  • The Labour Party have had an excellent campaign, led by affable village postman Jeremy Corbyn, but it’s been undermined by some catastrophic interviews where the exact figures on key campaign promises were fluffed or unknown, and the fact still remains that he leads a party where most of the MPs seem ready to take him to the guillotine and somehow, the undoubtedly well-meaning and committed but catastrophically useless Diane Abbott can be Shadow Home Secretary (though at the writing it appears as though she has been taken off the team).
  • The Lib Dems are well-meaning but still not trusted after the Tuition Fees u-turn and are too small to make a difference, The Greens will probably still get Brighton but are essentially a one-topic lobby group of a party (though yes, their one topic of SAVING THE FUCKING PLANET is pretty important) and UKIP are just mimicking Arsène Wenger – they should have enjoyed their unexpected victory and ridden off into the sunset rather than hang around and make everyone that bit more irritated with their old-fashioned, out-of-date beliefs.
  • Even the recent breath of fresh air into British politics, the SNP, have had some major concerns amongst their electorate about a second independence vote and look set to lose some of their seats.

It’s a veritable shit-show of an election. Many have asked why on earth it was called in the first place although the reasoning behind May’s calling of it are sound – she was working on David Cameron’s mandate, a very, very different Conservative agenda to what she is trying to promote, and so calling an election would give legitimacy to her Government. It makes sense, though admittedly even I, a politics student and aficionado (and deservedly single as a result), sighed when it was announced. Everything is so uninspiring that it’s hard not to be completely apathetic about it.

Thing is though, on a personal level I’m rather glad it’s come around as it’s made me think a lot more about the kind of politics I want to see in the world. I voted Conservative in both of the past elections as I bought in to Cameron’s rhetoric about a centralist, “small C” conservatism – lest we forget, his was a Conservative government that legalised same-sex marriage (though did also contain the ominously-predicted-by-Black Mirror game of hide-the-sausage with a part of a pig). I’ve always had a strong social conscience but grew up around a largely Conservative presence (which is unsurprising considering I went to Eton) so, with Cameron, I felt like I had an excuse to vote Conservative – well-intentioned pragmatism. Tally-ho for the modern age. However, over the last couple of years I’ve watched in despair as Brexit, cuts to welfare and Donald fucking Trump have hogged the headlines and I have started to realise that whatever tie-dye t-shirt you dress up being right-wing in it’s still ultimately about one thing – business.

I’m not totally naïve. I do realise that business keeps the economy going. My Dad voted Conservative under the completely justifiable belief that nothing can work without the economy and the Conservatives are, historically, the party best-suited to dealing with the economy. As despised as austerity has been, it has helped our economy grow back from the global collapse to be reasonably strong when compared to some of our European counterparts. But then I have to ask why the Conservative manifesto for this election was completely uncosted – while Labour may have fluffed their lines, at least they had it written down somewhere on Jeremy Corbyn’s iPad (though being a jam-maker/manhole-cover collector it’s not much of a surprise that he couldn’t find it). Theresa May’s campaign, not just on the economy but in general, has been so complacent that I’ve become furious with the sheer arrogance of it. “Leave it to us, plebs – we know what’s best.” Piss off. It seems to blatantly be about turning profits and forgetting about the people that matter the most – the electorate, at a time when we are starting to be in a position of relative strength to begin to roll back cuts and help people again. The only reasoning I can think of for this is to keep those core conservative voters happy and help keep the Christmas bonuses in triple figures rather than doing what’s best for the country.

After losing my Dad in late 2015 I’ve become so much more aware of just how fucking lucky I am. I’ve had to grow up and think more about where I’ve come from and what I’m going to do with my life and frankly I don’t want my success story to be pushing myself from public school-educated, middle-class boy to leader-in-industry, upper-class man. I want to use my fantastic education to come out of this life having made the world a better place – for all of my “social conscience,” to quote from Jane Austen, “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” I can read a hundred Buzzfeed articles that I agree with or get angry at every Daily Mail headline but unless I’m actually doing something about it I’m just as bad as the people I want to disassociate myself from – tacit acceptance is just as bad as participation. I’d hope that many of you would also feel the same social responsibilities but I appreciate that not everyone reading this is going to be quite as haphazardly radical as I have been in my choice of lifestyle – you might not want to throw away your successful careers to follow in my unpaid, Facebook-berating-article-writing footsteps. So, what easy fix is there for you to do your bit for society? Simple! Vote for the country, not for yourself.

Most of my friends on Facebook have not come from poverty. I certainly haven’t. Our parents in the Baby Boom generation saw industry and capitalism explode and rode the wave, making comparative fortunes in their twenties compared to what most of us earn today. It was an exciting, competitive economy to be a part of and everyone was encouraged to earn as much as they could. However, there will always be losers in a situation like this and the truth is that the difference between rich and poor in this country is more defined today than it ever has been. This is a total generalisation, but I believe that the increase in technology has increased the voice of those not as fortunate as us – we can keep up to speed with events across war-torn countries by talking to people there on Twitter, we can play chatroulette with some perverts from the US or we can exchange profanities about each other’s mothers with kids from Russia over a game of Call of Duty. But we are listening more to those in our country too, or I certainly am at least. Increased political participation, enabled by technology, has started to open my eyes to how dire the situation is for people who are going to food banks, working 60-hour weeks in the NHS or having their necessary social care cut, all at a time where it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t think I can vote for a party that has created that situation.

I really am still undecided as to who I will actually vote for but it won’t be the Tories. A party that is so brazenly in control of so much of the media that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer can become editor of the Evening Standard, that has implemented and maintained brutal cuts to crucial aspects of our society like healthcare and policing, that has campaigned so arrogantly and patronisingly to the electorate… I couldn’t honestly say that I am acting in keeping with my values if I were to vote Tory. We so desperately need an Emmanuel Macron in this country – a liberal, compassionate and inspiring leader that has the best interests of everyone at heart and doesn’t simply have party politics as their defining agenda. In the absence of that, what choice do I have?

According to the media, it’s either:

  • The IRA-sympathising, modern-day Lenin
  • The homophobic, God-squad liberal
  • The whale-saving hippy
  • William Wallace in a pencil skirt (who I can’t even vote for) or
  • Paul Fucking Nuttall.

It makes me want to cry. However, whoever I vote for tomorrow I will do so on the basis of compassion, altruism and the best interests of the country as a whole. I hope you will do so too.