Are the Liberal Democrats being squeezed out the parliamentary race by the Labour-Tory duopoly? Possibly, though I still think this election is up for grabs, and anyone who calls it now is either a fule, a knave, or possibly both.
Not that any of the commentators whose wibblings I follow are calling the election for Labour or whoever, depending on their particular ideological prejudice; instead they appear to be retreating into the bunker of tribal party politics, and fretting terribly lest David Cameron and his tie-less, rolled-up-sleeves Tories emerge victorious in the wee hours of Friday morning. That is indeed a terrifying prospect, but I shall not vote Labour out of such fear.
Truth be told, I shall not be voting at all, the reason being that I haven’t the right to cast a ballot as I fall between jurisdictions, and in the UK officially exist only as far as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is concerned. It’s a long story, and one that looks set to continue for some time.
If I did have a vote in this election, I would most certainly use it. Positively, for an individual, and not a party, let alone party leader. I do not live in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, and neither do I reside in Sheffield Hallam, so I could not possibly vote for Gordon Brown or Nick Clegg. And I wouldn’t vote Tory under any circumstances, as I believe the Conservative and Unionist Party to be a despicable if not downright evil entity. Like the BNP, UKIP and other nutters on the right, the Tories are beyond the pale.
Brockley Bob, in his justification today for voting Labour, all the crap notwithstanding, echoes Observer columnist Nick Cohen’s recent damnation of Nick Clegg’s “cant and hypocrisy”. I’m with Bob in his fear of a Tory return to Downing Street, but this won’t do at all. Clegg may have sold his soul for the votes of Motorway Man, but surely cant and hypocrisy is what we’ve had from Labour these past decades, and by this I mean since long before ‘New’ Labour and the Age of Blair.
On the thinking left there exists an understanding of the corporatist nature of the Labour Party, but this is combined with and overwhelmed by a fear of the Other that makes rational, positive political action all but impossible. It is a fear that blinds, like stunned rabbits caught in the headlights while the forces of motorist-loving hell bear down on them.
Now I’m no shill for Nick Clegg and his yellowy-orange mob, but with my left-libertarian instincts I have marginally more respect for the Liberals than I do the Labour Party of today. My esteemed maternal uncle Brian Sedgemore, who was until five years ago the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, defected to the Lib-Dems after leaving the House of Commons. Brian’s parliamentary swan song eloquently expressed his despair of New Labour, and while it was in my view a sad end to a long career as a popular constituency representative, I do not blame my uncle for jumping ship and putting the boot in as he left. There are some decent enough people sitting on the Labour benches, and even a few worthies in the cabinet, but the party long ago lost its soul.
Brian Sedgemore saw the writing on the wall, and decided that change was needed, even though he no longer had as much to contribute personally. I also think that change is needed. Or, to be specific, we need to destroy the Labour-Tory duopoly, and through this and other measures save representative democracy in the British Isles. Electoral reform is a far from “trivial” issue, as Brockley Bob and other left-Labour loyalists claim it is.
If the Liberal Democrats can make a positive contribution to such a bourgeois revolution, then more power to their collective elbow. Still, I would not vote for the Liberal Party; instead I would mark my ballot paper for an individual (and preferably more than one) who in my view could best represent the constituency, and contribute effectively to UK-wide political life and possibly also international affairs. Individual men and women make politics, and political parties are no more than shallow and expendable vessels within which collective activity takes place. We will have to destroy the system in order to save it.
I have every confidence that the people of Britain will following this general election get the government they deserve. And it will at best be mediocre.