It won’t surprise regular readers of this blog that I am officially endorsing Labour in this election. I’ve never
pretended I am a neutral. I’m a Labour supporter and activist. But I have looked at what the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats have had to say. I’ve even tried to think about it objectively.
I like Nick Clegg. I think he’s an ok politician. I don’t think he’s Prime Ministerial, but he’s ok. I can’t help thinking there’s something slightly false about the party leader with the biggest expenses trying to claim he is all about modernisation. To be the party of Change. I’m just not convinced. Nick Clegg has had a boost. It’s undeniable. But have the rest of his party? Even if I can see him in a Cabinet post, and maybe Vince Cable too, can I really see the rest of them in Government? Ed Davey? Nick Harvey? David Heath? Steve Webb? Can you honestly say you’ve even heard of them all? Can you honestly say you’ve seen them during this campaign? Can you honestly say you’d be happy for them to run our country? Of course you can’t.
Obviously, with the Conservatives, I failed miserably at being objective. I can’t switch my brain off long enough to not see past Cameron’s flash presentation to what lies beneath. He’s Thatcherite to the core. All the talk of changing the Tory party is now clearly a nonsense. They’re just as elitist, homophobic, anti-European, and dangerous as ever. I remember the Miners’ strikes of my childhood. I remember the 18 month waiting lists to see a Consultant for 18 minutes. I remember the Poll Tax riots. I remember people dying in hospital corridors. I remember the unemployment. I remember the poverty. I remember the death of industry in my region. I remember the men who had no futures. I remember the forgotten generation. David Cameron has done lots for his party’s image but he hasn’t managed to make forget or forgive.
In the last 13 years, Labour probably could have done more, and definitely made mistakes. There’s no doubt about that. Gordon Brown is far from perfect. His style isn’t media-friendly. But should “media-friendly” be a qualification for Prime Minister? For the man who has to lead the country in good times and bad? Only the media thinks so. Britain is almost unrecognisable from 1997. We have a minimum wage, NHS waiting lists are at their shortest ever, there are more doctors, nurses and police officers than ever, there are tax credits for parents, pensioners and the low-waged, more human rights, crime at its lowest in decades, aid at its highest in decades, third world debt cancelled, and peace in Northern Ireland for the first time in hundreds of years.
There is such a thing as society. It’s already big and it gets better every year. There is such a thing as community. There is such a thing as fairness. There is such a thing as equality. There is such a thing as looking out for the many and not the few. And I won’t put all that at risk by voting anything other than Labour in the morning. Neither should you.