I have absolutely no intention of voting Labour or Conservative in May. I have no interest in the old boys’ club currently in charge. I have heard it said that there is no point in voting Green, that they will never get in and that my vote could have been used to vote Labour and oust the Conservatives.
I think not. I’ll come on to the reasons why I have nothing but contempt for the Conservatives in a second, but firstly I’d like to vent about Labour. Labour, I’m disappointed. Deeply, deeply disappointed, and betrayed – as a member of the 99% whose interests should be not just top of your list but the ENTIRE LIST, you have let me down. I learned about the Labour party at school, the original Labour party who actually stood for Labour. They brought in the NHS, National Insurance. They actually cared about the Welfare of the state. They brought in the Welfare State when Britain was recovering from the war. Now Labour seems to me to be little more than a slightly-less-Tory Tory Party. I have heard nothing substantial, nothing that makes me feel that yes, these people might actually improve things for me. I’ll be honest, Ed, I don’t want tough immigration laws or higher school standards – I am becoming increasingly nauseated at the emphasis on monitoring standards through test, and working from one set of SATs to another. I dread seeing my currently 7 year old son bow under the weight of tests before he has even left primary school. I want to know that you will do something about the massive inequality in the country.
Which brings me nicely onto the Conservatives. It really doesn’t matter how many times and in how many different ways Cameron says that other people will “take Britain backwards”, the fact is that we are rapidly returning to Victorian ages where the working class don’t get a living wage, we increasingly have to pay for healthcare (£8.05 for essential medication? Really?), the poor are an ‘undeserving poor’ who would be fine if they would just get up and do something, while the rich pay £15000 for a table at a ball. The elite who believe that the rules don’t apply to them (Rifkind, anyone?) sit back and watch, without having to lift a finger, as we tear each other apart looking for ‘benefit scroungers’ and illegal immigrants and possible paedophiles and anyone else who is frankly a far more nebulous threat than the Conservatives. The ‘desperately needed austerity’ is no longer even their problem – when was the last time you heard Cameron even attempt to suggest that we’re all ‘in this together’? To be fair, no-one could pull that off with a straight face.
Actually, I don’t think I’ll bother to talk about them for much longer. Not really worth my attention – who could expect anything but what we got from this party? We voted for them – now we need to vote them out.
And on to the Greens.
The last twice I voted Green, although it was with a sense of frustration and futility. I just wanted to have an answer for people who said ‘we voted them in’, much as I just did i fact. Not me, mate. But they were never going to get in, were they? Now, I’m voting for them with a bit of hope and excitement. I’m thinking that perhaps we’ve finally been pushed too far. The Green Surge is a sign that people are less worried that their vote might be lost, more that they desperately have to vote for something different, something that actually might mean a redistribution of the cherries from those magpies at the top of the tree. I mean seriously, what is so outlandish about the idea that we might look after one another?
The way I see it, we were all born and thus required the services of midwives and doctors. We were children, and needed a decent education and caring, enthusiastic teachers who weren’t forced to care more about results than children. We were adults, who needed (by some means, according to need) the means to live. We will grow old, and unable to work, and require still the means to care for ourselves. We will die one day, and we will need the help of caring nurses more than ever. These are truths that are universal – why should these things come more easily to an elite few, and why should we not support each other? The Green Party are our best hope since the Welfare State of achieving this.
And I really don’t care if Natalie Bennett froze in an interview. I’d be more put-off if she had answers as easily and glibly as Cameron, Milliband or Clegg. I want her to recognise that these are problems that need to be addressed and that there is no easy answer and that inequality and suffering cannot be swept under the carpet at a press conference.
I will be voting Green.