Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week, you will have heard that the UK had a general election last week. Yes, you rednecks who think Britain doesn’t have elections because it still has a queen, we did. You probably have also heard that the Conservative Party won a resounding landslide. I didn’t vote Conservative because I don’t agree with many of their policies and I think their leader and new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, comes across as a snake oil salesman. However, that’s not what this post is about, it’s about how I voted and wondering if I’m now a sellout.
Normally, I vote for the Green Party, I do so in the US and I do so in the UK. In the past two elections, I voted for the Labour Party and that is what has gotten my DAMP addled head in a spin. Right up until polling day, my mind was in a dog fight as to whether I should vote Labour or Green. One contributor to this conundrum was that fact that the incumbent MP, David Drew, is Labour and he has served my local constituency very well. If his party had gotten into government, I believe that he should have been made Environmental Secretary as he would have made a good one. On the other hand, the Green Party candidate was our local MEP, (Member of European Parliament) Molly Scott Cato. Molly has served the entire Southwest region very well in Brussels and even one of the Labour campaigners I spoke to agreed that Molly would make a very good MP, except that she wasn’t going to win.
This conundrum aside, there were other issues that made me think twice about voting Labour. The main one was its party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. While, I don’t completely believe the right wing media hype that he hates Britain and sides with her enemies in any international dispute nor did I believe that his economic policies would turn Britain into Venezuela, I didn’t feel I could completely trust the man as Prime Minister. This further inflamed the war in my head in which way I should vote.
In spite of any misgivings I had about Labour, there was one reason above all why I vote Green. In the US presidential election, I felt that Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, as well as Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, were both unfairly treated by the election machine. They were not allowed to take part in the presidential debates even though 56% of Americans felt they should be. When Jill showed up and asked to participate in one of the debates, she was arrested. Now, is that democracy? That’s what I fear here in the UK. Britain is rapidly becoming a two party state like America where voices of alternative parties are being drowned out. In the 2015 general election, all of the party leaders were allowed to take part in the debates and while this was true in one debate in this last election, they still had a debate with just Johnson and Corbyn, a two candidate debate, just like they do in America. Does Britain really want to descend into that?
Before everyone starts shouting it at me, I know the counter-arguments coming. These are small parties, they’re not going to win anything and that voting for them will only let in the person who’s worse. The above newspaper said that repeatedly. What amused me about the election campaigns was that both Labour and the Conservatives stated that voting Green or Liberal Democrat or the Brexit Party was going to give the election to the other party. Hell, the Democrats in the US have said that ever since they blamed Green candidate Ralph Nader for their candidate Al Gore’s defeat in the 2000 presidential election. This is why I’m kind of glad that the Scottish National Party (SNP) won so big up there.
I was always taught that democracy was about letting everyone get their equal say and about voting for who you think is best. For me, the likelihood of them winning doesn’t enter into it. I’ve heard many people in both countries scoff and say, no one wants to hear what small party candidates have to say. It won’t make a difference anyway. Who’s to say what people want or don’t want to hear? Democracy is about letting everyone get their say. Who knows, maybe an alternative party might have a policy or two that makes sense which might make more people vote for them. After all, an Gary Johnson was elected as governor of New Mexico and Minnesota elected an independent candidate governor in 1999, so who know? The main thing is to let them speak and let people hear what they have to say and then decide, even if they aren’t very likely to win.
So, did I compromise my principles by voting Labour? I still don’t know.
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