I Will Vote Green And You Should Too
Usually I am massively in favour of not explicitly stating on a public forum which political party I intend to vote for. I’m more of a small ‘p’ policy person than a large ‘P’ Party person when it comes to politics. As I get older/think about stuff more* (*delete as applicable) however, it occurs to me I want people to vote the same way as me so it might be a good idea to have a go at a large ‘P’. If you haven’t registered to vote, do so. It doesn’t mean you WILL vote, but at least you will have the option. You have until 20th April 2015 to register for this year’s general election.
I’m voting Green. I have done for the last two general elections at least, and for local council and mayoral elections where we have a choice of more than one for whom we can vote in via single transferable vote (STV) in which we rank our preferred candidates 1, 2, 3 etc. The votes are counted and if no-one gets 50% then the next level of votes are counted until all the posts are filled. At least we do in my local borough.
This system is unlike the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system applied to general elections, through the use of which the United Kingdom is in a minority of modern democracies. The political parties use the STV system for their party leadership contests, in case you were wondering. I generally vote for the Green candidate and two other candidates I feel from their manifesto and platform would do the best job representing my local borough.
I do read manifestos and do my research, because you never know when a deal-breaker policy might suddenly appear. I cite the Labour Party and its long-term betrayal of its left-wing, socialist roots to become a centralist, ‘diet Lib Dem’ party – they expelled their outspoken Socialist members in the 1980s and compounded the betrayal by announcing New Labour under Tony Blair in the 1990s. I cite the Liberal Democrats for its inexorable move towards the right to become no longer the middle-ground party it wanted to be to become ‘diet Tory’.
The Conservatives (hereonin to be called Torys; despite my inclination to name them something far worse though not gender-specific) are moving more to the right and appear to be jostling with UKIP for attention, although of course UKIP are more upfront about their bigotry. I shall continue my nicknaming and call UKIP ‘Tory Triple Caffeine’. I’d call them ‘Tory extra strong’ but that is close to giving them a compliment and the idea is bringing me out in a rash.
Labour and Tory successive governments have increased poverty, but the ConDems have done so in leaps and bounds; for example in the use of Food Banks which Tory MPs have stated (I paraphrase) are used by the feckless poor who choose to use them rather than work for a leaving, or who would rather spend their money on alcohol and cigarettes (obviously only the rich are allowed those despite consistent increases on VAT on both products which are based on their purchase rates). The blogger Vox Political Online posted this graphic about the rise of the foodbank, and it paints a thousand words.
The main reason I find for choosing Green is that they are the only party to stand against maintaining the austerity measures the current ConDem coalition have put in place. Measures which are impoverishing so many people, condemning the most vulnerable to misery and even death, and increasing the wealth of the very richest in the country, all whilst proclaiming “we are all in it together”. There is so much more than that to my decision to vote Green.
That’s right. They are the ONLY party to stand against the austerity measures in England . Wales has Plaid Cymru also standing against the measures, and Scotland has the Scottish National Party. Sorry, Northern Ireland. You’ll have to check with your candidates in your local area.
I do have some other reasons too:
1. They stand for long term planning and implementation on their policies – the only party which sees further than the next election.
2. They have a clear environmental policy for the introduction cleaner energy practices with reduced costs and benefits for the country and the people, and the phasing out of fossil fuel energy and nuclear power.
3. They will renationalise the NHS.
4. They will enact the Robin Hood Tax on bankers bonuses, increase taxation on the wealthiest 1% and close tax avoidance loopholes.
5. They will abolish the bedroom tax, cap rents and build half a million new homes for social housing, including renovating existing disrepair properties.
6. They will scrap university tuition fees and bring Free Schools and Academies under local authority education control. This means all children will have access to an equal opportunity education, but the schools will be mixed ability with teaching adaptable to the child.
Ultimately, the Green Party stands for a more equal society in which we all have a say and our voices WILL be heard, and this starts from the point of membership. All members of the Party determine policy, not just the leadership as in other political parties. The long term policies of the Green Party are on this link: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/
Need more Party information, with more parties included? How about a link to a handy summary of all the current policies available via a useful tool to determine which party may best represent you!
Or you could look up the parties in your area; the main ones for the UK countries are listed here with their website links. Manifestos will be available in early to mid April:
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (NI): http://allianceparty.org/
Conservative Party (E,S,W): https://www.conservatives.com/
Democratic Unionist Party (NI): http://www.mydup.com/
Green Party (E,W): https://www.greenparty.org.uk/
Labour Party (E,S,W): http://www.labour.org.uk/
Liberal Democrat Party (E,S,W): http://www.libdems.org.uk/
Plaid Cymru (W): http://www.plaid.cymru/
Scottish Green Party (S): http://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/
Scottish National Party (S): http://www.snp.org/
Sinn Féin (NI): http://www.sinnfein.ie/
Social Democrat & Labour Party (NI): http://www.sdlp.ie
UKIP (E,S,W): http://www.ukip.org/
Ulster Unionist Party (NI): http://www.uup.org/
The superbly informative blogger Another Angry Voice (read him, you will feel much better though angrier if you do) created a superb summary graphic as a handy crib sheet for the European Parliamentary Elections and I am reproducing here as it remains valid for the general election.
Pretty clear, isn’t it?
I will still be reading the manifestos and continuing my research right up until the election on Thursday 7th May, just in case something changes. I doubt it will though. That’s why I’m voting Green and I am lucky that I have the option to do so.
If you don’t have the option to vote Green I suggest voting for Labour as the next best option/best way to get Lib Dems/Conservative out and stop UKIP or other party of right-wingedness such as EDL getting in. It could happen. Both the BNP and EDL have been elected to local and general posts in the very recent past. I’m agitating for social and political reformation anyway, no matter who wins. Too much is wrong for one party to be able to put right.
This is my opinion. Your vote is your choice. As it will affect me and every other person in this country, I ask you to please choose wisely.