I haven’t voted Labour since May 1997 when Tony Blair’s Labour Party came to power in a bright, cheery spring day where people like me thought we’d got rid of the Tories and their ideology. In reality we hadn’t. We just saw it refined to an inch of it’s life. Around 1998 or 1999 I found myself unable to morally defend the Labour Party and at that point my eyes were opened as to what they’d become which is a right wing party obsessed with control and the retention of power at all cost.
The event which opened my eyes was when I was working in a club in Leicester and was working during the day to tidy up the bars, and part of that was to dump a whole load of rubbish at the tip. Myself and Richard, one of the club managers, were chatting about the NHS and he was a Conservative asking me how I could defend Labour getting into power and not clearing out the managers infecting the NHS and how could I defend the fact that Labour were making the NHS more bureaucratic. I couldn’t. I just spluttered some half arsed lines about ‘giving them a chance’ and realised I was fooling myself.
The party which I’d been brought up to believe to be for the working people and the poor was in fact, just propping up a system which was failing. Yes, Labour did make some things more liberal initially and it did ban fox hunting while overseeing the Good Friday Agreement but the good was being overwhelmed by the oppressive feeling that the likes of Jack Straw wasn’t really of the left let along a social democrat in the European mold. At that time living in England I considered a federal solution to the problem that is the UK would be the best way for us all, so I considered the SNP & Plaid Cymru nationalists and not worth talking about. In short I was a good Labour drone who’d suddenly woken up to realise that just voting for Red or Blue right wing politics wasn’t democratic. I foolishly dabbled with the Lib Dems but learned my lesson fast and have now settled on supporting the Greens with some reservations while I’m still living in England. Once I’m back in Scotland in 2015 I’ll be campaigning and supporting the SNP.
I can’t support a Labour Party which has been pushed to the right and has taken us to illegal wars, seen the likes of David Blunkett do his best to make protest harder, and we’ve seen the gap between rich and poor increase as Labour pushed harder and harder for the precious middle class vote in England while all the time it leaves behind the core voters who Labour should stand for. Those people no longer have a voice in much of the country and although the SNP have moved now into a serious socially democratic party (and look to become more of the left over the next few months) along with the Greens and SSP have moved into the vacuum left by Labour in Scotland, while Plaid Cymru looking increasingly impressive thanks to their vastly underrated leader Leanne Wood (they’ve even had a Labour candidate join them showing the cracks in Labour in Wales) are making inroads in Welsh politics, there’s nothing of the left in England. Yes the Greens are a solution in the short terms but there’s not a uniting socially democratic party like the SNP or Plaid in England who has left wing goals at it’s heart. There’s Left Unity but they’ll never be the party the English need, so UKIP have pulled it’s far right arse right into the heartlands of Labour in the north of England and look like winning seats. Sure, they’ll nick seats from the Tories too but Labour should be hammering the Tories after four years of the most oppressive and restrictive government we’ve had since the previous one.
Labour offer no alternatives. They offer austerity, further restrictions on civil liberties and if you’re young, they offer an extended Work Programme so you’ll be able to work for nothing for Labour’s corporate mates in return to get enough money to barely survive. The people of Scotland have sussed Labour out and on Thursday polls were released showing that Labour could be down to as long as four seats in Scotland in May. I don’t think it’ll be that bad for them but I can see Labour losing half their MP’s in Scotland which would be a mortal blow for them. If they put Jim Murphy in charge of the Scottish Labour branch office, then that could be even worse and they really could end up with a handful of MP’s.
We’ve seen desperate idea following desperate idea, with the latest being that Ed Milliband would abolish the House of Lords, but there’s reasons why this isn’t going to happen as Wings Over Scotland explains here. And here’s where we are now; Labour are desperate to get anything to connect to anyone of the left in a sad, last attempt to firm up their vote for next year. I’m sure enough people who slavishly vote Labour will look at Milliband’s ‘promise’ (the people of Scotland know how much these are worth) and fall for it. They’ll think ‘well, this time Labour might do it’ as they return a right wing party of business in to replace a right wing party of business. Labour is a party who have lost the common touch and look lost when trying to buy a sausage roll because these are people who don’t need to eat sausage rolls.
These are people who sit at a £200 a head dinner in one of Glasgow’s finest hotels and give a bag of food to foodbank donations while encouraging policies which will see foodbanks grow. But hey. Ed dropped off some tins of Scotch Broth so everything’s fine.
Yes, I know there’s Labour voters there who will go on about voting SNP or Green will deliver a Tory government and they are possibly right but Labour offer no hope, no imagination, no spine and no courage to stand up for the ordinary men, women and children of this country. They’ve joined the race to the bottom to keep up with UKIP’s extremism so we don’t see the Labour leader taking on a chancer like Nigel Farage head on as Nicola Sturgeon has by calling on a veto for Scotland, Wales and NI in the EU referendum in 2017. Considering it offers Cameron a lifeline to stay in the EU as he wants it’s perhaps foolish of him to reject it but notice how Labour are nowhere in this debate. No ideas, no nothing. Just Ed Milliband gormless face looking increasingly lost.
So vote Labour and get nothing better. There are options and I cry out to Labour supporters to choose them wisely. May is going to be vitally important because there’s a very real chance that at the end of this parliament the UK will be split up and out of the EU. We cannot have more of David Cameron’s oppressive government, but neither can we have another shockingly poor and oppressive Labour government. So look at the options and think of the long term, and yes, I do know that people will suffer under a Tory government but they’ll also suffer under a Labour government committed to George Osborne’s austerity spending.
The politics of austerity cannot be supported any longer. You vote for Labour you support austerity when there are other options. It is that simple.