This week on my Facebook I asked a series of questions in regards what people intend to vote for (assuming they vote at all) in the forthcoming general election. I asked about UKIP and got no reply yet I know one or two are thinking of voting for them. I asked about Tory and got no positive reply yet I know there’s several Conservative voters on my Facebook.
I expected nothing from these questions. One of the things I was trying to do is not only do a little experiment into confirmation bias when it comes to friends (in both the real and virtual worlds) as after all, someone like myself that’s very firmly of the left isn’t going to gather friendships with Conservatives naturally but I have done over the years. I’m certainly not too keen on Kippers as UKIP are of the far right so really wasn’t expecting anything positive from that but it’s the next questions that started getting responses. I asked if anyone was going to vote Lib Dem. Nobody said yes. They’ve hurt too many people and frankly pissed in their chips and the sheer sense of complete desperation from Lib Dems can be displayed by in this fumbling pathetic performance from dead man walking Danny Alexander in last week’s Question Time.
People that had previously voted Lib Dem were rightfully disgusted by them. A feeling I share for my local MP hence my campaigning for the Greens over the next couple of months, and this brings me to the meat and gravy of the questioning as I asked who would vote Green/SNP/Plaid in May?
The answers were interesting. People in England would like to vote Green but think they’re not going to get rid of Cameron, yet there’s no real enthusiasm for what Labour stand for now. When asked who’s going to vote Labour people didn’t speak of the present but of the Labour Party of Hardie, Bevin and Benn rather than the party of Milliband, Balls and Murphy. There’s a longing of the past and that perhaps Labour might, this time, come good yet this myth is truly busted in Scotland where Labour are dying because the people of Scotland have discovered that the Wizard of Oz isn’t some great person looking out for us all, but a bunch of grubby career politicians spouting soundbites desperately clinging onto power.
This isn’t to say the SNP aren’t flawed. They are, but those on the left in England have to get up to speed with the debate in Scotland because as I said in the days after the referendum last September there’s many on the left in England being left behind by events in Scotland. Yet the Greens aren’t the answer for people on the left or centre in too many cases as yet again they’re waiting for Labour to come good (after 40 years does anyone seriously believe this?) or for a ‘true’ party of the left to come forth but the people of Scotland didn’t. They jumped on the SNP and it’s morphed from a party of the centre to one of the centre left, though under Sturgeon it’s looking to diversify even further to the left.
One of the other things I was trying to do is get people to challenge their opinions so that they don’t just blindly tick for Labour/Tory/SNP/etc because it’s what they always did, or that it’s to keep the Tories out. People want genuine change but there’s still a reluctance for people to admit it’s not going to come from propping up the system which has caused people to become confused, and in some cases angry enough to vote for the far right UKIP.
Now the purpose of all this is to help me when I go door knocking for the Greens, or engage in debate for this party, and yet I’m not daft enough to use the line ”vote Green and you’re backing the SNP’ as people still cling onto the belief the Union is protecting and helping us when in fact it hasn’t for a long, long time, assuming it ever did at all. For change to happen the Union in it’s current form needs to die so that might mean Scottish independence, or a Labour Party dragged to the left by the SNP abolishing the Lords as they’ve promised for so long now, or something on the horizon that nobody has seen coming like the referendum was last year.
Once the Union dies then we can rebuild. Challenge your opinions on your belief in the system and think what it does to ensure the protection of the status quo so the needs of the few override the needs of the many when what’s needed is that all of us have the same chances and nobody is left behind. So come May there’s a chance, albeit slight, that a massive change is coming to the UK of a scale that is going to change the country forever. This won’t be a Russel Brand revolution, or Nigel Farage’s staid brown fascism but coming from the people of Scotland and seeping down to the rest of the country.
All I’m asking is to consider your vote in May and think of not just ‘getting rid of the Tories’ but using your vote in a constructive way that doesn’t sell your principles short, and to consider that the country you live in has to die for it to have a chance again. Look at this election as part of a movement that started with the referendum two and a half years ago and could end up with one of the establishment parties relying upon the SNP. That a few years ago would have got you laughed at, but now is shaping up to be a reality and this could be the step the UK needs.
You need however to make your own minds up. Engage people, talk to them, even if they intend voting for the far right UKIP. Speak to others and get their views but always remember there’s a chance the establishment line could be dust in just a few weeks so challenge opinion. We might never get a better chance.