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UK election called - May 5th

Posted: Apr 5th 2005, 12:47 pm
by starbug
Let the games begin....

I have already had one labour phone-call enquiring whether
a) I have voted labour in the past (yep)
b) whether I will do so again (not in a gazillion years)
c) why my vote has changed (cue 10 minute rant which totally took the caller by surprise...)

Oh I can't wait for the door to door canvassers. At the moment I'm not sure who I despise more - the labour government or the tory opposition. Only the libdems and the green party are assured of a favourable reception. My preferred tactic is to invite canvassers in with a coffee and then rip them to shreds. I reckon it brightens their day to at least find someone not willing to do the obligatory nod, closedoor, not think about it again...

Someone wrote to the paper this week to say that they'd had a labour pamphlet through the door saying 'sorry you were out when we called to speak to you etc etc'. Only they were indeed present in their house! Nobody rang the doorbell to speak to them at all. :shock: :? :shock: It makes me wonder what this country is coming to, politically.

Posted: Apr 5th 2005, 10:09 pm
by emmie
good for you for telling them what you think! if they were surprised by your truthfulness, that's makes you wonder what everyone else is saying. perhaps just enough to get them off the phone?

Posted: Apr 7th 2005, 9:49 pm
by lance
emmie wrote:good for you for telling them what you think! if they were surprised by your truthfulness, that's makes you wonder what everyone else is saying. perhaps just enough to get them off the phone?
Yes, way to go Starbug. At least someone from the UK or the US may be held accountable for Iraq.

Too bad though about the House of Lords approving Blairs new anti-terror plan. I heard that one can now be tried for the same crime twice in the UK. Hello double jeopardy.


Posted: Apr 19th 2005, 5:31 am
by starbug
Well, we're half way through now, and it's shaping up to be the most boring election campaign ever. A slow start followed by a snail's pace set of debates.

The problem for the Tories (oops we're not allowed to call them that any more - it has to be the 'Conservatives') is that they're led by Michael Howard, the man responsible for more encroachments into civil liberties in his time as Home Secretary than anyone else, the man who backed the Poll Tax, and who has been described as having 'something of the night about him' by Anne Widdecombe, a woman not known for her liberal views. Frankly I'm glad because it means moderate conservatives will think twice about what would be a massive retrograde step if they vote him in. Plus the massive error that was their opening slogan for the campaign: "Vote Blair, Get Brown". To which the nation said 'yes please, we think that would be great...' so they had to withdraw it. Heh.

Charles Kennedy has just had a baby, so he's clearly exhausted. They have some good policies on Europe, on taxes, tuition fees and war. I tend to gravitate towards their philosophy much much more than labour's. However, the problem they will have is that people who really want to vote LibDem won't do so because they are so scared that it's like a gift vote to the Conservatives. This includes me, for reasons I will explain. They are the only true left-wing party, they've never held government, and they do have the problem that Charles Kennedy looks like he's propping his eyes open with matchsticks at the moment.

Labour suffer the major disadvantage of having the Bliar at the helm - his popularity ratings are a disaster. But most people would still rather have him than the Tories and Howard... Labour have done good things with the economy, but that's down to Brown not Blair. Blair is not trusted, due to Iraq and the way he appears to have double-crossed Brown. The NHS is suffering under horror stories of MRSA (superbug). I don't know whether for most people it's a case of overlooking Bliar's Iraq debacle and general smug demeanor, and voting for a government that hasn't made TOO many other glaring errors, or if the hatred is just too much.

So, the tactical voting quandary. With a 3-party system (effectively) it is really a problem. I could vote Labour. I don't want to, but I'd rather have them than the Tories. I'm not voting Tory. I could vote LibDem. I like what they stand for, I think they are FAR more trustworthy than Labour at the moment (although Brown isn't too bad to be honest), and I lean towards their way of thinking pretty heavily. BUT. And it's a big but, I live in a constituency where there were 4000 votes in it at the last election, between the Tories and Labour. Labour won, but the LibDems are trailing badly. If I vote libdem, all I'm effectively doing is increasing the chance that the tories will win in my constituency. There will no way be enough people voting Libdem to actually allow them to win. Do I vote with my heart or my head? I want to vote with my heart, because that's what I think democracy is about. But I'm honestly not sure that I can forgive Labour enough for its support of the Iraq mess, the frankly astonishing erosion of civil liberties, the introduction of tuition fees etc etc etc. I think it's a close enough election that tactical voting could swing it.

That's the other weird thing about this campaign: nobody is talking about Iraq. It's like a radio silence - I can understand why Labour aren't bringing it up, but you'd think the Tories/Libdems would be gleefully putting all sorts of difficult questions out there... and they aren't. Makes me wonder if it's going to be pulled out of the hat further down the line as a last-minute vote-switcher. It's the one thing that HAS to make Blair look a fool, yet nobody's mentioning it.

I'm interested to know what the coverage is in the USA and the rest of Europe - are there any predictions forthcoming? Are you getting much info on the election? Does it just bore you to sleep?

Posted: Apr 19th 2005, 10:05 pm
by lance

You have my sympathies as regards to you voting strategies. I have some Green party friends whose 2000 experience mirrors yours.

No, the American press is in no significant way covering the British election: Not NPR, not most of the online newspapers, not any television that I have seen.

Most of the coverage here has been about: the death of the Pope, the election of the Ratzinger*, the approaching meltdown in the Senate and Michael Jackson.

*not certain whether to open a thread on this one or not. Massive rumblings among the progressive/liberal Catholics that I know. Schism is being talked about, alot, seriously.


Posted: May 4th 2005, 4:56 am
by starbug
Well, following this weekend, my mind is made up. I shall not be voting Labour, even though there has been a large amount of 'give your vote to the LibDems and watch the Tories get in through the back door' scaremongering both by the labour party and the media.

I will NOT allow myself to be emotionally blackmailed into voting for Blair again, when I fundamentally disagree with him about so many things, and there is a party in existence which is far more aligned to my way of thinking. It is fear tactics again (recall the war in Iraq) and I'm not falling for it. I will not be part of giving Bliar another massive parliamentary majority. Perhaps my vote makes it more likely the Tories will get in, but I think it's more likely it will be a close election as a result. Labour will probably get back in, but I want other parties to be able to block the more stupid things Labour tries to do (war, anyone?) by working together. I want Labour to have to make a coalition with the LibDems to get any measures through, which might remind Labour that they need to lean more to the left and not lie about vitally important things.

The final straw came when I was at home on (I think it was) Sunday, and the telephone rang. I picked it up, to hear a recorded voice reading me a message. The voice said she was a character from Coronation Street (UK soap) and she was very proud of what the labour party have done in the last 8 years blah blah. She needed my help to answer some questions. I should 'Press 1' if I will certainly be voting on Thursday, 'Press 2' if I will be voting for the Labour party... at which point I lost it and hung up.

NOBODY from the Labour party has called me to actually try to persuade me in person that they aren't that bad and that I should vote for them. I was canvassed for my opinion (see above) but that was not really a discussion - it was me telling them what I think. After that I seriously expected, given the (coherent) rant I gave the caller, that someone with actual clout would call me to discuss it further. I want to know what they think, and have the opportunity to talk to A REAL PERSON representing their party's manifesto. Nobody has knocked on my door canvassing from the party. Instead, I have been bombarded with junk mail from all three parties, which doesn't give me an opportunity to ask my questions and get proper answers (or not); it's just a way for them to shunt their spin in my direction. This is true of all parties, but it's most shocking from Labour given that they actually should know (following the phone call) that they have lost my vote. AND I'm in a marginal seat.

Small wonder apathy is growing in this country. The electorate has been patronised, ignored, and treated with utter contempt by this government. Tony Blair has entered a one-way communication way of doing things and seems to have forgotten that he is a representative of the people, and that just maybe, he ought to start listening to them.

So, we shall see. Fortunately I don't have to work on Friday so I will be staying up as long as I can watching the coverage. Right now, it's too close to call - by no means is it certain that Labour will get back in.

Posted: May 4th 2005, 7:02 pm
by lance

Good for you. Glad you have come to a decision. I am also impressed by your principled stand.



Posted: May 9th 2005, 5:01 am
by starbug
So, Blair's back in. It's actually the result I think most people wanted: he's still there, in preference to Michael Howard, but his majority is seriously cut. There are enough rebel labour MPs who have retained their seats, to make life potentially difficult for the government if they want to do something silly. The Lib Dems made gains, which is great.

As Andrew Marr (BBC's political commentator) said, nobody did it on their own, but democracy somehow worked. This is the result everyone wanted and there was just enough shrewd tactical voting to make sure it happened. In my constituency, the Labour MP was re-elected but his majority dropped from several thousand, to just over 700. Turnout in my area was 62%, which is pretty good.

I'm pleased. Now we'll see how long Blair can hold on to the party leadership.

I agree with you

Posted: May 9th 2005, 5:13 am
by season
I have to say I'm pleased the results have knocked Blair sideways. Whether he will learn anything from it, who knows. Because he seems to have his own opinion and that is that.

Re: I agree with you

Posted: May 13th 2005, 1:19 pm
by lance
season wrote:I have to say I'm pleased the results have knocked Blair sideways. Whether he will learn anything from it, who knows. Because he seems to have his own opinion and that is that.
I agree. I was extremely pleased that Labour took a pounding. Glad that someone is being held accountable for what Jon Stewart has declared as