This is the penultimate one of these blogs. You’ll either have registered to vote by now, or not bothered and left it up to everyone else to decide who’ll fuck up the UK best. Thanks for that. Sorry this one’s taken a while but lots has happened in the election campaign over the last two weeks. Newspapers have decided Nicola Sturgeon is the fifth horsewoman of the Apocalypse, David Cameron awkwardly keeps saying what ‘pumps’ him up, and Ed Miliband has got a teenage fan club. This is particularly odd because usually when there’s a story about teenagers and MPs the press offices try to cover it up.
If you’ve missed my previous two (now slightly outdated) blogs on ‘Why You Should Vote For…’ head here:
Which brings us to Pt 3. After the two main parties, we come to the ‘Kingmakers’. There are more than normal this year on account of Labour and Conservatives being so uninspiring that they may need more than one party to get a majority. So here’s a brief round up of why you should vote for….
NOTE: I’ve tried to be critical of everyone but to be honest, it’s hard to find out enough about the SNP that isn’t just newspaper bullshit, and similarly there isn’t too much on the Greens either. Please feel free to send me stuff and I’ll add it in if it’s credible.
The Liberal Democrats were formed in 1988 as merging of two parties, the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party which would make you think they’d have some idea of how coalitions work. Back in 2010 before the election, they were pretty popular, with their leader, named like a limb thief, Nick Clegg, caused ‘Cleggmania’. They seemed to be a centrist alternative to the two party system. Sadly it turned out that ‘Cleggmania’ was actually a clinical condition that causes the sufferer to forgot all electoral promises they’ve made. It is to be noted that with only 8% of the government being Lib Dems, they did have to come to some compromises within parliament. The main one being that they were allowed to have a badly informed referendum on alternative voting that’d be shot down by the Conservatives, in order that the Lib Dems shunned everyone that supported them in the first place by not standing up for anything they said they would. Cue five years of easy jokes about an abusive relationship.
For the 2015 election the Lib Dems are promising that if they were included in a coalition again, they would, with a Wizard of Oz style analogy, bring a heart to a Tory led government and a brain to a Labour led one. This would mean, we assume, that the Lib Dems are the character without any courage to do either of those things. Their manifesto promises a ‘stronger economy, a fairer society’ which sounds a teeny bit like a scary Aryan dream. They’d like to protect school budgets and increase early years pupil premium to £1000 a year, so that those children can have a great education up until they go to university & gain a debt they’ll never pay back that they introduced as part of a Coalition government. They’d like to conduct a review of the fairness of the work capability assessment that they helped introduce as part of the Coalition government.
They’d like to increase house building as it’s been hugely under target over the last five years while the Lib Dems have been in a Coalition government. The Lib Dems want to give 16 year olds a vote as they won’t yet be going to university so won’t dislike them quite as much as those who’ve already gained debt. They’ve pledged £8bn a year to the NHS, a public service that’s been under stress in the last five years while, yep, you’ve guessed it, the LIB DEMS WERE IN GOVERNMENT!
There is more along the same lines in the manifesto including environmental policies that really the last government who promised they were the ‘greenest ever’ again, didn’t do. Ultimately, if you like a party who would spend all their time in a Coalition government undoing all the things they did in the last Coalition government, or let’s be fair, probably not, then vote for the Liberal Democrats.
I can’t even bring myself to pretend to tell you to vote for UKIP. Just don’t. Thanks. Fleet Street Fox wonderfully took apart their manifesto here:
Worth a note that even if you cannot be persuaded towards staying in the EU or from reconsidering xenophobic fears, then the poorly thought through pension spending, lack of registration of child carers, more speed cameras and the fucking ‘Anglosphere’ should make you realise they are a ridiculous bunch of people that should never be in charge on anything. On the plus side, if they do get any MPs, it’s highly likely they’ll have to resign two weeks later due to saying something inappropriate.
The Scottish National Party look set to be the real contenders for deciding who gets to be in government this election. Their popularity grew hugely after Scotland voted a majority ‘No’ to independence last year and the government then failed to go through with any of the promises they’d stated they’d do if Scotland stayed in Britain. Instead the government started to focus on ‘English votes for English people’ as if to say that Scotland was only ‘better together’ with Britain because it’d be unfair if anyone else got first dibs to ignore it. The party leader Nicola Sturgeon isn’t running for a seat herself, as she’s busy being Scotland’s First Minister, but she is still laying down big ground rules for her party and its manifesto. The so called ‘most dangerous woman in Britain’ as called by the press would like her party to campaign for fairer pensions, better paid jobs, scrapping the bedroom tax, fighting against TTIP, reducing child poverty and bonkers, barmy despot type policies like that. Sorry what’s that? They all sound sensible. Oh. Oh yep. However some of the costings to sort out all these things are based on hoping the economy grows steadily over the next five years, which it might. Or might not.
There’s also the SNP’s policy of wanting to scrap Trident. The nuclear deterrent program which is also a nuclear weapon. Makes you wonder how the MoD plan to fight fire. Scrapping Trident would mean we no longer have a guaranteed seat on the UN security council. Which is a council of other people with nuclear weapons working out how not to have to use them. But also the MoD state that scrapping Trident would only save between £2bn and £2.5bn a year. I presume the SNP thought that nuclear submarines would have rising costs. I WENT THERE!
They are still a nationalist party and one who might be seen as more progressive than they are on account of the complete lack of progression from the main parties. The SNP did want Scottish independence but to alleviate anyone who fears the breaking apart of Britain, they will aim invest in infrastructure in the North of England too. Which of course could just mean that next time round they’ll vote for independence and just take Newcastle & Cumbria with them. Which, judging by the response to most of the SNP’s policies, would just make most left wing people in the rest of the UK pretty jealous. I’m not Scottish so I don’t know all the in’s and out’s of why the SNP would be so awful in government other than the general rhetoric we’re getting from the newspapers here*.
UPDATE: Thanks to @offshorebella on Twitter for this. I hadn’t heard of the SNP’s ‘Named Person’ policy to have a state guardian for every child. Obviously this is a better policy than having an ‘Unnamed person’ assigned to every child, but while it is important for some children in certain situations to have monitoring, it seems a bit excessive and probably money wasting to give every child a ‘guardian’, especially if they already have a family that cares for them anyway. Now if they promised every child a Baymax from Big Hero 6 that’d be a much better policy….
More UPDATES: So it seems literacy and numeracy have dropped in Scottish schools over the last 8 years since the SNP have been in government, which is perhaps so future voters won’t be able to read through manifestos fully? NHS spending has actually risen more under the Conservatives in England than under SNP in Scotland, their plan for full fiscal autonomy would add £8bn further debt to the pot, and the IFS state these plans will lead to much longer austerity. Oh and for a party that’s so anti-tax avoidance, they seem to have been making it quite easy for some of their citizens to do so. So if you’d like Scotland to have a louder voice, but it happens to be one that’s mainly asking why it doesn’t have any money any more, then vote SNP.
I was always told that if I had my greens I’d get a hairy chest. At 34 my chest is now suitably hairy, so why would I bothered with The Greens? The current Green Party was formed in 1990 and has often been dismissed as being a one issue party. That one issue being the teeny tiny issue of the planet all of humanity live on and keeping it safe. Y’know, totes irrelevant. In the last few years however, they have established themselves as having a few policies of note and gaining a ton of young members. Presumably because they’ll still be alive as the world goes to shit so it’s slightly more important for them. They finally seem to have a chance at topping their record of one seat – Caroline Lucas in Brighton – this election, with the only thing holding some people back from voting for them being the self fulfilling notion that not many people will vote for them. Oh and the idea of vote swapping where to keep the Conservatives out you might want to swap a Green vote for a Labour one in certain areas and (much less so according to the website) vice versa. Democracy eh?
The Green’s key policies for 2015 include unpopular ideas such as renationalising the railways, curbing carbon emissions, reversing the privatisation of the NHS, decommission Trident, and raise the top rate of tax to 60p. By unpopular, I meant only with anyone who has a lot of money and works in businesses that thrive off pollution and weapons. There is a lot to say a 60p rate of tax wouldn’t bring in any more money to the economy because those who’d be eligible to pay it would leave the country in order to not to help schools & hospitals. Or they’d use tax loopholes that everyone presumes would still be there, to avoid paying any tax anyway. Again there are questions of how all these proposals would be affordable. Also as all their policies are voted for democratically by their members there is worry that people with little to no knowledge of political policy shouldn’t be doing so. But then, Conservative politicians seem to have been doing that for ages anyway.
They’ve also been called anti-science and Malthusians, both of which have been debunked and proved wrong in recent years. The Green Party leader Natalie Bennett isn’t very good at interviews, spluttering around answering how their housing policy would be paid for. Though avoiding answering questions just shows that maybe they are ready for Westminster after all. Oh and their candidate list is even less ethnically diverse than UKIP, which for a party who supposedly cares about the world seems like they don’t want to represent much of it. So if you want to vote for a party other people would like to vote for but won’t because they think you won’t; are mostly white yet want to represent the country; and want what’s best for the planet but as money doesn’t grow on trees – and they’re more interested in just growing normal trees – might not be able to cost it efficiently, then vote Green!
Plaid Cymru is the party of Wales. Having been to a couple of parties in Wales, I can only presume they are really fun but incredibly wasted. I don’t know much about Plaid Cymru other than hearing Leanna Wood, their leader, say the party name over and over again during TV debates that I started to wonder if it was a hypnotherapy trigger word. Oh and one of their candidates called some racists racist. In their manifesto they want to reduce voting age to 16, create a ‘living wage’, create a ‘sanctuary’ in Wales for refugees of other countries, invest in more doctors, devolve Wales to the same level as Scotland, and renationalise the railways. Again, bonkers eh?
Oh look. It’s too hard to take the piss out of a series of pledges that actually seem quite sensible. Again, they are a nationalist party which does always sound scary, but that might be because I’m English and all our nationalists tend to be racist. So look, if you’re Welsh and you like the cut of their jib, yna yn pleidleisio i Plaid Cymru.
That’s it for now. Like I said, if you have some genuinely good reasons, and links to prove it, why Plaid, Greens and SNP are actually much worse than I thought, please let me know.
Next blog: All the other billions of bonkers weird tiny parties that will never get anywhere .
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