December 12. The UK’s next General Election. How should I vote?, my wife asks. I don’t say anything. For one thing, she should think it through for herself. For another, how should I know?
Running through the candidates from last time, what are my options?
#1, Conservative. John Glen won the Salisbury seat last time out, quite safely. I’m in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country! I can’t vote Conservative. I’ve never voted for them, and anyway in the last few years I’ve seen for myself how badly things like the NHS, local government, disability benefits work, all of which are under their control.
#2, Labour. Actually, I don’t mind Jeremy Corbyn. I certainly don’t fear him. But I do fear the people around him and behind him, and he can’t do it all himself. Do you remember Brett Kavanaugh? US readers will. He was Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who was very publicly accused of sexual assault in front of the Senate Judicial Committee. I noticed at the time that Kavanaugh denied the allegations, so I thought there might be some kind of arrest and trial. Talking to Labour Party members at the time, they’d have quite happily hung, drawn and quartered him there and then. Not even a hint of due process. That scares me.
I remember also debating with Labour members on another occasion, this time about Brexit. For being pro-Brexit, I was vilified. Forget that Michael Foot was against the EU. Foot once rose to the very top of the Labour Party, but his view is now vilified. Or Tony Benn, who lost the Deputy Leader election by less than 1%. We only lost Benn in 2014, but his view is vilified. So that intolerance, too, scares me.
Allegations of anti-semitism have dogged the Labour Party for years, and I wrote a post on here even asking what Corbynistas could do. They can take it seriously, for a start. They can look at Jewish MPs beying hounded out of their constituencies and can say that it isn’t acceptable.
So, in summary, if I were to vote Labour, I’m scared of what I’d actually get.
Last time around, the Liberal Democrats came in at #3. I’m afraid I have a fundamental problem with the Liberal Democrats. We had a plebiscite in 2016 which decided X, and the one thing that the Liberal Democrats have promised is that they will ignore X. So if they get into power, what other votes are they going to ignore?
#4 was UKIP. UK independence Party. What nonsense! These guys are further to the right even than the Conservatives. In Salisbury, they received just 2% of the vote, and a similar number nationally. Thank Goodness.
#5 was the Green Party. In fact, that was where my vote went in 2017. I can still support them on a number of issues, but unfortunately they fall into the same hole as the Liberals. If I vote for a party with a policy to ignore votes, where will I end up?
There was one last entrant. Unfortunately I have no idea who Arthur Pendragon is, beyond having a nifty name. But that’s the trouble with Independents – the name appears on the ballot paper, but you have no idea what the values are.
So where does that leave me? Well, it doesn’t really leave me anywhere. I get a postal vote nowadays because of my disability, but have determined to spoil my ballot. Another option would be just not to vote at all, but I don’t want my non-vote to be interpreted as apathy, because the last thing I am is apathetic.
I suppose there is one last option. If I can’t lend my support to anybody, I could stand myself. But why should I? I have no wish to represent anybody, and it doesn’t really bother me whether other people share my views, I’m not out to convince anyone of anything. Plus, I already talked about the difficulty of an independent candidate putting their views across. So thanks, but I’ll sit this one out.
So that’s my plan – to vote for none of the above.