Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A libertarian voting in a UK General Election

So “I saved the world” Gordon Brown has finally called 6 May as the date for the next UK General Election. It is worth noting how electoral terms in the UK are longer than in most countries. The last election was nearly five years ago, and that was a shoo in for Tony Blair and Labour, against Michael Howard and the Conservatives (which barely picked up a handful of extra seats). In coming weeks this will be my primary blogging topic for obvious reasons.

The UK election is likely to be close. Recent polls have put the Conservatives ahead by between 2% and 10%, with 7% needed for an overall majority (bearing in mind the UK has a First Past the Post electoral system). Some pundits are picking the Conservatives winning a plurality of seats, but short of a majority, so requiring the support of others to govern (which currently is mostly the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish and Welsh nationalist socialists and the Ulster sectarians).

The big issue for me is who to vote for (or to vote at all). The Libertarian Party UK is more like ACT in NZ, and probably wont have a candidate in my constituency in any case. It may come down to Conservative vs. UKIP, in both cases there are a long list of reasons to say “no”, with maybe only one or two reasons to say “yes” to either. It goes without saying that Labour is beyond redemption as a party of ever growing nanny state in both regulatory and financial terms, and the Liberal Democrats are just a different version of Labour. There is every reason for the Labour government of Gordon Brown to be consigned to the proverbial dustbin of history, but little reason for the Conservative Party of David Cameron to be given the chance to tinker with the nanny state, and slow its growth. Voting for the Conservatives means removing Gordon Brown, but is it right to endorse a different way of cooking the same dish? Poison laced with chocolate instead of lemon is still poison. Is it better to vote UKIP to send a message to the Conservatives that compromising on your principles costs you support? Or is the populist nationalist rant of UKIP so unconscionably awful that it doesn’t deserve endorsement? Should I simply choose based on the candidates themselves (a good small government minded liberal if any exist)?

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