05 May 2010

My (extremely reluctant) choice in the UK election

I don’t feel clean or enthusiastic about it. I voted for UKIP.


The point was really about what does a vote mean. A vote has next to no effect, but to me it is an expression of my moral values and what I endorse for government. It is not, as many describe it, as a choice between poisons and picking the one that hurts the least. I wont grant moral sanction to govern me on terms I disagree with.

Because of that, I could not endorse a Conservative Party that has embraced the agenda of environmentalism, that has agreed to increase taxes (national insurance) even if it is less than the others, and which has chosen to posit a new form of big government (Big Society and national service), rather than tackle the budget deficit and repeal the big government that Labour introduced. A Conservative Party that has failed miserably to confront the economic mismanagement of Gordon Brown, but more importantly the infantilism of the public. It could have said it would not reverse the NHS increases, but instead it seeks to increasing spending on it ABOVE inflation. It could have said it would abolish welfare for middle classes, but it promised to largely preserve it. The Conservative Party has thrown off its bigoted xenophobic past, to embrace the bigoted anti-individualism of the left. It is devoid of remotely consistent philosophy, on the one hand saying people know best how to run their lives, and on the other calling for a “big society” imploring people to sacrifice their lives for others.

Yes, the Conservative Party is, marginally, better than the two parties of unabashed statism, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. However, it is only because Gordon Brown has been such an unabashed liar about his own record, which has been one of gross fiscal mismanagement, that the Conservatives look good. The only substantial shining light in the Conservative manifesto is the commitment to reform education, by allowing free schools to be set up, away from state control, with funding following the student. Even that is a half hearted copy of the successful Swedish model.

To give the Conservative Party my moral endorsement to govern, and more specifically to govern me means I have to accept an increase in national insurance (a form of income tax) for me. I have to accept the embracing of the climate change interventionist agenda, the totem of which is a multi billion pound taxpayer funded high speed railway, whilst openly explicitly stifling the expansion of the British airline and aviation sector by stopping a private company from paying to expand the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers. If that isn’t little Britain thinking surrendering to the luddite like idiocy of the environmentalist movement I don’t know what is.

Five years is a long Parliamentary term. The Conservatives might surprise me and be Thatcherites in sheep's clothing, but I doubt it. On top of that I considered whether the Conservative candidate himself was worthy of my endorsement, but he wasn't. His own blog has been entirely uninspiring, he would fit in well with Cameron's Conservatives. I wouldn't condemn the man, but there isn't enough in his own statements to offset the negatives about the Conservative platform overall.

So I voted UKIP. It wasn’t an easy choice. UKIP is anti-immigration, and I am an immigrant (albeit one with the entitlement to citizenship by birth). UKIP thinks the budget deficit can be largely solved by withdrawing from the EU, but it’s wrong. UKIP is a ragtag mob of disgruntled conservatives, unified by hatred of the EU, but with ideas and philosophies ranging from the libertarian to the xenophobic. My vote for UKIP was simply to say that the EU is now a fundamental problem for the UK and those who believe in less government. It was also an endorsement of UKIP having a few other worthwhile policies, such as supporting a flat rate of income tax, allowing people to contract out of the NHS and cutting state spending to 1997 levels. It’s not enough by any means, and it isn’t libertarian, but it does comprise of some policies the Conservatives should embrace.

So if the Conservatives do not win my constituency by a margin of the UKIP votes, it may make them think. The message should be that a belief in less government is NOT inconsistent with social liberalism, and social liberalism does not mean initiating force against those who disagree with you.

To take an alternative view is to effectively say, if the Conservative Party wins and follows its manifesto, I have no reason to complain as I will have endorsed it. Quite simply, there is not enough in the Conservative manifesto that is good for freedom and for the UK to offset the banal embracing of the Cameron vision of big government for me to endorse it. Voting for UKIP was a protest vote, knowing the git who was standing wont win, but also knowing that it makes a small statement about believing in less government. Next time I am hoping to do something about creating a better choice.

Oh and before anyone says it, if Gordon Brown or Nick Clegg are Prime Minister after the election, do NOT blame me. My refusal to vote for Cameron is not an endorsement of the other two. Besides, the differences between the lot are, in most cases, marginal, and where it really matters (defence) the Liberal Democrats are outvoted by the other two parties.


OECD rank 22 kiwi said...

Good for you.

I live in a safe Conservative seat and intend to add to his majority on Thursday.

The weight of world doesn't sit squarely on my shoulders so I'm not to worried that David Cameron is likely to disappoint in the extreme. If he is as half as wet as John Key then the UK will have serious problems going forward.

I look forward to your predictions on Friday as to what a Cameron Government will do over the next Four/Five years.

My prediction is income tax and VAT will rise. Government spending will be as bloated as every. Thanks Dave for all that Change.

Shane Pleasance said...

"in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"

Libertyscott said...

OECD: I will be blogging live on election night and will predict the future based on the outcome of that. I think there are odds on chances of another election in under 12 months if there is a hung parliament.

ZenTiger said...

Well said.

Conservative, Liberal, Centrist ... all these terms are abused by the parties claiming those titles.

Increasingly, the main parties seem to simply be different shades of socialism and one cannot even be sure of what principles they would hold to when a new issue comes along.

Increasingly, I think there is a need to reform the way parties operate in our democracy - dare I say it - regulate them to ensure they adhere to their manifesto, that policy reversals require some form of public approval, that they are held more accountable for their legislation than a five year vote.

James Stephenson said...

That pretty much mirrors my own decision on the instructions to send with my proxy vote.

As a pom immigrant to NZ (I married a Kiwi so maybe more of an import than an immigrant...?) I'm really enjoying your perspective on the UK race.


I understand your pain and anguish too.
I am a naturally Thatcherite Conservative and I am unhappy at the Lib-Dem lite policies Cameron has imposed on the party including that lefty green ecofascism.
Bringing in Obama advisers and Saul Alinsky's community advisor policies is not good either.
I read Christopher Hitchen's piece in the Mail on Sunday after my parents ringing from Yorkshire told me about it.
I too would be torn between who is the best to get rid of Gordon brown and voting for what I believe in.
I did that Daily Telegraph test and found a 72% match with the BNP, a 68% match with UKIP and only a 49% match with the Tories.
I may have changed a little over the years, but my party has obviously left me.
I could not vote BNP and would probably feel at home in UKIP if Cameron retailns his grip on the UK Tories.
Who would I actually vote for would probably be down to the candidate if I was back in the UK.
Should Cameron fail to get a majority, I expect some interesting times for the UK Tories in the months ahead.
He has certainly blown a huge 20%-plus lead.
But who would take over?

Anonymous said...

I predict that no libertarian candidate will get his or her deposit back. Ian

Unknown said...

To my UK freinds - a general election is upon us again. My proxy vote is in place and they will vote the same way that I have voted in every election since 1987 (I hope!). Be very afraid - a right wing government was elected in NZ 18 months ago, adult education classess have been dessimated, tax cuts for the rich and VAT is going up. All government fees and charges have shot up. A change in the voting
system is desperately needed in the UK - in all the years I have voted I
have never helped elect an MP because I have never lived in a
constituency where my vote would count. In NZ my vote counts (we have a
proportional system), I may not always be in the majority but my vote
is exactly equal to every other.

Good luck I will be glued to my
computer Friday. I might even follow your blogs Scott - just for fun you understand.