GE2015 minus 23: up to a point, lord copper… up to a point.

Posted: 14 April 2015 in general election 2015, politics
Tags: , ,

I’ve having some problems deciding whether or not I’m a hypocrite.

Now, to forestall the almost indecent rush of people wanting to confirm that I am, without knowing what I’m talking about, let me explain. I’m having the problem with my own hypocrisy – yeah, there you are, I’ve answered my own question – on several matters.

Since we’ve an election coming up, let’s address the ‘big picture’ first, and assume that each of the candidates I can vote for totally accept and believe their own party’s manifestos and will do everything in their power to ensure their manifesto is implemented. Now I’ve mentioned before, and been taken to task over it, that I have real problems with voting for a politician when he’s standing on a platform or manifesto part of with which I disagree. So, for example, the Labour Party have not said in their manifesto that they’d spend 2.0% of GDP on defence. Now suppose that is a fairly important thing in my opinion, that keeping up to the NATO requirement is important. But then again, I do support many – really, it surprised me how much I agree with – of the things in the Labour Party manifesto. 

Now one might argue that “well, you don’t have to support everything, you just have to prefer this candidate/party to that candidate/party”. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. Once I’ve given him (and it’s likely to be him, let’s be fair) my vote, he has every right to believe  that I’ve supported every policy in the manifesto, and, after all, I can hardly complain if the party in government enacts legislation based upon a manifesto that I voted for. So, ok, I vote for the Labour Party candidate and he gets into Parliament and then votes not to spend 2.0% of GDP on defence. “Dear sir.” I write, “I am disappointed that you voted that way.” :Dear Mr Barnett,” he writes back, “what on earth are you on about? You voted for me knowing I would vote that way?”

See my problem?

There’s no party in this election which has a manifesto upon which I completely agree. Surely the moral thing to do is to abstain? Then I get to feel all warm and fuzzy while whoever gets in fucks everything up, and well, if I didn’t want them to get in, I should have voted against them, yes?

Hmm.

OK, how about this one? I have a local MP who I quite like. From everything I’ve seen about him, he’s a nice chap and hasn’t served as a minister in a department that’s been cutting services. He hasn’t served as a minister at all, as it happens. And again, from what I can see, he’s been a decent enough constituency MP. Let’s suppose he’s a conservative MP, and Labour were 20% ahead in the polls. Well, then, I could vote for him in good conscience knowing that I get to vote for a decent constituency MP and whether or not he gets in is irrelevant to who forms the government. Similarly, if the Tories were 20% ahead in the opinion polls, the same thing applies: the conservatives are going to form the government with enough of a majority that my MP getting back in or not getting back in isn’t going to affect who forms the government.

But, sadly, neither of those situations exist. There’s every possibility, probability even, that every seat in this election will count. The Conservatives having one more or one fewer seat will in all likelihood affect who forms the next government, something that doesn’t exactly fill me with glee. Having one more or one fewer seat may make the difference between the conservatives in minority government, governing in coalition or forming the official opposition.

So, do I say “look, how the rest of the country votes is up to them, I like this guy” or do I throw this guy who’s never done anything personally to offend me under the bus and vote for a candidate I don’t know a lot about just to try and influence who forms the next government. Because neither option right now is satisfactory to me. 

I honestly don’t know. And I’ve only 23 days left in which to make up my mind. 

I mentioned something else about which I feel a hypocrite. It’s still politics, but this time political comment. There are any number of columnists and political pundits I read. I read a lot. And I’m finding that although I’m still enjoying the writing styles of many of them, I’m finding it harder and harder to recommend them to others, simoply because the hit rate – the percentage of their pieces with which I agree – is coming down to 50% for most of them. As the election nears, and tribal politics comes to the fore, I’m finding some on the right that I agree with … some of the time, and some on the left that I agree with… some of the time. And the thing is that I’m feeling like I’m missing something by not deciding where I stand and telling everyone else how they should vote.

Hmm – I need to think about this some more. I’ve 23 days, after all. But the clock is ticking. 

Tick… tick… tick…


*In the novel Scoop, by Evelyn Waugh, whenever the owner of the Daily Beast newspaper asks his foreign editor for confirmation about something, (“Is Yokahama in Hong Kong?”) the editor has two stock responses. If the owner is correct, the answer is “Definitely, Lord Copper”. If, on the other hand, the owner is egregiously wrong, the answer is always “Up to a point, Lord Copper.” No fool, he…

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