I’m a fervent Corbyn supporter, but I just voted Lib Dem. And in truth, I do feel quite sick about it. Before you condemn me a madman, please allow me to explain.
I’ve always voted Lib Dem, my entire adult life. I’ve genuinely always identified with Liberalism first and foremost, but my general ethic is to always seek the ‘middle ground’ – to try to see things from both sides, and seek a compromise that acknowledges both parties. And unlike a good majority of the country, I’ve never held them in quite so much contempt for going into coalition with the Tories in 2010. Or the policies that emerged during those ensuing five years. Not as much as everyone else any way. I try to remember that in 2010, this country was in a right old mess after many years of New Labour rule. Many hated them as much as the Tories, who at the time, were a relatively unknown quantity – they’d been out of power for a while.
And blaming the Lib Dems for policies introduced when they were a minority in a coalition, is a bit like blaming ‘remainers’ for the fact we’re leaving the EU. (Our vote simply didn’t count in the end.)
My allegiances became more complicated in 2015, with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. For the first time, I saw a genuinely decent man with genuine ethics, willing to say what no other politician would. A man willing to challenge the stranglehold of the tabloid press in this country, and a political system that feeds itself at the expense of ALL others. He has inspired me more than any other politician I’ve ever known, and most of my political writing/blogging has been geared towards defending his cause. God knows he’s needed it, against a merciless and heavily biased media (£3.88m worth of bias to be exact).
I don’t believe in absolutism, more ‘shades of grey’. Rarely is a person or party entirely right or entirely wrong, certainly with regard to political alignment and argument. That’s why I find it difficult to align with any political party entirely. To be honest, I find it amazing that so many people DO doggedly support their ‘tribe’ unquestioningly. (Statistical probability alone suggests it’s unlikely that every member should agree with every policy, but there is no room for nuance in modern politics it seems. It’s more like supporting a football team: all or nothing.)
I placed my tactical vote today, but don’t feel good about it. But the simple fact is, a vote for Labour in my constituency would be wasted:
If we lived with a fair system of proportional representation, if we were not curtailed by a ridiculous ‘first past the post’ system deliberately designed to play to those in power…if I’d simply been asked who I wanted to be the next Prime Minister of this country, and every vote counted cumulatively, I would have voted for Jeremy Corbyn. No doubt.
But I don’t make the rules. And rather than try to explain any further why I took this seemingly bizarre and crazed decision, below is the letter I’ve just sent to my Lib Dem candidate in East Surrey, David Lee, who I’ve met before now:
I just wanted to inform you, I just placed my vote for you to be our MP in East Surrey.
HOWEVER. In recent days I’ve seen that much of the Lib Dem campaigning has swung round to attack Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was to see this. Anyone with an ounce of subjectivity should recognise the Tories and Kim Jong May are the real threat here. And Corbyn, as much as one might disagree with certain policies and aspects about him, is NOTHING like the malevolent, duplicitous human being that is Theresa May. Genuinely, I think the Lib Dems may have done colossal damage to themselves. Everyone I saw comment on the FB post was outraged. And a graphic showing how “Tory + Lib Dem beats Labour” will have been the final straw for many. The idea you’d team up with those b*stards again, having enabled them in 2010, is just horrifying.
I voted Lib Dem because I want to remain in Europe, and because I’ve identified with Liberal politics my whole life. But mostly, because Labour don’t have a hope in hell in East Surrey – such is the glut of privilege in these parts. We both know that.
But a passionate remainer is far more likely to vote Labour than Conservative David. Liberalism should have far more in common with socialist values/ethics. More so than this elitist, capitalist, quasi-fascist party that have totally wrecked our country in the space of two years, and inflicted a tabloid media stranglehold. I do wish the Lib Dems had pursued the ‘higher path’, and recognised the greater danger, the way the Greens did. The way they bowed out in certain unwinnable constituencies and encouraged their supporters to vote Labour was nothing short of brave, commendable, humbling, and highly forward-thinking.
If this does all go south David, as I fear it will, the Lib Dems will sadly again bear some responsibility. Country should have come before party – certainly in THIS election.
There was one thing I didn’t have the guts to mention though. I cannot frickin’ stand Tim Farron. He’s a strange kind of weasel-man. Bring back Clegg for my money, any day.
Believe me, I hope Jeremy Corbyn is Prime Minister tomorrow morning. But in the event the Tories take the field, as in fairness was always the likelihood (Theresa May wouldn’t have called the election otherwise), I would settle for their position being weakened as much as humanly possible. Tory autonomy scares me more than ANYTHING.
It should scare the hell out of everybody.
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