It seems appropriate that I should be writing about politics on the day after we heard news about Margaret Thatcher dying, but this is a post I’ve been planning for a while, so the timing is coincidental.
What I want to talk about today are options.
I’ve been old enough to vote for 10 years now, but my political education began at a much younger age. I grew up in a staunchly left-wing family, a family of Trade Unionists, working class people who survived a Conservative regime which promised to ruin them. As far as my family were concerned, the UK wasn’t a two-party democracy as it would have been totally out of the question to vote for anyone but Labour.
As an adult I’ve had the opportunity to vote in two General Elections, one in 2005 and one in 2010. In 2005, I placed a family-influenced vote and helped Tony Blair get a second term as Prime Minister and then watched as the country got handed over to Gordon Brown. The less said about that, the better.
I didn’t place this vote because I knew about Labour’s policies, I placed it because that’s what I’d been taught. My vote automatically went with Labour and anything else was out of the question. I was 21, young, free and single and had no real interest in what was going on in the country, so long as the price of clothes, Benefit mascara and petrol didn’t go up by too much.
The General Election of 2010 met a completely different Jayne. By then, I was 26, a married mother of a two-year-old, renting a house and things like Tax Credits and funding for Education were suddenly a concern for me. I, like MANY people, was sick of the two-horse race and thought that a third party should be given a go, so my vote went to the Lib Dems.
Three years into this coalition Government and I imagine that most Lib Dem voters from 2010 are feeling rather like their fingers got burned. Instead of the Nick Clegg we wanted, we’ve ended up with a snivelling Tory lackey and one of the most shocking attacks on the working classes that we’ve seen in modern times. It’s no surprise, given his systematic dismantelling of public services, that Dave Cam is a huge fan of Maggie. I’ve been left feeling bitterly disillusioned by all concerned.
But here’s what I’ve realised; there ARE other parties.
Until 2010, we hadn’t had a party in power which wasn’t either Labour or Conservative for almost 100 years, which incidentally was another Con/Lib coalition government, but as long as we continue to regard the Big Two and the Main Straggler as the only two and a half parties worth getting our votes, the country will NEVER change. We need to alter the way we think and stop letting ourselves be led up the garden path by people who don’t care about us.
The three main parties have had their chance to prove themselves as worthy leaders, a task at which they seem to have consitently failed over the last few decades, and our cynicism at other parties not having the chops to run the country are quite frankly laughable, given the dross we’re still voting in, election after election.
The Green Party will be getting my vote next time. Having taken the time to give their policies a proper read, I think that they best represent my values and what I want for my family and our future.
This isn’t me telling you do vote for the Green Party, this is me telling you to investigate your options. Voting isn’t just putting a cross in a box, it’s about what is going to happen to us for a minimum of four years, and for me that merits a bit of thought and consideration. I know we’re stuck with the current bumbling halfwits for another two years, but educating yourself now might mean that you don’t walk into a booth in 2015 and just put your cross next to any old primary colour.
I’ve attached a copy of the short version of the Green Party policies below for you to read or download if you want to.
Green Party Manifesto