Time for a serious general election post. I’m not exactly enamoured by any party at the moment. I’ll go through them one by one.
The Lib Dems are my most natural party fit but they’ve got tunnel vision in that they’re focusing so narrowly on brexit. I don’t think Tim Farron is doing a particularly good job overall. I think he goes too much for superficial criticisms of the government without convincingly pushing what he’d do better. His heart’s in the right place, but he’s not really hitting the right note. Dare I say it that in the alternate universe where Farron was leader during the coalition and Clegg became leader in 2015, I think they’re doing a lot better.
I’m pretty much bored of brexit. My opinion is exactly the same as it was on the morning of the 24th June. I think it’s a stupid idea and I think most of the people who voted for it are a bit thick, but I also don’t expect it to affect me much or at all. I expect the effects to be experienced primarily by the people who did vote for it. Some people who didn’t will be collateral damage, and that’s unfortunate, but nobody is changing their minds and I personally have become fatigued of arguing it. At the moment I am of the opinion that the battle is lost and we might as well let brexiteers enjoy their pyrrhic victory and let things get worse, at which point we can argue that rejoining the single market will allow them to get better. I don’t foresee us rejoining the EU, nor do I think that’s a big loss. The single market, however, is, and I think that will become obvious in time.
The reason I don’t think being in the single market but not the EU is a problem is because when we had full EU privileges we did such a bad job of representing ourselves. Our largest party in the European parliament is Ukip, whose entire raison d’etre is to not turn up unless they want to punch someone or vote against something on principle, even when it benefits us. With friends like that, who needs enemies. We’re better off outside of the politics and inside the market.
Next up is Labour. I’m not voting Labour while Corbyn’s in charge. Even if he unveils a set of policies that resonates with me I still wouldn’t trust him to have the leadership skills to run the country and implement them correctly. There’s not much to add here, the leader makes the party untenable.
Ukip? No. Greens? No.
The only party left is the Tories. Before I go any further, acquaint yourself with government welfare spending:
You will notice that the largest chunk of welfare, by far in the lead, is pensions, accounting for 42% of welfare spending. This is because Cameron employed something called the ‘triple lock’, which led to pensions increasing by 2.5% per year regardless of economic conditions of everyone else. In the same timeframe, wages have stagnated and working age benefits have been cut aggressively. The triple lock is unsustainable, unfair and needs to go.
I have a lot of disdain for the fact that not only did Cameron’s government put pensioners first at the expense of younger and working age people, but also that he used the logic that the deficit had to be cut because Labour spent irresponsibly, while simultaneously handing out tax breaks. These two things are similar because they led to people being insulated from the effects of the economics they vote for and pushing the monetary burden onto someone else.
If you want to vote for a party who will cut the deficit, you have to accept that you will have to pay for it. If you want to vote that the country leaves the EU and suffers economic consequences, you have to accept you will have to pay for it. You can’t expect other people to pay your part.
But David Cameron and Theresa May are different people and in different circumstances. So when I hear Theresa May happily and clearly committing to foreign aid spending one minute then waffling meaninglessly when asked to commit to the triple lock and doing the same when asked to commit to Cameron’s tax promises, I’m suddenly wondering if she’s going to put out a manifesto I might feel happy voting for.
It’s early days yet and I’m still likely to vote Lib Dems as basically a protest vote, but I’ll be watching Theresa May with great interest.