Saturday, 20 February 2010

Four Reasons why even Socialists should Vote Labour this May

It may be a statement that is unpopular, even shocking. The very thought of voting for the current, neo-liberal Labour Party feels as uninviting to some as voting for the neo-liberal Conservatives currently in opposition. These natural and understandable inclinations are especially strong among the Labour Party's areas of core support, namely Scotland (who never once voted for Maggie Thatcher, but had to suffer her questionable 'leadership' for three successive terms) and the North. David Cameron may say that we are living in 'Broken Britain', but I am here to give you four major reasons why a Britain that has to endure at least four years of a Conservative party who appear to be trying to replicate their most infamous ex-leader's ideas, would be ruined beyond repair. I am here to give you reasons why it is important for even those with actual left-wing values and morals to be pragmatic and vote for Labour in May's election, even if only to avoid the horrors of a Tory government.

1: Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson. The Mayor of London. I hardly know where to start in describing exactly how much of a favour he does every single day for those who point out how damaging a Tory government would be for Britain. Two of his deputies- namely Ray Lewis and Tim Parker- resigned amid scandals within the first two months of his Mayoralty. Surely this is enough of an indictment of his catastrophic leadership ‘skills’ to put people off voting another Conservative into power for a long time to come. But, after the lies, the fare rises, the suppression of the arts and attempted banning of strikes, he managed to surpass himself over the past week. Deciding that the foundations of five bridges in London need work is one thing- probably a correct decision, as maintaining bridges is very important. But to then brainlessly decide to close all five at once? Is he deliberately trying to bring travel chaos to London? Two of the bridges, namely Battersea Bridge and the Albert Bridge, are right next to each other, forcing all traffic to search for an alternative route across the river. Is this the standard of Tory decision making? If so, there is no better argument necessary to urge people to keep the Conservatives out of power at all cost, come May.

2: Nicholas Winterton

Over recent years, the Conservatives have tried to shed their ‘Nasty Party’ image. Of course, this is merely an attempted illusion, a whitewash over the real nature of the party: one that cares only about perpetuating and defending the class system, trying to allow those who can afford it to prosper and simply leave those who can’t, through no fault of their own, out in the cold to suffer. They claim to be against big government because it interferes in people’s lives, when they would be better off left alone. But once again this proves they only care about the middle and upper classes, those wealthy enough to look after themselves without state support. For the working class majority, this state ‘interference’ is actually a powerful tool to help them survive, and it is very welcome. A prime example of the fact that the Tories will never ever shed this image, no matter how hard they try is of Nicholas Winterton (no I don’t care that he’s been knighted), MP for Macclesfield. He is one of the Members of Parliament who are stepping down in disgrace at the next election, following the Expenses Scandal. Recently, he was quoted as saying that he was angry that MPs weren’t automatically allowed to travel first class on trains. Attempting to justify this, he said that MPs were simply a “different type of person” than those who travel in Standard Class. A vote for the Tories at the next general election is a vote for this kind of snobbery, which tries to separate people because of their social class, not something they have earned, thus widening the gap between rich and poor.

3: Recent Tory comments on Education:

It is well known that the more right-wing parties favour privatisation over nationalisation, valuing supposed monetary prudence over the actual quality of the service provided. The privatisation of hospital cleaning services started by the Conservatives (and, admittedly, continued by this ‘Labour’ government) has given rise to the current MRSA superbug, not to mention hospitals actually becoming extremely dangerous places to visit for the healthy, let alone for the gravely ill. So it won’t come as too much of a surprise to you that the Conservatives want to bring the unwelcome influence of private, profit-making companies into the field of education as well. Yes, you heard correctly, the Tories want to turn schools into profit making companies, once again attempting to make money, this time at the expense of the future of this nation and of the world. Likewise, it wasn’t a huge shock that Chris Woodhead, controversial former head of the National Curriculum Council has backed the idea, even going as far as stating that these schools should be free of the government and the national curriculum altogether- basically they should copy independent schools. As is typical of the Tories, they are favouring an environment where people are forced to fend for themselves, even when they are clearly incapable of doing so, over one where the state helps in any way- they see that as ‘big government’. To judge whether such plans for schools are wise ones, the most suitable people to ask are those involved in the sector- teachers. It is important to note that, as stated in a recent survey for Ipsos MORI, 25% of teachers would still vote Labour, a majority of 7% over the Conservatives. It is vital that we realise that they know best about the educational future of our children, and that we follow them on this decision. If we let the Tories into power, they will destroy our education system, just as they did our hospitals and our manufacturing industry.

4: Margaret Thatcher

Seeing as we just talked about destroying parts of the country, this makes for a very neat transition into my final reason why even socialists who are disillusioned with Labour should vote them in, in May, to keep out a potential Conservative government. That reason is simple: Margaret Thatcher. It is quite amusing to note that Thatcher, in a public survey about past British Prime Ministers, received the most first preference votes- that is, the most people thought she was the greatest ever Prime Minister (there are obviously a lot of people out there who don’t think about anyone other than themselves). It is also interesting to note that she received the second most LAST preference votes, behind only Gordon Brown- which, in itself, I find rather disappointing and unfair. The most pressing reason why we should all work as hard as we can to keep the Conservatives out is the simplest. The last thing we want is to go back to the dark days of the 1980s, with the poll tax, the tearing apart of communities and strikes galore caused by a government that simply didn’t care about anyone other than the aristocratic elite. Lets just say that the Labour posters that contain a mixture of Cameron’s face and Thatcher’s are very accurate.

I’m urging all Socialists out there to, just this once, put the fact that the Labour party hasn’t been in touch with its roots for at least 60 years behind you. It is vital to vote pragmatically and tactically to prevent further damage to this country and keep Cameron’s Tories from getting into power. New Labour may not be an actual Labour party, but it is far better than what we could suffer if we make the wrong choice in May.