Thursday, 6 May 2010

My name is Claire, and I'm a Liberal Democrat. I think.

The biggest surprise of this election for me will not be the result: I think its sheer unpredictability has robbed it of its ability to shock. (Though I hope I'm wrong - thank you Guardian for reminding me of that Portillo moment from 1997. Moments like that are worth staying up for!)

No, the biggest surprise is that I appear to be a Liberal Democrat.

Maybe it was the TV debates and how Nick Clegg was so inspiring. Or maybe it was the nausea that David Cameron's shiny face triggers in the pit of my stomach, and the thought that it's unlikely Gordon will be able to beat him.

Or maybe it's the following...

1) I'm a Liberal Democrat for all the reasons I used to be Labour. And I've been Labour since I was 16 and began to understand politics thanks to A Level Sociology (thank you Mrs Garrod and Mr Archer of Kirkley High School). I've been a paying member on and off (too disorganised for much more than that) and even at times an active one, if by active you mean going along to monthly consituency meetings. I wish I'd known then I'd be writing novels, because the characters I met there could populate them. But that's another, erm, story.

My main reason for having been Labour was this: I believe in a more equal distribution of wealth, and I believe the Government should facilitate this, including and perhaps primarily through a progressive tax system. So when Nick Clegg says he wants to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000, that pushes my buttons a little more than, say, Labour abolishing the 10p tax rate or David Cameron letting the rich off estate tax.

That's my main reason.

But, also.

2) I believe in proportional representation. I can't see what could possibly be fairer. I don't think there should be such a thing as a wasted vote; if there wasn't, perhaps turnout would be higher; perhaps people would be more engaged. Which, surely, in a democracy, are all good things.

3) Those who haven't yet unfollowed me on twitter in disgust will no doubt close this blog right now. But the thing is, I'm pro Europe. Well, someone has to be. I dislike our isolationist attitude, and I'm not sure about allying ourselves less with our closest neighbours than we do with the US with all their talk (albeit historial) of "freedom from the British".

So there you go. I'm posting this early on 7th May, and still no one knows what's going to happen. And there's one constituency I'd really rather the Lib Dems had not taken, so now I'm confused, all over again.

Perhaps I'm still Labour after all.

1 comment:

Laura and Ben said...

The voting system in the UK is so frustrating. In Sussex the Conservatives always win by such a large majority, there’s just so little point voting. When you look at the percentage of the vote for each party, it’s so much closer than the seats would suggest.
Ugh – the Euro-scepticism in the UK drives me mad.
On the plus side – at least Nick Griffin was defeated!