Friday, 1 May 2015

Who I won't be voting for

Lots and lots of people have written to me to ask questions like "which party do you think I should vote for?" and "who are you going to vote for then?". The problem with these questions is that I don't want to endorse one single party, because the best choice of candidate really depends on which constituency you are voting in. There's no way I'm going to blanket endorse one single party for all 650 constituencies in the UK, but I do want to try to answer people's questions.

Yesterday I received my postal ballot papers and as I was deliberating over how to use my vote, I thought of the idea of creating an article detailing the process.

In my constituency there are only seven candidates, the three Westminster establishment parties, UKIP, the Green Party, the left-wing TUSC and the single issue Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol Party.

The Tories

There is absolutely no way that I would ever vote for the Tory candidate because I oppose the extremist ideology that underpins their party. The Conservatives are the party that represents the wealthy and the privileged and do everything in their power to transfer even more wealth and power to the tiny super-rich minority at the expense of everyone else. It amazes me that so many millions of ordinary people are incapable of understanding that voting for the Tories is blatantly voting against their own best interests.

The Tory track record in government over the last five years has been utterly appalling. I can't possibly detail all of the terrible things they've done in a single article, so I'll just provide a few links.

Anyone who votes Tory is complicit in all of this.

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats dug their own political graves when they signed up to a formal coalition agreement with the Tories. Not only did the Lib-Dems help the Tories to push through all of the vile stuff detailed above, they also did a number of other revolting and ridiculous things.

The way they U-turned on their pledge not to increase tuition fees was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. By doing that they stabbed one of their core demographics in the back, and they also demonstrated to everyone that a Lib-Dem pledge isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Some of the totalitarian stuff the Lib-Dems helped the Tories vote through is even more concerning. This so-called Liberal party used their votes to support extremely illiberal legislation like Secret Courts, The Gagging Law and DRIP. There's no way that a party that supported such horrifyingly illiberal stuff should be allowed to include the word "liberal" in their name.

An additional factor is that my Lib-Dem candidate apparently doesn't even live in the constituency, in fact their registered address is somewhere completely the other end of the country. If they can't be bothered to find a local candidate and have to choose someone from hundreds of miles away to parachute in, then they're not getting my vote - and that goes for any party, not just the Lib-Dems.


UKIP is an extreme-right "Thatcherism on steroids" political party that is 90% bankrolled by Tory money, riddled with failed, disgraced and defected Tories and led by a former Tory party activist who describes the party as the only one "keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive".

The really odd thing is that UKIP tend to get a lot of support from working class people, even though the party is pushing an economic agenda that goes completely against the interests of ordinary working class folk. If you can't understand why working class people voting for a party led by such a devout Thatcherite is so appalling, perhaps you should read this article


If the Labour representative in my constituency was one of the small minority of genuine left-wingers remaining in the Labour Party (politicians like McDonnell, Corbyn, Mearns, Morris ...) I'd definitely consider supporting them with my vote because the more genuinely left-wing people there are in the Labour party trying to drag it back towards its founding principles, the better.

Unfortunately the Labour candidate in my constituency is a Blairite former banker who styles themself as being tougher than the Tories, so I certainly won't be voting for a red-Tory like that under any circumstances.

The Green Party

I'd been writing about politics for several years before I noticed the fact that the Green Party support many of the same ideas as I do. Some of the most notable crossovers are their support for electoral reform, Basic Income, renationalisation of the railways and energy companies, clamping down on tax-dodging and possibly most important of all; monetary reform.

If I lived in Caroline Lucas' constituency, I'd certainly support her with my vote because I think she's easily the best MP in parliament. If I lived in a constituency where the Greens have a decent chance of winning (Bristol West, Solihull, Norwich South, Liverpool Riverside or Sheffield Central) then I'd also be highly likely to support them with my vote. The problem is that the Green Party stand no chance of winning in my constituency, so under our antiquated and infuriatingly non-proportional voting system, all it would ever be is a protest vote.


Not many people know much about the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition. In my view they are pretty much what the Labour Party used to be before Tony Blair turned them into a Thatcherism-lite party in the mid-1990s.

I agree with a lot of their left-wing policies and their anti-austerity stance, and I also have a great deal of respect for their leader Dave Nellist, but like the Green Party they don't have the faintest chance of winning the seat, meaning that under our antiquated voting system, a vote for them is nothing more than a protest vote.

Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol

The evidence based research is absolutely clear that cannabis is significantly less harmful and less addictive than legal drugs like alcohol and cigarettes - as are many other currently illegal drugs (such as psylocybin mushrooms, DMT, khat, MDMA ...).

It doesn't take a great deal of pragmatism to understand that the "war on drugs" is a spectacular waste of time and resources that results in far more harms than the drugs themselves. It's also completely obvious that the "war on drugs" has completely failed in its objectives given that more people than ever are using recreational drugs.

I'm also a strong believer in the libertarian case for ending drug prohibition, because as long as people are not harming other people by doing so, the state has absolutely no business whatever telling them which substances they are and are not allowed to ingest.

The problem is that while I agree with the proposition that 'cannabis is safer than alcohol', that's simply not enough for me to vote for a single issue political party.

Spoiling my ballot paper

Not voting at all is a staggeringly ineffective form of political protest, because all it does is transfer more political power to those who do vote, and renders the non-voting individual indistinguishable from the apallingly apathetic "I don't care a jot about who gets to rule over my life" brigade.

If I was unwilling to vote for any of the parties listed above I'd definitely submit a spoiled/blank ballot paper rather than not vote at all.

My vote

Out of the eight options outlined above, four are completely unacceptable. I'm never going to vote Tory or UKIP; after their betrayal in 2010 I will not be voting for the Lib-Dems because I can't believe a word they say; and there's absolutely no way that I'll be voting for a "red Tory" member of the Labour Party.

Two of the other options are not very good. I'm not going to vote for a single issue party (even though I agree with their proposition) and I'm not going to spoil my ballot paper.

This leaves me with a choice between the Green Party and the TUSC. I'm not going to tell you which one I have decided to vote for, because that would be too close to a blanket endorsement for my liking.

All I'll say is that I did some research into the two candidates and chose the one I liked the most. If you want to research your local candidates before voting, then this website is particularly useful.

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The decline in political participation and the rise of the non-traditional parties
The terrifying scale of political illiteracy in the UK
How George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
Lib-Dems vs Labour in the strategic ineptitude stakes
Why 73% of UKIP supporters should actually vote Green
Why not voting is such a pitifully ineffective form of protest
Austerity is a con