Wednesday, 7 June 2017

I'm a Voting Uncertain

I was asked by a friend, why in a recent posting did I picture Theresa May in a "boob tube"? Do I fancy her ore something? No. Hardly, and not my intention! The picture is based on her wearing a dress at one of these lavish dinners she attended before adopting the mushroom-top hairstyle. I have added that recent hairy innovation and made the dress Tory blue. Presumably May adopted the Mushroom-bob to emphasise her willingness to press the nuclear button.

Beyond such utter trivia I approach this General Election in a condition of uncertainty. I said I firmed up towards the Liberal Democrats, but I am in a real dilemma.

It was Thursday last week that Jeremy Corbyn introduced his team to take us out of the European Union, and I said to myself that I cannot support a policy with a positive vote to take us out of the European Union.

The assumption here is that the Liberal Democrats would not take us out of the European Union, if forming the government. However, their manifesto is for opposition, having a 'destination referendum' at the end. And so it has to be said that one of the contenders for government will be removing us from the EU, with Labour at least offering the vague possibility of staying in at the end.

The argument is simple. Whatever we do, Europe is still there, and we will still have to obey trading rules. All we lose is the ability to shape those rules by removing from the political processes of decision making. We therefore lose not gain sovereignty.

However, I am impressed by the rest of the Labour programme and, having been a critic of Corbyn's ability to run his office, he has come on a bundle with the campaign. It is the manifesto that matters: all governments receive Civil Service support.

Corbyn himself responds and communicates, compared with the robotic May and the staccato Farron.

Farron is such a disappointment. He does not have a good wicket - the election argument he presents comes in nearly two years. But he is not much cop anyway. I would vote Liberal Democrat despite him, even despite the manifesto. The manifesto should say that a General Election trumps a referendum and a Liberal Democrat government would not take us out of the European Union. Instead, he has given the same sacred badge to an advisory referendum with a narrow vote to remove.

The Labour presentation is far more positive. This week unmediated coverage has shown Labour at its best, including on security. Corbyn is right to say resources for anti-terrorism must be under judicial review and preserving liberties. But then I am forced to vote for Karl Turner in East Hull. He did not reply to my correspondence. He has acted among MPs against Corbyn, and showed his own variability on such lack of principles. If I voted for him, I cannot know that I have voted positively for the Corbyn led government that will not suddenly have most of its MPs try and rebel including the sheepish Karl Turner, who follows the flock.

I think if I lived in West Hull and Hessle I would vote Labour. The candidate there is untested, and seems also non-Corbyn, but it is a Labour-Tory marginal and Labour (ex-Alan Johnson) is under threat. In East Hull, however, Turner sits on a pile and it allows me to vote first choice.

Trouble is, I do not know what my first choice is any more. I don't want to punish the Liberal Democrats twice for their part in the coalitition, as I did in 2015, but Farron has simply failed to make the case. In effect, two years only on, they are going to be punished twice. it's not clear they will even advance: they could lose seats. I hope they do not, and people in their Tory marginals support the Liberal Democrats despite Farron and the weak manifesto.

However, the positive thrust is with Labour at the national level. And it could be that I make my mind up staring at the ballot paper.

It is not a boob-tube but based on a dress she wore at one of these dinners before she changed her hairstyle to a mushroom. Presumably the mushroom bob is to reflect her commitment to hitting the nuclear button.

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