Tuesday, 1 May 2007

This voter decides

It's taken me a lot of time to decide how to vote on Thursday. Some of my fellow libertarians don't vote (it only encourages them!), some spoil their ballot papers and some will certainly be voting UKIP.

Back in the 1970's, many libertarians voted for the Conservatives, as they seemed to offer an alternative to the economically disastrous policies of Mr Wilson and Mr Callaghan. Margaret Thatcher did indeed carry out necessary reforms that benefited the economy of the UK as a whole including Scotland. Unfortunately there was neither reform of the welfare state nor of state education.

The current Labour government has done immeasurable harm to Britain. The economy has been kept going by unprecedented monetary expansion that will end in disaster - hopefully under the premiership of Gordon Brown. When he sold gold, I decided to buy. But a sick economy can be turned round fairly quickly when the correct policies are adopted. It is far more difficult to cure a broken culture, and that's what Britain now "enjoys". The Blair regime has laid waste to civil liberties that have taken centuries to evolve. It is perfectly correct to describe its policies as "fascist". For the first time in my life I am afraid of my own government. That is a shameful state of affairs.

Needless-to-say, the so-called Liberal Democrats offer no alternative. Despite making a few sound noises on ID cards, the LibDems are nanny statists par excellence. A conservative friend recently pronounced, "I'd rather vote for Tommy Sheridan than the LibDems!"

I am tempted to vote UKIP, but they do have a whiff of incompetence about them despite there being several sound activists in the party. They are not exactly on the radar here in Scotland. So shall I be voting Conservative again? Sort of.

I've met a few of the Tories on the Edinburgh City Council as well as my local candidate. They are normal people. They have real jobs, don't have windmills on their roofs, are unlikely to hug a hoodie and probably think the same sort of thing as I do about Polly Toynbee and her ilk. I'll be happily voting for my Conservative candidate for the City Council.

But that's as far as it goes for the Tories. I do understand that David Cameron is attempting to rebrand his party, but the only reason why they were in need of rebranding is because the Conservatives had totally failed to promote a consistent policy in favour of individual liberty. Where are their calls for slashing the over-bloated state? Why haven't they advocated huge tax cuts on principle? Why are they seemingly determined to remain in the EU no matter what the cost to Britain?

And so, to coin a phrase, it's time.

Rather to my surprise I've decided to vote SNP in the parliamentary election. Don't get me wrong - I remain a federalist, though doubt that a sensible federal solution for the UK will be adopted. If I lived in certain other constituencies I'd be voting Tory - I won't mention which candidates I have in mind, not wanting them to face the probable wrath of their party for the crime of liberty-speak. I would probably vote against independence were a referendum being held this week. But an independent Scotland is not unthinkable for me. Indeed, one reason I am voting for the Nationalists is my extreme annoyance at many of those in the English press and blogosphere who seem to have developed a strong hatred of Scotland. Yes, the West Lothian Question should have been dealt with - a position accepted by 99% of Scots. But all those claims about Scotland being an economic basket case have become rather tiresome. It ain't so and I can't be bothered to link yet again to the evidence. Suffice to say that we're number four out of the twelve UK regions and boringly average in the European economic context.

But my primary reason for voting for the Nationalists is this. What would Tony Blair want? What would Gordon Brown want? What would Joke McConnell want? The last thing they'd want is my voting SNP. So that's what I'll be doing and I hope and pray that Labour gets a good kicking on Thursday.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Sandy P
Well, now it gets interesting. 
But why join w/the EU? It's worse than what you've got.

5 May 2007, 04:19:03 GMT+01:00
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Whilst I personally regard European union as a giant expenses fraud and an undemocratic menace, it won't get a look in in Scotland until independance. In the meantime it's easier for most to blame Westminster.

5 May 2007, 01:33:47 GMT+01:00
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Reactionary Snob
I see your point but I don't think I could ever bring myself to vote for what is essentially Labour but without the Unionist sense. 
Excellent post.

4 May 2007, 02:25:39 GMT+01:00
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Wild Pegasus
That's a lot of thought invested in an action cancelled out by the guy who likes the Labour candidate's ties. 
- Josh

3 May 2007, 23:13:41 GMT+01:00
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As some English Tory councils had been seen to cut council tax and save money I was actually considering a local conservative vote, despite Cameron. Thankfully a leaflet arrived for an incumbent tory councillor the gist being vote tory because we spend more money than labour, even leeting us know that some of our money they were spending labour opposed. 
Just got a choice of various hues of socialism BNP (we are big on the BNP around here), Lib dems, labour, tory. 
So for the first time I have chosen non of the above and not voted, and will do the same until a proper liberty loving, small goverment, free trade party stands

3 May 2007, 22:04:44 GMT+01:00
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Mark R
Thanks for taking the trouble to puzzle over my post.  
If votes split between the lib dems, greens and the snp then thats fine - afraid they are all eurofascist parties in my view!  
Mark R

3 May 2007, 16:03:57 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

I don't understand your thinking regarding Edinburgh North, surely that seats a 2-horse race between Labour's Malcolm Chisholm and SNP's Davie Hutchison? 
No necessity to keep the Lib Dem's out there at all. 
Anyway, I'll be cancelling your vote out later today  
Very interesting post by the way, though it took me a few reads to understand it. (I'm a bit on the slow side, especially after lunch)

3 May 2007, 13:00:42 GMT+01:00
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Mark R
Should have added that I think effectively the Scottish Office powers date from the Act of Union and were put in because of the "elephant in the room" argument regarding England. So while it may be "unfair" to England its hardly new. The constitutional joker in the pack is the Welsh Assembly, which comes from the liberal Lloyd George invention of the Welsh Office (in 1911?) and has very limited devolved powers. Effectively the English were offered the Welsh Office/Assembly equivalents under Prescott's EU regional agenda, and, in my view quite rightly, they said thanks but no thanks.

3 May 2007, 12:21:17 GMT+01:00
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Mark R
Its got to depend where you live? 
I've just voted Labour in Edinburgh North to keep the Lib Dems out, and Conservative on the list because UKIP won't get above the threshold (self-fullfilling but realistic).  
There also seem to be some excellent candidates for the Council in Edinburgh central who have a chance of getting in under the STV system. 
I don't buy the "vote SNP to shake up the nanny state argument." SNP policies are pretty identical to the Lib Dems with a pretty meaningless Braveheart wrapper to all practical purposes(except more politico/lawyer jobs for themselves in Edinburgh and Brussels) 
Seems to me also that the asymetric constitutional argument is also over-done. Right now the Scottish "Parliament" is simply making the Scottish Office democratically accountable to local people. It has no more devolved powers than the Scottish Office had before. We still have the soveriegn dual parliament of Scotland and England and Wales (Northern Ireland being a province of the dual parliament). This dual parliament (kind of like the old Autro-Hungary) happens to sit in London and tends to vote on party lines rather than England/Scotland lines, hence asymemtry isn't a big issue. Its a pity the dual parliament doesn't sit in Scotland some of the time and then people might understand this point better and would not then see it as "English"? Better use of British taxpayers money than paying for the EU parasites to move around?

3 May 2007, 12:03:57 GMT+01:00
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Got to agree with your reasoning on voting SNP as it is a vote to give Labour a good kicking which they deserve so much, The Lib Dems have bolstered them up and seldom ever managed to achieve anything in their "coalition" with Labour and will now do anything to retain their derisory grasp on "power". So the choice left is Tory or SNP to get rid of Labour.  
I think the elections for Holyrood this year will ride on this and Scottish voters will turn to the SNP as required, but I don't believe that when offered full devolution in a referendum they will really want it.  
At this point the SNP become a party with no mandate or reason for existing, that will then be the first time we vote for a true representative Scottish parliament, by which time the Conservatives should be back on track. 
Dream over!

2 May 2007, 23:47:33 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

Once again I disagree, and moreover I am entitled to do whatever I please, including labelling your post as immature which I still happen to think it is. It doesn't mean I'm right of course but my view still remains. 
Despite all of these lovely entitlements that I have, I do not wish to get involved in a verbal slanging match with someone who has very different views to myself. From what I've seen of other people in a similar position, it rarely ends satisfactorily for either side. It's also a bit rude to do so on another's blog.  
So I'll calmly reverse the position of my back which was decidedly up after your first post. I will say that this line in your second post didn't help with my unbristling: "Without independence the SNP is nothing."  
Hope you enjoy the election.

2 May 2007, 23:45:18 GMT+01:00
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You are of course entitled to disagree with what I wrote if you wish - however you are not entitled to seek to try to dismiss a fellow citizen's opinions as 'immature'.  
Such impudence towards a fellow voter, someone who, when all's said and done, is in the same boat as yourself and whose voice is just as important as yours, does not bode  
well for pluralism in a nationalist Scotland.  
It's the sort of characterisation the Jacobins would have loved.  
Without independence the SNP is nothing. The seeking of it has been that entity's rationale since its foundation. If the voter is now to be told that independence is no longer a priority then not only have several generations of its supporters and party workers been betrayed but those leading it display themselves to be nothing more than really rather shabby pragmatists, presumably more interested in the power, pay and perks of devolved office rather than what we have been led to believe for many years was their higher goal.  
If the SNP achieve a majority an independence referendum should be held within a period of months, not years. It happened in 1997 and there is absolutely no reason it can't happen again. Right no we are in a consitutional no man's land, not waeker but no stronger, and the air has to be cleared on this sooner rather than later.  
If they win, fine, they have questions to answer about the sort of country they aspire to lead - if not, they can go on being elected managers.

2 May 2007, 17:16:12 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

Great article David, good to read through a voter's thought process.  
I did take umbrage with this line in the comments field: 
"A vote for the SNP is a vote for independence at all times and under all circumstances" 
Sorry, I totally and utterly disagree with that. The entire post was rather immature I thought actually. Why do so many people take 50 steps forward when considering voting for the SNP?  
All we are getting from May 4th is a change to council tax, other new policies and some fresh faces in the hot seat. This irrational fear related to the SNP running Holyrood is severely depressing. The world won't spin off its axes if Alex Salmond becomes First Minister for 4 years. (Or 8 for that matter).  
To link the election tomorrow to the consideration of whether there will be a Scottish security service and treason laws is frankly nonsensical. 
I will be voting SNP tomorrow, I think England is a marvellous country and I do not want Scotland to be independent, so there is one vote for the SNP that is not linked to independence. If you read David Farrer's post properly you will find another one.

2 May 2007, 16:31:45 GMT+01:00
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Welcome back.  
I'm afraid I can't agree with you.  
Yes, the Unionist Scottish cringe is absolutely nauseating - however an SNP vote tomorrow would put us down a road not just less travelled but so untravelled as not to be worth paving. 
A vote for the SNP is a vote for independence at all times and underall circumstances. What is the SNP's post-independence food policy? When the 'great day' comes, and the Saxonist Entity is crushed, are we all to eat or are we to fall on each other like wolves over the last packet of Turkey Twizzlers? 
What is their energy policy for when the black stuff starts getting thinner and thinner under ground? Is it back to metric psalms by candlelight? Are we going to buy the stuff from the Russians - and if so, how are we going to pay for it?  
Are we going to be a monarchy or a republic?  
Are we going to have a Scottish security service - MacI5, if you prefer? Because we don't really all believe that 'A man's a man for a' that' - do we? 
And the real litmus test - are we going to have a treason law? 
Until these questions can be answered voting for the SNP is actually dangerous; dangerous in that it will lead to independence without the slightest thought being given as to what kind of country an independent Scotland will be and how it will feed and heat itself.  
In 'Grasping the Thistle', Mike Russell did at least try to address some (but only some) of the real difficulties an independent Scotland would face; but his vision falls down when he blithely accepts the current 'globalised' world order.  
The difficulty of Scotland gaining independence in such an order is that having expressed its desire to be a nation it must then act like a nation - it must have some sense of national self-interest.  
And the sheer lack of such a vision of national self-interest from Scotland's current leaders shows then to be a pretty sorry bunch of Bismarcks.

2 May 2007, 14:09:32 GMT+01:00
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Simon Jester
It might seem a bit of a nitpick, but under Mrs. Thatcher there was some fairly significant reform of state education - most of it, unfortunately, in a particularly undesirable direction. Remember the national curriculum?

2 May 2007, 13:46:40 GMT+01:00