Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Five Reasons I Shall Vote Labour

Here are five main reasons I shall vote Labour, in UK General Election due on 8th June.

First, the Conservative Government under Theresa May is, contrary to its claim, neither strong nor stable. If it was so, we did not need an election at all. The Government had a majority, secured in an election only two years ago. Implicit in Ms May's claim of 'Strong and Stable' is indeed an admission of lack of strength and stability. And, if anyone thought a Conservative Victory in the elections will make Ms May strong, one must remember that it would also encourage the Brexit lobby of the Conservative Party, thereby making the Government more weak and wobbly.

Second, this has been a government of U-Turns. Even in the short stint that Ms May had as Prime Minister, she proved herself too fond of making U-Turns. The most spectacular of all U-Turns was, of course, breaking the Fixed Term Parliament law, something that the previous government - in which Ms May was a Senior Member - passed with the pledge to stop opportunistic electioneering. Ms May indeed promised many times to follow this, until of course she saw her opportunity! After that, there was the wobble about raising National Insurance by breaking a manifesto promise, which had to be U-Turned. And, then, there was the whole fiasco of 'Dementia Tax', and Ms May's very public obfuscation and U-Turns. Far from strong and stable, Ms May's government has really Opportunistic and Clueless.

Third, there is the issue of Brexit. The key question Conservatives are posing to the country whether one should trust Ms May or Mr Corbyn to negotiate the Brexit. For the reasons mentioned above, it is hard to trust Ms May with anything: Her politics is one of sloganeering with little substance. Mr Corbyn, on the other hand, proved to be one of those rare breed of politicians with authenticity, unafraid to stick to his principles - as in his stand against the war on terror - and yet democratic enough to allow pluralist politics, as evidenced in Labour manifesto. I was, in the past, disappointed with his stance on Brexit, but for the same reason, I shall trust Mr Corbyn - an Eurosceptic Internationalist - to lead Brexit negotiations, over Ms May, with her reed-in-the-wind politics alongside a Little Englander world view.

Fourth, there is the question of British economy. Britain faces huge issues going forward - perhaps one of the considerations why Ms May wanted an election now - and the Conservative manifesto offers no new ideas. For all the sneer about the Labour plans to nationalise railways, on the other hand, one knows that is a good policy: The kind of long term investment that public infrastructure needs in this country would not happen otherwise. In the reverse of the public image of Mr Corbyn as a head-in-the-cloud socialist, he is the one who has a plan; as for Ms May, she is all soundbites and no ideas.

Finally, there is the question of public services. The Conservative rule over the last seven years has brought National Health Services on its knees, and seriously affected the Schools and Universities in Britain. Another full term for Conservatives would be an unmitigated disaster. The best idea Conservatives have about Health Services are apparently 'competition', a formula that has failed and is an euphemism for introduction of American style Private Health Care in this country (notwithstanding the fact that US has one of the most inefficient - both in terms of cost and outcome - health services in the developed world). For schools, their best idea is to expand selective Grammar Schools, expanding the segregation based on the failed formula of aptitude testing. For universities, their plans are to try to return to an imagined Golden Age of Oxbridge, which is completely at odds with the reality of modern mass Higher Education. In all counts, Labour is committed to Public Services. They have a much better plan to handle the 'Precariat', those who live precariously on the borderline of proletarian existence with zero-hour contracts, no assets and pensions, which is going to be the biggest challenge for Britain moving forward.

Now, I am not a Labour member, and not even a dyed-in-the-wool Labour voter. In previous elections, I have variously voted Lib Dems and Greens. I have been disappointed by Labour squabbles, and particularly the attempts by the professional politicians in Labour ranks - of which the Labour candidate in my area is one - to shift away from the commitment to Public Services. I was indeed opposed to the war in Iraq (hence, voted for Lib Dems in the past) and in Cameron's misadventures in Libya and Syria (and of some Labour leaders voting for those). I have been disappointed about Mr Corbyn not being vocal about European integration, but have now come to see his stance as a principled one against European technocracy, precisely what we need. 

Hence, regardless of Labour's chances to win the election, I have decided to vote Labour. 




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