This blogpost is the last part of a four part series.
I have now devoted some 4000 words to why I have left the Liberal Democrats and how the coalition government is literally a matter of life and death for some people. The response I have had from my decision has been massive, but a significant part of it has been suggestions of other parties that I might be interested in joining. So I thought I would write a little bit on why I don’t think that is a good idea.
For all that I have said previously, I’m not going to say that there aren’t things I do quite like about the Coalition over their predecessors. The scrapping of the National Identity Register (though not for foreign nationals…). The scrapping of ContactPoint. Supporting the autonomy of home educators. Not spending £800 on a Christmas tree. Telling the EU to get stuffed when it asks for more money. That’s cool.
But do you remember the part where people are going to die…? Is a higher personal tax threshold really worth the increased poverty of millions? Please, coalition supporters, tell me how you can live with yourselves, because I am stumped. Would I give up my £700 a year to keep my friends with mental health issues on community support programmes and out of psychiatric wards, hospitals and graveyards? I’d give it up in seconds.
Many people have suggested that I join the Labour Party. Several of my friends have now done so in the wake of the election and the black-haired Mr. Milband taking the leadership. However, to those who seem to think that the Labour Party will save us all from the clutches of the scissor-wielding George Osborne, I can say only one thing: have you forgotten?
Have you forgotten Iraq, death of David Kelly, the millions of Iraqi dead, the protests of a million people ignored? Have you forgotten 90 day detention, 42 day detention, detention without trial, control orders, extraordinary rendition? The National Identity Register, the ContactPoint database, the Forward Intelligence Team, the Independant Safeguarding Authority, NHS spine? Tuition fees, academies, the slow but steady abolition of special schools? The expansion of prisons, prison sentences, and reactive legislation (Labour created one new offence a day, every day, for 13 years)? The privatisation of everything they could possibly justify, including health, transport, education, and the post office? The handover of sovereignty of Europe and refusal to hold a referendum that they promised us? The emphasis on political expediency over evidence-based policy (drug policy, introduction of “alternative therapies” on the NHS)? That whole deregulation of the banking sector thing?
Have you forgotten just why Labour lost its majority? It’s because they did the Tories’ work for them. How can anyone tell me that Labour are the answer when they were the problem until May this year? Do you seriously believe that a man who has been at the heart of government since 1997 and who has a cabinet made up of people *responsible* for the creation and implementation of these policies are suddenly going to become lovely, fluffy social democrats without a war-mongering, authoritarian, privatising bone in their body? I don’t think so. People tell me to join the Labour Party – I can only reply that they have very, very short memories.
People who want me to join the Green Party, however, are assuming that what I am looking for is an even whiter, even more middle class organisation. But while I care about the environment, I’m not prepared to deal with “the welfare problem” by putting everyone on it, giving everyone in the country £5000 a year and shutting down all private alternatives to public services. Here be authoritarian paternalism… The Green Party’s major priority seems to be, not spreading their message or persuading others of their policies, but getting the voting system reformed so their party can get more people elected. Somehow, I find that rather suspect. And what is up with that banning stem stell research thing?
I’m not joining any of the spectrum of the right wing parties on account of the fact that they are cheerleading on the kinds of policies that made me quit the Liberal Democrats in the first place. Been there, done that, sold out people worse off than myself. The left-wing parties I think are more thoughtful, but useless. I appreciate that socialists and communists are fundamentally concerned with human beings rather than money, but on the other hand I have far better things to do with my time than argue over the shades of theories of documents written in 1926 (you think I’m kidding…). No revolutionary system can be that detailed because no-one’s going to agree to implement it.
As for me, I think I am largely done with party politics now. But right now I’m pretty open-minded on where I go next, so feel free to leave a comment if you adhere to a brand of politics worth looking into. And by that, I mean one that doesn’t shrug at the potential death toll of thousands of people in favour of some vague idea of “fairness” that stops being meaningful the second you have the chance to do something about it.
Who’s Affected by the Cuts?: Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 3
Death to the Liberal Democrats! Or, Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 1
What’s Affected by the Cuts?: Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 2
it was very principled of you to leave the liberal democrats. well done. (that’s not meant to sound sarcastic, i really do think youve done a brave thing)
Thanks, Tom. Principles matter. :)
What he said. Thanks for leaving.
Well, I can’t be doing with my friends being fucked over by the govenrment I support, now, can I?
As a disabled person at the mercy of the coalition I’m very grateful to see someone else has grasped the reality of the situation. Government’s refuse to accept that there is a link between ill health and poverty. They prefer to believe disabled people are work shy, lazy scroungers and this will galvanise us into getting high powered jobs. I don’t know what the outcome will be but the ConDem’s are going to have alot of blood on their hands. I understand how you feel about the future of politics; I really don’t know who to support at the next election – spoiling the ballot paper is looking very tempting. I can see I’m going to be a regular follower of your blog! :)
Steve, thanks very much for your response. My article was originally going to be 700, but got longer and longer the more research I did. I said to my friend the other day what she thought would happen as a result of the closing of the independent living fund, and she said that a lot of people were going to die: 1) Through being put in nursing homes that can’t provide the level of care they need, and 2) through suicide rather than bear the humiliation and discomfort of the alternative.
Unfortunately, I believe both her and you, but there’s a whole section of my friends that have never been touched by disability or poverty in their lives who genuinely think that if the state doesn’t pay for it, then somebody else just will. Somewhere. Somehow. The reality is of course, very different.
On my political views, I don’t know. I find myself in something of a political wilderness right now. :(