Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Once more, with feeling

Even the Guardian, who were so staunchly anti-war right from the beginning, are urging its readers to look at the bigger picture and vote Labour.

I cast my postal vote for Labour last week. My constituency, Lancaster and Wyre has a Labour majority of only 481. It has only ever not been Conservative three times. (One of those was in the 1960s when the Conservative candidate was gay and Tory voters refused to vote for him - how charming that their own homophobia backfired on them). There are Tory posters up around town everywhere - all the farmers have them in their fields around town - it's impossible not to see them (although many have been vandalised with phrases like "Nasty" and "never again!".)

Many of my friends are voting Liberal, which indicates that the Tories will possibly get in where I live. I'm afraid I just don't get why Liberal voters feel the need to cut off their nose to spite their face. The Tories won't help the poor locally - they'll do the opposite - they'll be a 100 times worse than Blair's posse ever could be. You think you have a right-wing government now? You ain't seen nothing yet!

If the Liberals stood a chance of winning then it would be super to have the choice to vote for them or Labour. But unfortunately it's just not going to happen. The only choice is Labour or Conservative. Why can't people accept that and deal with the reality of it? Why can't they face this fundamental fact of life? Why so delusional? What's the point of making such a futile, contrary and essentially selfish protest? Most of my Liberal voting friends are quite young - too young to really remember what the Tories were like, still very idealistic about life, and ultimately, many of them have few actual responsibilities. I think many of them will be initially triumphant if the Tories actually get in - because they will have defeated the villainous warmongering Blair. But what a hollow victory it will be - and what enormous long-term consequences such a protest will have. How ultimately foolish and dangerous.

If you want to make some form of protest about the war - then how about wearing a clothes-peg on your nose as Polly Toynbee has suggested when you go into the polling booth to vote Labour? How about starting an anti-war blog? Or going on a march? You may not like Labour - but they are the best we're going to get. Get over it. And vote for them. Because the old saying "Better the Devil you know" has never been more real at this moment.