The problem, for me, of playing the election game tactically is that it all just feels a bit apathetic. There’s a party out there that I want to vote for, that stands for more of the things that I believe in than any of the others but if I vote for them I could get 1000 times worse than if I take the meh option. So rather than take the rare opportunity to vote for real change I am being told to vote to maintain the status quo - the very thing I want to be rid of - for if I do not the status quo will become even worse. If I wasn’t so helpless it would be infuriating. But since I am utterly helpless it is simply ‘meh’ and get on with it.
Because of the mainstream parties’ innate collective inability to listen to an unhappy electorate - instead preferring to press ahead with sometimes deeply flawed and often self-serving policies - we now find ourselves with myriad parties to vote for, all of them trying to offer a little of what the mainstream do not. We have even seen a debate on television involving the leaders of seven different parties.
Of those seven parties the three mainstreamers sit atop the tree, even if only by virtue of their current job in Clegg’s case. While they are more than reticent when it comes to stating their full intentions should they be elected, they appear to be very happy to play fortune teller when it comes to making predictions about what will happen if I vote for X, Y or Z. And somehow, for Cameron and Miliband, this rhetoric works in tandem with them telling us they are going to win a majority.
It is not in the mainstreamers’ interests to recognise any real backlash among the British public over the emotive issue of privilege. To do so would be to threaten their own children’s futures. Instead they must cling on for as long as they can to the last bastions of an outdated, not fit for purpose system.
Only 5 years ago coalition was a dirty word. So feared was it there was (what we can now plainly see as) risible talk of a second general election. Yet today coalition is the future! Rather than face the prospect of handing over to someone new, with new ideas on how public money should be raised and spent, the old guard are actually willing to jump into bed with each other to salvage the dregs of the old regime; the one that brought them to where they are today - and the country to where it is. The regime that merely sees the balance of power shift from Labour to Conservative and back again ad infinitum.
For the second successive election no one party is expected to win a majority. Yet rather than evolve to appeal to a larger proportion of the electorate they so vociferously claim to know and represent, our statesmen would rather bury their heads in the sand. Insist you can win, then form a coalition when you don’t. The aim of the strategy is to keep any form of new order out of positions of tangible power. And it works. But that they are willing to compromise party policy in pursuit of a personal salary, yet not in order to gain a larger support base, is politically absurd and utterly shameful.
I live in Scotland where I have the opportunity to vote for the only party in the United Kingdom that genuinely cares about Scotland. I like the Greens policy of high taxation for the rich but, alone, it is not enough to persuade me to vote for them. However, if the Labour Party were cute and took the SNP’s stance on Trident and/or the Green Party’s stance on tax and/or either party’s stance on fracking, instead of burying their heads in the sand so they can keep Cameron and his cronies in work one way or another, I would have to seriously reconsider deserting them - as, I suspect, would many other people who will be voting SNP or Green today. They might even gain a few Plaid votes. And a further benefit of such common sense would be the mess it would leave the Tories in. They would be forced to become more UKIP and decent Tories - for they do exist on some misguided sphere - would be forced to reconsider their vote.
But I am dreaming. There is no chance of anything remotely radical happening in this election. Since no one can get a majority the individual careers of the mainstream leaders is better served with a hugely divided electorate that ensures ‘the other guy’ isn't left in power to his own devices. Miliband and Cameron are fighting for top dog status with Clegg sniffing around for any scraps that might be thrown his way. Power will continue to pendulum depressingly one way before the other, as a constant stream of public schoolboys continue with short-term policies that guarantee their pensions and their kids’ educations, thus enabling the cycle of privilege to stay alive and well - the price being coalition.
This election has been relatively free of ‘British Values’, which I welcome. I have never really been sure what they are: tolerance, justice and freedom maybe? But aren’t those just the traits of any decent human being, whatever country they hail from? While I admit a great deal of tolerance has been shown to dodgy bankers, bent police officers, peadophiles and their employers, telephone hackers, illegal-war mongerers, tax dodgers and MPs caught with both hands in the expenses pot, it can hardly be described as admirable. And while Cameron peddles the myth that he has created a fair society, try telling that to the families of the 96 Hillsborough victims who have campaigned for justice under both Tory and Labour governments, or victims of the bedroom tax, or the people whose property value has plummeted because their homes are being fracked under without their consent. And can freedom even be a value? The only British Value I can detect is this new one being coerced upon us; that of taking the meh option.
But this time around I don’t have to apathetically vote for the second or third best of a bad lot, muttering ‘meh’ as I scribble my X against the anointed candidate’s name. I will be voting for what I believe in - not in the belief that it will make much difference in the forthcoming term of government, but in the hope that this is the start of a peaceful revolution that will take many years and several elections to gain pace and achieve its noble aims. This time I am not willing to take the meh option.