In a continuation of our recent opinion series leading up to the election, Guy Austin tell us why he will be voting Liberal Democrat on the 7th of May 2015…
Iâ€™m voting Lib Dem.Â Itâ€™s a fudge, a compromise.Â Iâ€™d prefer to spoil my ballot paper given whatâ€™s on offer, but, I know that if I do, politicians will continue to serve the interests of the old â€“ triple locking the State Pension, increasing NHS spending ad infinitum and failing to implement any significant measures which will increase the supply of housing in London and the South East – and shaft the young.Â Not that I think voting should be about picking a party that serves your interests, mind.
I wonâ€™t be voting for the SNP or Plaid Cymru because they wonâ€™t be fielding candidates in my constituency, Poplar and Limehouse, but also because I do not hate the English or feel that independence would improve the lot of the English, Scottish or Welsh.
UKIP or the â€˜common sense partyâ€™ donâ€™t appeal.Â Itâ€™s probably because I donâ€™t have much common sense as I think that leaving Europe, despite its numerous problems, would not be wise and that without immigration Britain would be a weaker place economically and culturally.
The Green Party canâ€™t count, and the â€˜quiet revolutionâ€™, given its Â£100 billion black hole, would herald economic ruin and ultimately Greekesque public spending cuts.Â But then again how can you put a price on saving the planet?Â Well, actuallyâ€¦..
Economically, Iâ€™m of a liberal bent so Iâ€™m averse to Labourâ€™s tax and spend big government mantra.Â If thereâ€™s anything in the kitty, Labour will spend it.Â Then again, the Conservatives, allegedly the party of economic competence, donâ€™t seem to be that interested these days in pursuing measures that will help the nationâ€™s finances including an Â£8 billion increase in NHS spending pledge; triple locking the State Pension; and propping up the housing market at all costs with the help to buy schemes and the Inheritance Tax break on family homes (encouraging the already warped sense of entitlement in Surrey and the Shires that this is an asset that is somehow special and should cascade down the generations).Â Conservatives of intellect, ideas and clout like Hague, Gove and Willetts have left or been demoted while Grant Shapps and Esther McVey have risen.Â It has become a party of rank political opportunism undeserving of office.Â It has shirked away from every â€˜tough decisionâ€™ (education reforms aside) during its current term, which cannot be blamed on its coalition with the Lib Dems.
The Lib Dems arenâ€™t proposing anything particularly exciting â€“ they canâ€™t as theyâ€™re preparing for another coalition â€“ but at least they have maintained their pro-immigration stance and are not proposing anything particularly idiotic.Â They were also responsible for the most laudable policy of the current government: raising the Personal Allowance, bringing a swathe of low paid workers out of the Income Tax net.Â Perhaps most importantly, given that the Party is likely to haemorrhage votes at the election and fall behind the Greens and UKIP in the popular vote, voting for them at this election might help to keep them afloat and remain a meaningful force in British politics.