What a conumdrum.
There is a general election that must be held by 3rd of June, 2010.
The Conservatives, perhaps feeling a little full of themselves have made a nice little widget:
So there we go. I’ve got ▲▲ that long to decide who to vote for.
At the moment, my thoughts can be summarised as follows (in no particular order):
I am a leftie – so by rights, labour should be my natural choice of party – however – the labour party has recently been anything but leftie. Gordon Brown has become a massive liability. Their handling of the economic crisis is dubious at best, and the poverty gap in the UK is certainly no narrower now than it was at the end of the 90s. Add to this the fact that the unelected Lord Mandelson now commands an awful lot of power in Whitehall again, and worse than that, seems to be misusing it to please his entertainment industry buddies – the labour party are not for me any more. I cannot vote for them with a clear conscious.
If Mandelson is the second biggest threat against UK democracy – Rupert Murdoch is the biggest. The Conservatives now schmooze up with him, and it would appear that they will bend over for him. It is suspected that Murdoch will seek to get the Tories to curb the BBCs ability to operate online, thus paving the way for him to force people to pay for his online content (without looking like a total prick – at the moment nobody would pay to see the Times or Sun online, when other free news/porn sources exist). The BBC, despite it’s failings, is a fine example of what the UK can do – as an online news source, IMHO, the BBC website is second-to-none. No way can I vote for the tories if this is the case.
3) Liberal Democrats
Right – lets face it, they are unlikely to get in, so a vote for them is a vote for a hung parliament / piss poor labour opposition. I doubt they’d get as far as Her Maj’s opposition all by themselves. Instinctively, I quite like Nick Clegg – but then I discovered he had signed this Early Day Motion in support of Woo.
UKIP/BNP/English Democrats – NO.
Greens – Pro-Woo, Anti-Science
And that’s probably everyone who’ll be standing in my constituency.
In local terms – I live in the Crewe & Nantwich consituency – so my local bloke (Tory Edward Timpson) is relatively new. So far, in local terms, he’s doing an ok job. The Lib dems are waaaaay back in third, and so it really is a two horse race for the top spot.
Another thing I have to contend with as an (partly publicly funded) academic research scientist, is who is going to cut what in the budget to get the UK economy back on track. This is a little something that the dean of the faculty of life sciences here in Manchester, Prof Martin Humphries, wrote in our faculty newsletter:
To date, the public sector has been shielded from the worst effects of the recession. Unfortunately, this situation cannot continue as the Government has borrowed more than £150B in an attempt to buy the country out of the recession, and before too long they will need to start repaying the loans. There are only really three ways in which this could happen: (a) the economy booms in an unprecedented way, (b) taxes are increased, and (c) public sector spending is cut. The first is almost certain not to happen and the second is unpalatable for both politicians and the public, which leaves the relatively easy win of cuts.
The potential stances of the two main parties on this issue were debated in the news yesterday (17th), and they differed primarily in the depth of the cuts that might be coming. Current speculation is that Labour will cut less deeply and for a prolonged period, while the Conservatives will cut deeply and quickly. Between now and next year’s General Election, the main focus will be on how to target cuts, not whether there should be cuts. We would be comforted if we felt that that the next Government recognised the value of Higher Education, and therefore gave it a high priority for funding, and indeed statements of this kind have been forthcoming. In particular, noises are being made about the need to concentrate research and teaching excellence rather than rely on selectivity. However, HE in general is probably not a vote-winner (excepting our votes of course), and healthcare, primary and secondary education, and other public services probably come higher on most people’s lists. Thus, we need to hope for the best, but be prepared for bad news.
I suspect, that given my upcoming application for public funds to futher my employment/research, my voting will be swayed by who cuts what out of the research council and higher education budgets…
Stay tuned for more details…
(If I had the chance – I’d probably vote for the Pirate Party)