Friday, April 24, 2015

British Election: I'm Voting Labour

And I am one of the few small-c conservative women born and bred in Britain. 

Why would I take the trouble to take advantage of a trip from my new home Canada to my old home in Britain to vote in my old constituency Coventry South when Labour MP Jim Cunningham is almost certain to win again and does not need my vote in any case?

Answer: To register my opposition as a citizen of the United Kingdom (UK) to Conservative Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron's plan, if he is re-elected, to call a referendum on UK membership in the European Union (EU)

All in all, I believe the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition has been a good government since replacing Labour in power in 2010. Based on their record, the Conservatives deserve to be re-elected and the Lib Dems do not deserve the hiding that the polls show that they are in for on 7th May. 

In order to prevent the large anti-Europe faction of Conservative MPs from defecting to the xenophobic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Cameron has promised to hold a referendum, renegotiate UK membership in the EU and then campaign for the UK to stay in the EU on these new terms. There is a high probability that the end result of the Cameron scheme will be Britons voting to leave the EU.

No matter how bad Labour leader Ed Miliband might be as PM, he could not possibly do the lasting damage to the UK  that Cameron is threatening with his EU referendum plan. Thus, I am holding my conservative nose and voting Labour.

I have received some pushback from ex-UK boyfriends about my position. Gerard from Orpington and my A level study group asks why I don't back the Lib Dems. Answer: Under the UK's antiquated first-past-the-post (FPP) system, a vote for the Lib Dems would be wasted in Coventry South and most other constituencies where the Lib Dems don't stand a punter's chance. 

I was one of the select few who voted to switch to the Alternative Vote (AV) system in the 2011 referendum. If AV were in place, I would rank the parties as follows on my AV ballot: 1. Lib Dems; 2. Labour; 3. Greens; 4. Tories; 5. UKIP.

My old uni (St. Andrews) boyfriend Seamus, last living Tory in Scotland, warns me that Labour can only govern if propped up by the Scottish National Party (SNP) who will run circles around PM Miliband on their way to winning the next referendum on Scottish independence. I agree with Seamus that Scottish independence would be a tragedy for all UK citizens. But, Cameron's referendum on the UK's exit from the EU seems to me to be a faster path to Scottish independence than any mistake that PM Miliband might make. 

(Postcript 24 June 2016: What a sad day to see the former Great Britain turn its back on Europe, immigration and integration in the world economy. If Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon can command a majority in the Scottish Parliament, I expect her to call a referendum on Scottish independence before 2016 is over.) 

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