Over the weekend I went down to the river in Cambridge and made a video in which I talk about my views about the upcoming general election. I’ve listened to what the candidates from the main parties are saying and I’m not convinced that I should be voting for any of them.
Very few people in the city are involved in party politics. At the Cambridge Cycling Campaign hustings last week Conservative Candidate Nick Hillman noted that the Cycling Campaign is bigger than all the political parties in the city put together. Personally I don’t want to vote for yet more party politics but don’t so far have another clear option of an alternative to choose. The only independents who as far as I know are expected to stand hold quite extreme views.
Examples of national issues I’m passionate about and I’m thinking about in advance of the election:
- The plight of younger people in this country struggling with huge debts for university tuition and struggling to find appropriate housing due to high house prices.
- Our over reliance on imported oil and gas for our energy needs. I think keeping the lights on and having resilient and affordable energy sources is crucial. I think we need some new nuclear on the existing sites in the short term, and need to rapidly make the most of our world beating opportunities for tidal power and invest in that so it quickly makes up a significant proportion of our energy needs.
- Civil Liberties. If Labour get back in we’ll see ID Cards for all, and the continuation of the national children’s database “Contact Point”. I think anti-terror and anti-social behaviour laws have been badly drafted they have potential to be, and have been, abused. We have CCTV in almost all our cities and automatic number plate recognition cameras covering almost all of our roads; often without appropriate safeguards.
Some might say that with those views I should vote Green or Lib Dem as a protest vote against the status quo; but with especially with the Lib Dems looking like they might end up having a significant say in the direction the country goes in I think that’s less of a legitimate option now than it has been in the past. I don’t trust the Liberal Democrats on defence, I don’t agree with their enthusiasm for a Federal Europe, and perhaps most critically think they’re far to broad a mishmash with some factions of the party having rather conservative views about free markets and a small state and others wanting quite the opposite with high taxes and a huge increase in social security spending.
If the Green’s protectionist and Luddite policies were ever enacted we’d be sent back to a previous era; protectionist policies would, I worry, result in food and fuel poverty for many. While we’re not going to see a Green government I don’t want to see national policy move in their direction either.
On energy policy I’d trust the “Labservatives”; on Tuition Fees the strongest of the main parties is the Liberal Democrats – though they have a weaker stance now than they did a few months ago. What I’d really like to see is someone free to pick and choose the best policies for Cambridge and for the UK.
I’d also like to see someone with a bit of a revolutionary spark sent to Westminster by the people of Cambridge. I think it’s wrong that only monarchists can be MPs in this country. I’d like to see Cambridge represented by someone who would promise simply to act in the best interests of the people of Cambridge, the City of Cambridge and in the national interest. If we did elect an MP prepared to do that we’d prompt a quiet, but critical, democratic revolution.