The following post is the development of some of the points I raised in response to a post by an interesting left-of-centre Brighton blogger. ‘A Guy Named Guy’ , who blogs at ‘Cut the Crap‘, makes an interesting case as to why he is voting for Nancy Platts in Brighton Pavilion.
Here is my post with some added bits:
“I think we have to remember, despite Nancy Platts being as decent a candidate as she is, she is deceiving voters in Brighton Pavilion.
Despite where Nancy stands on a whole range of issues (and I agree with almost all of her policy positions), she is asking voters in Brighton to return a Labour government and a Labour manifesto that will stand in stark contrast to Nancy’s own values.
The Labour manifesto will include cuts in higher education (despite Nancy standing on a picket line opposing higher education cuts), cuts in social and public services (despite Nancy sending a message of support to the Brighton anti-cuts demo), the replacement of Trident with a new nuclear system that will exacerbate tensions in the Middle East (Nancy is in favour of ditching our nuclear arsenal completely), a continuation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (Nancy opposes both these wars), no repeal of anti-trade union legislation (Nancy calls herself a trade unionist) and the continuation of illiberal anti-terror legislation that will undermine civil liberties.
Labour has been given 13 years in office to push through radical and far-reaching change and they have fallen short. From reforming the House of Lords into a fully democratic chamber to introducing proportional representation (PR) for general and local elections, they have failed to make even the most moderate of changes to the political constitution, let alone advancing on a programme of addressing the deep inequality that exists in society.
I for one find it an absolute betrayal of the principle of ‘fairness’ that the wealth gap has increased under 13 years of Labour and inequality is more entrenched in society than it was before 1997.
Voters in Brighton Pavilion have a unique opportunity in helping shift the “progressive consensus” to the left with the election of a Green MP.
The Green Party is arguably a ‘radical social democratic’ party whose main focus in recent years has been on developing the value of fairness. Not just fairness in opportunity, but fairness in all that an active State does.
The Greens are the only party arguing against the consensus that savage cuts are needed, instead, we have taken a similar understanding of David Blanchflower’s analogy that recession (and the fragile recovery) is a war and (despite the Green anti-war irony here) the only way to fight a war is to throw money at it, you don’t budget or make cuts on the front line.
There is a real danger of a double-dip recession and we need strong, independent voices in Parliament asking difficult questions, lobbying for cross-party support on early day motions (EDMs) that chime with Green policy (take a look at my post on a recent example http://bit.ly/aczQ7f) and shifting the goal posts of what is possible for the centre-left to achieve.
Climate change is a serious, pressing issue, one that has been forced on the back foot by an emboldened climate change denial cabal, nothing sends a stronger message to that cabal than the election of a Green MP.
Having a Green MP(s) will elevate the urgency for action on climate change in Parliament. It will send a powerful message to the next Government that it is an issue that must be addressed in its entirety.
If, and heavens forbid if it does happen, Nick Griffin wins in Barking; we can expect whatever Government to be more xenophobic, more hostile to immigrants and asylum seekers and more likely to pander to far-right voters. This will only create breathing room for the BNP. Already we have heard Gordon Brown talk about “Strengthen[ing] fairness in communities through controlled immigration… .”
Gordon Brown is right when he says that voters should take a second look at Labour, then a long, hard look at the Tories but, I would advise all voters to look back at Labour’s 13 years, look back on their successes and failures, but think more about what they haven’t done and what they’ve failed to achieve.
Despite Nancy’s credibility as a sound candidate, think about what she is asking voters in Brighton to do. They won’t be voting for Nancy’s policies, they’ll be voting for Gordon Brown and the whole Labour cabinet and a manifesto that will give Labour a mandate to inflict savage cuts, to continue with the “war on terror”, to develop costly and dangerous weapons of mass destruction and for a Government that will pander to the far-right and further legitimise the BNP and their vile politics.
The Labour vote in Brighton has collapsed. The 2007 local elections and the 2009 European Parliament elections proves that. The danger of voting Labour in Brighton Pavilion is the possibility of a Tory MP, but also more of the same from Gordon Brown and co.”
However, it is a pleasure to see a new blogger in Brighton and I want to wish Guy well on his blogging adventure in the run-up to the General Election.