Britain goes to the polls in two days’ time

Britain goes to the polls in two days’ time, and the balloting this time around promises to be a watershed election. The polls have the race close between Labour and the Conservatives, but there is a consensus that neither will win a majority. Neither deserves one. What is vital is that the parties that finish third and fourth, even fifth, have enough seats to keep whichever party leads the next government from indulging in its worst habits. For that reason, voters in Scotland are urged to vote for the Scottish National Party, in Wales for Plaid Cymru and in England for the Green Party. In each instance, a tactical vote against the Tories and Labour and for the strongest challenger from another party other than UKIP is the wisest course.

The Conservative Party under David Cameron has failed to deliver the kind of prosperity and security that it promised five years ago. Austerity has kept the British recovery in check, and the desire to eliminate the deficit during an economic meltdown was simply stupid. Boosting university fees to nine thousand pounds in England and Wales was short-sighted and awful. The City has been given a pass for its part in wrecking the global economy, and the general sleaziness that settled on the party years ago remains.

Under normal circumstances, this would be the recipe for a Labour landslide. These are not normal times. Labour has failed to break free of the Red Toryism (pallid pink at best) with which Tony Blair saddled it. For instance, it promises to reduce university fees to just six thousand pounds. Yes, it is better than nine, but it is gutless “me, too” politics. Restoration of free university education would have been the better move. The entire Miliband Labour platform is like this. Nothing radical, nothing ambitious. Nothing Labour.

The usual protest vote for the Liberal Democrats is an unprincipled move after the last five years of LibDem participation in the Tory-led coalition. After standing against any university fee, the LibDems aided the Tories in putting the fees where they are. Nick Clegg has been a vast disappointment, and the radicalism of the party is seen only at the grassroots, not in the House. Voting for the LibDems to prevent a Labour or Tory win in a given constituency is the only reason to do so.

In England, the true representative of progressive values and policies is the Green Party. However, the current system will ensure that the Greens have only a couple of seats. Voting Green in safe seats is the best approach, while voting Green in a close race must be considered of doubtful utility. Unless the Greens are the challenger, holding one’s nose and voting LibDem might prove more effective.

In Wales, Plaid Cymru plays that role, and indeed, Plaid is aiding the Greens outside Wales. More money for the NHS and schools, less for tax cuts for the wealthy, protection of Wales’ magnificent countryside, and jobs are all what Labour used to promise. More Plaid Cymru MPs will help make sure Ed Miliband acts like a Labour PM.

As for Scotland, the SNP scores above Scottish Labour in two important ways. It is more Scottish than Scottish Labour, and at the same time, it is more Labour than Scottish Labour. Scotland has been on the receiving end of Blairism just as it was on the receiving end of Thatcherism. Neither the Tories nor Labour deserve the trust of Scotland’s voters. The SNP has run the Edinburgh Parliament responsibly, and there are no fees charge at Scottish universities.

The argument that the SNP is agitating for a second independence referendum is a red herring at best. So what if they are? If the unionist parties are that fearful of losing the union, one must ask why? What is it that they fear? Could it be that they don’t have the courage of their convictions? All the more reason not to vote for them.

This journal’s favored outcome would be Labour leading a minority government being kept honest by the LibDems and SNP on a confidence and supply basis.