Should this be my last UK election?

This week’s general election in the UK has, according to most sources, turned out to be more interesting than was expected. The arrival of live televised debates (coming something like 50 years after the USA started with them), while rightly criticised for increasing the presidential X-Factor feel of the whole thing, has catapulted the Liberal Democrats into a likely ‘kingmaker’ role. Nick Clegg, a man for whom I have very little time, seems to have won over a large number of voters by pretending that his party is somehow offering ‘real change’ as opposed to the ‘change to old times’ of the Tories and the ‘perpetual change’ of Labour.

And the truth is that as something of a politics junkie, I’ve been interested to see just how this electoral race will pan out. But I’m simultaneously conscious of one glaring fact: despite still being English, I’ve been living away from the UK for nearly eight years. I visit the place, but should I really still be entitled to vote there? I reckon that as long as the next British government lasts for a couple of years, I’ll probably be a Spanish citizen by the time the next election takes place. And then, however much I’ll remain English and a citizen of the UK, I’ll have formally accepted that Spain and Catalonia are now my home and perhaps I ought to forfeit my right to vote in the country where I grew up.

This time, I will vote. I’ve asked my proxy (my beloved mother) to vote Labour for me – though as it will be cast in the South West Devon constituency, the vote itself is more of a gesture than anything else. I enjoy taking part in the democratic process and I genuinely long to be able to do so in Catalan and Spanish elections.

My hope is that should a socialist revolution fail to occur in the UK, a Lib-Lab coalition can be elected to reform Britain’s electoral system and the House of Lords, while trying to protect public services. Get that done and I may even vote again…

7 thoughts on “Should this be my last UK election?

  1. I think that you should continue to vote in the UK but I can’t imagine why you’d want to vote Labour. Whether or not you like Nick Clegg the liberals are undeniably the only major party with a progressive agenda. People generally object to them on either purely tribal grounds or, as Nick Cohen did in this weeks observer, on the grounds that there are some right wingers on the fringes of the lib dems and some left wingers on the fringes of labour.

    Labour have failed in all that they have historically set out to do and left a less equal country with more laws and fewer rights. The Liberals offer a fairer, redistributive tax system, have brilliant education policies which will liberate teachers from the national curriculum, and have an impressive record in opposing Labour’s many and varied attacks on civil liberties.

    I can’t help but feel that you’re just being contrary. Also a labour vote in South West Devon is totally pointless, the Lib Dems are the only challengers to the Tories and genuinely could win. Also have you seen our labour candidate? He’s about twelve, has spiky hair and seems to be basing his whole campaign on the fact that Gary Streeter once bought a flat jack on expenses.

  2. Joe, you’ve made good points about the Lib Dems. Actually, I don’t think any vote other than a Conservative vote would see me electing an MP for SW Devon. Unless every single Labour voter switches to Liberal Democrat (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/guide/seat-profiles/devonsouthwest).

    I’ve spoken to Luke Pollard online and he seems like a nice guy. I obviously haven’t received any electoral material from him but at least he’s a local lad.

    Then again, there are a couple of days left to change my mind. If you can find me some evidence that SW Devon might swing to the Lib Dems, I’ll change my vote.

  3. I have to admit that a Tory victory in South West Devon seems likely but and the Lib Dems have momentum and they won the most recent council by election in Ivybridge.

    There has also been a rise in UKIP’s popularity which will lose the Torys votes. My other reason for voting Lib Dem this year (which I generally do anyway) is that our new Candidate Anna Pascoe used to be a counciller in Cornwall and got into trouble when she released a flyer describing the leader of the Cornish nationalists as ‘A greasy haired twat’

  4. OK, the ‘A greasy haired twat’ bit is brilliant.

    I don’t agree that Labour has failed in everything it set out to do. Nor have I taken the decision to vote for them lightly. Were it a more marginal seat, I’d definitely be open to voting strategically. Labour has done a lot of things that have upset me over the last 13 years but they have done a lot of good as well.

    As I said before, I think the best possible outcome would be a Lib-Lab coalition which would probably be led by Clegg and would have a clear mandate for constitutional reform. If enough people fail to vote Labour, the Liberals will pact with the Tories and we’ll end up with a much more reactionary government, committed to inheritance tax reform, reintroducing hunting and slashing the number of MPs rather than the House of Lords.

  5. Does anyone know of anywhere showing the Uk election in Barcelona? Any tips would be a real help. Thank you.

  6. I’m getting quite excited too.

    Ladywood in Birmingham has been a safe Labour seat since forever. But the Lib Dems maybe in contention this time.

    If this were just about policies I’d probably favour Lib Dems, or even the Greens. But I’m undecided.

    Though it won’t effect the Tories chances of a majority whatever I vote. What will the consequences for a coalition be if Labour suddenly starts loosing safe seats to the Lib Dems?

    Maybe I should just follow TB’s advice and vote for the party I believe in. He knows best.

  7. Chris, I think you should vote tactically if you’re interested in a Liberal-Labour coalition. Clegg has already signalled that complete electoral reform might not be as set in stone as it seemed recently, when it comes to possible discussions with the Tories. Labour are not 100% committed to PR but the Tories are 100% opposed to any change to the electoral system.

    I still think that the best result is a progressive coalition. That would not include the Tories.

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