Oh yeah, so anyway, here’s where my vote goes

I live in a very solidly Tory constituency (where to make it even more galling the MP doesn’t even vote, because he’s a deputy Speaker). My vote wouldn’t make much difference.

But I think that even if I lived in a marginal, I’d be voting this way, as I will tomorrow: Green.

I’ve not voted Green before, but had the idea planted by George Monbiot, in this article, where he wrote:

If, on the other hand, you were to vote Green, Plaid Cymru, Respect or Scottish Socialist, you would send an unequivocal signal about the kind of politics you are rejecting and the kind of politics you are embracing. The reason is that these parties, as far as Westminster is concerned, inhabit the political margins. It is precisely because none has the slightest chance of running the country that a vote for them is interpreted as a clear expression of intent: your choice must be ideological, rather than tactical. Paradoxically, a vote for a minor party can thus be far more powerful than a vote for a party with an eye on government.

The fact is that green – environmental – issues are the really important ones, and pulling the eyes of the government on Friday around to them is what matters. Think of this (mentioned in the Reith Lectures Wednesday night): airplanes create more greenhouse gases than surface-level transport, yet aircraft fuel is untaxed; we don’t watch how much energy we consume, yet we don’t generate it by environmentally-friendly ways while the French generate 95% of their power from carbon-neutral means, nuclear and hydroelectric (you’d forgotten about hydro-electric, eh? China is big on it).

So voting Green is my way of trying to attract the attention of politicians. The Iraq war would have happened whether Britain had joined in or not; so that’s not an issue. The NHS and hygiene might be changed, but MRSA isn’t actually about cleaning (see this Dutch study reported in the Guardian). There are differences between the parties, but what’s really needed is to grab their necks and wrench them round to look at the long term. Unfortunately at the moment they’re just short-termists, like teenagers unwilling to think about being 20.

Of course, if the Greens start to accumulate power, I’ll be first to the barricades demanding that they embrace nuclear power. But that’s for the future. Hopefully on about May 6 we’ll have an announcement of a new building programme for nuclear stations in the UK.


  1. I caught the end of tonight’s Reith lecture. I thought the speaker was quite excellent and very much in touch with reality on both sides of the environmental issue. He was both realistic about the need for nuclear power and the need to maintain our standard of living whilst focusing on the important environmental issues.

  2. Yes, though I think maintaining the standard of living will be very tough. After all, how do you keep flying planes if you decide they’re too destructive? Or if the price of their fuel quadruples? Start from that, and all sorts of things fall apart.

    Stay tuned .. more coming.

    If you get lots of rubbish after posting a comment.. don’t worry. It is working.

  3. I’m afraid the standard of living issue is the fundamental one that the Green’s haven’t dealt with. In many ways they have an almost communist view of economics.

    First of all I don’t think you and any others are going to persuade the cranky Green leadership to go nuclear. And most importantly, this thing can only be enacted on a global scale. Try telling the pilots of BA, the workers at Heathrow, those in the tourist industry, and workers at Airbus and Rolls Royce that Britain’s going it alone with dealing with aircraft emissions! It will achieve nothing on a global scale except us feel slightly better about ourselves in a masochistic way!

    We have to play a role in leading the world to the same conclusions and do it in a way in which people’s standards of living are maintained and improved. I’m afraid I think only the Labour party grasps those things, as they have shown with Kyoto, consideration of nuclear, dealing with congestion and public transport (albeit too slowly) etc.

    And also, forget about Hydroelectric – what cost to the environment and people’s lives in China!

    I have been disappointed by this campaign. You are right about this as a big issue, but there are one or two more not much covered. First is the emergence of vast numbers of EDUCATED people in China and India that mean that we have to continue to progess here in all sorts of ways if we are not to see a decline in Western Civilisation (I’m serious here – just go and visit and compare attitudes). Second is our approach to world problems. Whatever is said about Iraq, this government has generally done positive things in a global way about world problems – Africa, Kosovo, Afghanistan, 3rd world debt etc. So, all in all that’s why I’ll vote Labour for only the second time


  4. There is one snag with your grand plan: when you get to the booth, you’ll discover that there is no Green candidate here. Lib Dem, Con, Lab, Ukip, Veritas, and “English Democracy” are the only choices. Welcome to Uttlesford, city slicker. We don’t be having none of that green bollocks here.

  5. I’m with you on air travel. It’s terribly damaging, yet we’ve got 99p flights all over the place, and when someone suggested sticking an extra £10 on airport tax to cover some of the damage, people were up in arms about it.

    We don’t have a god-given right to motorised transport. Like anything else, we’ve got to be responsible, which means thinking about and minimising the negative effects.

  6. It’s a bit late now, but
    “The Iraq war would have happened whether Britain had joined in
    or not; so thatís not an issue…” isn’t exactly true for 88 dead squaddies
    and godonlyknows how many wounded.
    And what if there’s a proper war that we ought to fight?
    We won’t be able to.

  7. You have a point, Dave, that it matters a lot to the dead soldiers, and especially their families. However, the Tories – the principal Opposition – voted for the war. And Michael Howard said he would have gone to war on the same basis (his comment came at the tail-end of the election). So Tony Blair’s presence as PM is almost immaterial to our Iraq adventure.

    As for a proper war we ought to fight – well, we can wait to see what happens there. If enough Tories vote with Labour, that’ll happen too.

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