OK, so, I meant to post something earlier than this, which was going to be an insight into how I feel narratives about real sincere issues are sometimes badly combined with idealistic elements. I may still do this, but at the time, I wanted to ensure I said what I needed to properly, and well, things got in the way. Including that which I want to talk about now.
Generally speaking, I want this blog to be about the writing I do and the things I read, and whilst this will still be the case (as far as I know) once in a while something important needs to be said. Therefore, this is what this will be about.
Enough preamble – this is about the upcoming general election in the United Kingdom. As of the time of writing, we got to the polls tomorrow, and whilst elections are usually important in and of themselves, this particular one may well be the most important we have faced in our lifetimes, and possibly the most important we’ll ever face – though of course, that does depend a bit on your age.
Whilst my political views do occasionally, er, leak into some of the stuff I say on here, usually as a joke, I try not to let it inform what this blog is about. Some issues are very partisan, and I’d prefer to influence by my writing. And even though I feel the need to speak out now, as I did following the election of Donald Trump in the US, this isn’t so much about me telling whatever tiny number of British followers I have who they should vote for, as such. This is me telling them who not to vote for.
Currently, the Conservative MP Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister of a minority government. This election gives him a very real chance of securing a parliamentary majority, and I firmly believe that this would be very dangerous and an utter disaster for almost everyone in the country, barring Johnson himself and his rich friends. The blunt fact of that matter is, I do believe Johnson is dangerous, and whilst I’ve definitely been no fan of his two predecessors, I’m almost finding myself missing them when I consider the prospect of him running the country virtually unchecked, because whilst Parliament is de jure sovereign in this country, de facto it is the executive that rules the roost, and, because of our utterly terrible First Past the Post electoral system, they can rule even if the majority of people have voted against them.
Indeed, every time I’ve looked at the opinion polls for this election, with the Conservatives ahead, I’ve noticed that the percentage share of the next two most popular parties put their combined popularity ahead of the Conservatives. And this is frustrating, because with them at each other’s throats, they’re giving Johnson a path to victory, which will screw us all over. Therefore, for those who can vote, your best option is voting for whomever in your constituency has the best chance of defeating a Conservative candidate. Tactical voting has always been a necessity under First Past the Post, but this time it may be our lifeline. There are many tactical voting websites to give you advice on this – here is the site I’ve been using, but there are plenty more out there if you just type in the key word ‘tactical voting.’ If you live in a marginal seat (something that this website will also be able to tell you if you’re unsure) it becomes even more vital.
But, of course, why should you care what I think of Boris Johnson? You might like him, or his party, or dislike other parties, or at least feel that he’s a bit of a clown and can’t do us much harm. Well, let me give you reasons to care. First off, his clownish persona is just a persona. He is much more dangerously intelligent and Machiavellian than a lot of people seem to observe, and that becomes evident the more I list the other reasons you definitely shouldn’t vote for him.
- He’s an authoritarian.
For me, this may well be the most worrying thing. Just with the likes of Trump, he pays lip-service to democracy whilst attempting to slowly whittle away its institutions to serve him better. How do I know? Well, if his attempts to shut down Parliament (illegally, I might add, meaning that if all was right with the world he’d be under serious investigations) in an attempt to avoid scrutiny and get his own way weren’t enough to convince you, what about the fact that he threatened Channel 4 with the deadly euphemism of ‘reviewing the channel’s broadcasting remit’, following them replacing him with an ice sculpture after he failed to turn up to the channel’s climate change debate? Ofcom have rejected Johnson’s complaint, and the bias proclaimed by Michael Gove after they wouldn’t allow him to take his place is patently absurd. It was a leader’s debate after all. And all this goes without mentioning the constitutional reforms he wants to make – including an attack on our independent judiciary, which, as you may remember, was key to preventing him from trying to illegally bypass Parliament. Unlike in the USA, where Trump is kept somewhat mercifully restrained by a firmly entrenched constitution, our constitution is uncodified, unentrenched and flexible. It’s based on statute and time immemorial rather than anything else. Our Supreme Court was only established in 2009, making it 220 years younger than the Supreme Court of the United States. Among more codified laws, we have those (such as, significantly, the Human Rights Act of 1998), that are based off European Law, which for Johnson, obviously means they’re only in the way. For a more detailed breakdown of how Johnson will attack our democratic rights, here’s an article from Polly Toynbee. You should only vote for Johnson if you prefer the standards of Putin.
- He holds contempt for near enough everybody.
OK, so his nasty comments are pretty well-documented, and here are some lists highlighting just a few notable examples. Here we have blatant racism, sexism and homophobia, which is always a nice start, but I’d like to add a few examples myself. First, there were his recent comments regarding EU nationals, where he said they’d been treating a country as their own for ‘far too long’, a comment that absolutely reeks of an us-vs-them dichotomy favoured by provocateurs on the alt-right. Secondly, there’s the antisemitism. Yes, the Labour party is currently undergoing a lot of antisemitism controversy at the moment, and yes, it is a serious problem that needs a lot more work than has already gone in to purge the party of such a toxic element, but the extensive coverage of it in the media has drawn attention away from the fact that antisemitism exists in the Conservative party too, is not being addressed nearly enough (not even as much as the Labour party are addressing it in their own ranks), and importantly come from Johnson himself. Back when he was a backbencher, he wrote a novel (I’m feeling slightly sick that we have that in common, and I haven’t even been published) that featured the well-worn antisemitic trope of a Jewish man as an unethical businessman who fiddles with elections. Here’s a more detailed look. And of course, let’s not forget his reaction when he was shown, in a single picture, just what his party’s cuts to the NHS had done to people.
- He’s a compulsive liar.
I mean…yeah. He’s lied so many times and so often, you could probably stay up half the night just by typing ‘Boris Johnson’s lies’ into Google, and I certainly don’t have time to list all the examples of Johnson lying – so, I’ll focus on his biggest electoral claim. His claim to ‘get Brexit done.’ If he wins a majority, Johnson says Brexit will be sorted by the 31st January. Well, no, it won’t. Whilst the actual exit will occur, negotiations on how to construct a future with the EU we’re now no longer part of and no longer have any say in its laws and how they choose to conduct trade with us (so much for taking back control!). Once again, here’s a more detailed look:
Oh, and another one.
To put it bluntly, if you’re a Leave voter, voting for a party promising a referendum on the negotiated deal is a much better option for you. Then you will get more of a say on the matter, the essence of democracy!
Oh, and then there’s what Johnson’s version of Brexit will do to Northern Ireland and the hard-won peace process there, something even Johnson’s allies, the DUP have called him out on. And yet another thing Johnson lied about. I also get the feeling you shouldn’t trust him on the NHS either – even John Major a former Conservative PM, has said that the NHS is about as safe with Johnson as a hamster is with a python, or words to that effect…
- He is a friend of poverty.
If you want to dispute this, you can check the sources yourself, and once again, I’ll include an article that summarizes it better: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/29/uk-deep-poverty-study-austerity
The long and short of it is, child poverty has gone up, homelessness has gone up, and it simply doesn’t have to be this way in what’s something like the fifth or sixth richest country on Earth. And before you start bringing up balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility and all that other waffle, can I just point out that the national debt of the UK in 2010, when austerity was put in place for apparent fear of going bankrupt, was at 74.6% of the GDP. That’s a figure you can look up yourself, by the way. Post-WWII, the national debt was at around 270% of the GDP. Again, look at up yourself. And yet, the post-WWII government managed to spend on the creation of the welfare state, including the NHS, without going bankrupt. Funny that. I should point out that other parties have fully costed manifestos anyway, just to be safe…which brings me to the last point…
5. None of the parties can really do worse.
You may dispute this – you may be agreeing with all my criticisms of Johnson, but still not like any of the other people behind the parties running. And that’s fair enough – no party is perfect, and I know plenty of people have legitimate criticisms of them. Many people take issue with the Labour Party by being headed by someone who seems out of touch with traditional voters and too much of a controversial outsider who brought in rouge elements. Many people see the Liberal Democrats as just watered-down Tories who they can’t forgive for overseeing austerity as part of a coalition government. All of these points are fair enough, but the point being missed here is that almost nobody has predicted the slightest possibility that any of these parties can get a majority this time around – what can happen, if enough support is drawn away from Johnson (the only person who seems capable of getting a majority at present), is a hung Parliament, and a follow-up coalition government where the parties can be further held to account by others, and deal with the issues raised then, filtered through Parliament. Their manifestos are more viable, and there will (hopefully) be more of a mood to compromise. I have my own thoughts on the parties running, but that’s not what this is about – who you should vote for, in my view, should be whoever’s best suited in your area to stop an era of Johnson. Once that’s sorted, then we can focus on other issues.
So, maybe this will piss off a lot of people, I don’t know. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I’m probably still going to avoid overly political posts in the future. This just seemed too important to avoid. Johnson and his criminal cronies must be stopped, and anything I can do to spread that word will make it easier to live with myself. At the end of the day, I’m just one loser sitting around, frantically typing about what he thinks online. It is you, the voters (providing, you know, you’re British), who have the power to make this happen, so MAKE SURE YOU GET OUT THERE AND VOTE. And whoever you vote for, just think carefully about it. For all our sakes.