liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
OK, this is UK party politics, please feel free to skip. In short, I am looking for Labour supporters to convince me to vote for your party.

A lot of people I'm aligned with politically say, a Tory vote is a vote for the murder of disabled people. I have some quibbles with phrasing it like that, but I think this opinion is basically true: the current Conservative party are actively, lethally dangerous. Between attacks on human rights and their atrocious mishandling of Brexit, I really do want to vote in the most effective way I can to defeat them in June. And I see a lot of discussion about what exactly is the most effective way to vote anyone-but-Tory.

But the problem for me is that the most obvious alternative to the Conservatives is Labour. And Labour seem to me to be just as bad on disability, welfare and related human rights issues. Literally just as bad; I'm not saying that Labour aren't my perfect ideal party so I can't vote for them, I'm saying that they have consistently voted with the Tory government to press disabled and other unemployed people into lethal poverty. Labour originally introduced the system of forcing disabled people to undergo repeated abusive tests to prove that they are really disabled, and support "sanctions" in the form of using homelessness and starvation as an extrajudicial punishment for the most minor of bureaucratic errors. Labour voted in favour of the bedroom tax and in favour of the benefits cap. Labour started the process of selling off the NHS by using its assets as collateral for government borrowing and diverting healthcare funding into paying usurious interest rates to the businesses that lent the money. Labour split health from so-called "social" care and essentially removed nearly all funding from the latter.

So, seriously, convince me. I don't care that Labour has the same name as the party that set up the NHS and the welfare state in the 1940s; what have they actually done that is good for disabled people in the past 10-15 years? (I don't really want to go back much further than 15 years because then we get to the party that is massively complict, along with Bush's Republicans in the US, in the deaths of half a million civilians in the Gulf Wars, the party I said I would never vote for again after Blair lied to the electorate to support illegal wars.) In particular, what has Corbyn's opposition voted for that's in any way positive rather than massively detrimental to disabled (and other marginalized) people? I want to be convinced that Labour in power would somehow take a different direction from how they've voted while in opposition, particularly since 2015. But I need to see some evidence, I'm not going to take it on faith that it's a good idea to vote for a party with a terrible track record on issues I care about.

My brothers, who are big Corbyn supporters, say that I only think he's useless because the media is hugely biased against him. And I do agree that much of the news media is biased against Corbyn, which is why I'm asking for the views of Labour supporters. What positive things has Labour done that I've missed because the media didn't report them? I know that every time I care enough about a bill to look up how the vote splits, I see Labour voting with the government.

Things I don't need to be convinced of:
  • The positive value of tactical voting. I'm completely fine with voting for a politician and party I otherwise disagree with in order to achieve a bigger aim, such as, in this case, getting the Tories out. There just doesn't seem to be much point in replacing the Tories with a party who uphold literally the same deadly, dehumanizing policies.
  • Corbyn is basically a nice bloke. I'm sure he's much more pleasant as an individual than Theresa May (not exactly a high bar) and I even admire some of his ideals, such as his consistent anti-war stance. I don't believe he's some kind of Stalinist Jihadist unpatriotic puppy-kicker, and my reluctance to vote Labour is not based on how he's caricatured in the media. I do think he's more focused on Being the Labour Leader than actually doing anything with that position; I'm annoyed with him for messing around with leadership elections when the country was in the middle of a crisis, I'm annoyed with him for refusing to cooperate with any of the other left-of-centre parties. But basically this isn't about Corbyn, it's about whether Labour will actually do anything to reverse the damage the Tories have wreaked to human rights, the NHS and the welfare state.
  • It is worth voting for an imperfect party. I know that the establishment often try to convince left-leaning voters that there is no difference between right and left, because it discourages progressive folk from voting and therefore keeps the nastiest ideologues in power. I am absolutely fine with voting for a party I have major disagreements with (after all, I'd never vote at all otherwise!) This isn't about purity politics, it isn't about looking for perfection. I'm seeking evidence that Labour is better than Conservative at all, in any way, not insisting that they must be perfect before I can contemplate sullying myself to vote for them.
To be more specific about my position, for people who are geeky about these things: I'm resident in two places, so I can vote Labour in a safe Labour seat, which will do nothing very much except increase the national vote share for Labour. The main opposition here are UKIP and obviously I'm voting against them. Or, I can vote in Cambridge Central, a Lib/Lab marginal. If I vote Labour there, I'm probably contributing as much as a single voter can to Labour success in the coming election. I'd be somewhat willing to do that if I thought it would actually improve things.

The third alternative is voting Lib Dem, which is attractive to me in that I generally like Lib Dem policies at least on paper, and I would like to vote for the only sensible English anti-Brexit party. The obvious downside to that is increasing the chance of a Conservative minority government with the Lib Dems in coalition. I definitely believe people like [personal profile] miss_s_b who argue that the Lib Dems will insist on concessions to form a coalition government; of course they will, but the Tories will agree to anything to be able to form a government and then renege on anything they agree to. This means that there is some chance that a Lib Dem vote will indirectly support, rather than opposing, the Conservatives. So if you can convince me that the same is not true of Labour, I really want to be able to make things better by voting for them.

Other issues apart from disability: I think the current Labour party has somewhat better under 18 education policy than the mares' nest of Academies and Grammar Schools and free market bullshit coming from the Conservatives (their Higher Ed policy is shit, but there are bigger things at stake than tuition fees right now). I think their economic policy is the usual incoherent tax-the-rich thing, but the Conservatives' economic policy at the moment is basically non-existent, so this isn't a big downside for me. Another issue causing me to lean Lib Dem is that they're a lot more international and pro-immigrant; Labour campaigned on a xenophobic platform in the last election, but I am reasonably prepared to accept that Corbyn's party is slightly less awful in this direction. Foreign policy: Corbyn is consistently and committedly anti-war, so if I were more convinced he could actually bring the rest of his party along with him this would be a big point in Labour's favour. And yeah, the Labour party are authoritarian and pro government spying and making everybody present their papers all the time, but the Conservative party have completely abandoned the traditionally right wing ground of minimizing state interference in people's private lives, so I could live with that if it really meant fewer disabled people being killed.

I will of course be researching all this stuff for myself, but I really want to be convinced, which is why I'm asking people who are pro Labour to guide me in where I should be looking. And to take the opportunity to counter the media bias against Corbyn. I do kind of like that he doesn't toady to Murdoch, but being willing to insult the Daily Mail isn't enough if he then goes and votes for terrible policies.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-20 08:11 pm (UTC)
miss_s_b: (Default)
From: [personal profile] miss_s_b
I would say this:

If you're in Cambridge, vote for Julian Huppert. Don't vote for a party, vote for someone who has some science literacy that is sorely missing and sorely needed in parliament. And yes, he IS one of mine. But the choice between an MP like that and some Labour lobby fodder? That's not a choice.

As for propping up the tories (or however you want to phrase coalition) at least we did and would ask for a coalition agreement and attempt to get them to stick to it; Labour are just voting with them anyway with no attempt at getting concessions. Any coalition, whoever it's with, and Labour are just as (un)likely as the tories, has to be agreed by a two thirds majority at a special conference, too. And after last time, we're going to be a LOT more cautious. I honestly wouldn't guarantee that "no brexit, STV for all elections, our leader will resign, and you can put libby birds on all government literature" would be enough to get past conference.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-20 09:08 pm (UTC)
aldabra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aldabra
I remember the utter relief when Blair won in 1997, and one of the things I was utterly relieved about was that this would stop the insane Tory PFI schemes. It didn't, not at all, but I don't think it's fair to blame Labour for starting them.

Labour did Sure Start, which is possibly the most forward-thinking scheme that's been introduced in my adult lifetime (and which the Tories have been systematically dismantling), and tax credits, which have kept me afloat as a single parent for the last twelve years (and which the Tories are replacing with Universal Credit, which is "Universal" in the sense that people like me don't qualify for it). A major source of stress over the last five years, since Cameron got elected, has been that if I lose my job they may cancel my tax credit claim and make me apply for universal credit instead. (Fortunately it's taken them so long to implement that by the time that happens K is going to be old enough that I won't be getting the tax credits anyway.)

I'm told the LibDems have changed their constitution such that a coalition now has to be agreed by a one-member-one-vote poll of the membership. I don't think the membership would agree to a Tory coalition, after last time. I'm in Cambridge, and voting Huppert; I think I agreed with him more often than Zeichner, although last time I voted Zeichner because I didn't trust Clegg.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-20 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
I wouldn't call myself a Labour supporter, exactly, but the National Minimum Wage Act was a thing that they did that was good (if insufficient). That's ages ago, though, and probably not a cat that can be reinserted into the bag.

More recently, their voting record on same sex marriage, ending Section 28, issues affecting trans people, etc is a lot better than the Tories. (LibDems do even better in this, but I don't think they have a chance of forming a majority government.)

I'm given to understand that EMA (education maintenance allowance) was a good thing; it's been scrapped in England, but not Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland.

I don't know who was originally responsible for legal aid, but looking at the voting record for the reductions in that would be good (I do not have time/energy to do this now but I am writing it here partly to remind myself, or in case someone else knows offhand).

I also wonder about things like Access to Work and Disabled Student Allowance -- again, I'm not sure when these came in, I don't know who to give credit to, but I'd like to look at the voting record for when they have been removed/diminished. Reducing out-of-work benefits for disabled people while also reducing support that helps some of us work was a particularly cruel move by the Tories.

My impresson (and I could be wrong) is that Labour, though some of their policies have been horrible, are less anti-human rights than Tories. But again, I'd have to look at the voting record to be sure.

Most of these issues aren't in the category of directly impacting whether disabled people end up in starvation levels of poverty, but taken together they do affect a number of disabled people.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-21 12:01 pm (UTC)
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
From: [personal profile] mathcathy
I am in a similar position to you. I want - passionately - to vote against the Tories. I promised myself in 2003 that I would never vote Labour (or Tory) again, following the Iraqi War debacle.
I can choose to vote in either of two safe Labour seats in London
  • one with a pro-European who defied the party whip, where I voted Lib Dem last time as one of only 850 people
  • Keir Starmer
  • or a Tory safe seat in Essex, where the predominant vote was Leave
I don't think the Lib Dems have any chance in any of them and I'm tempted to vote lib Dem in my very safe Labour seat where I voted last time, because at least this MP had the nerve to vote against Article 50.

Some (perhaps biased) thoughts

Date: 2017-04-21 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi - Julian here. I was pointed by [personal profile] miss_s_b to your post. I'm not sure I can offer to be a pro Labour person as you ask for, but I do hope you'll vote for me, as per your inclination! Happy to talk directly sometime if that's useful.

I'm surprised about your comment on disability. I did a lot of things on this. Just to pick up a few examples, I led the campaign against cuts to the disabled students' allowance, worked with Papworth Trust and Guide Dogs for the blind, and arranged to go round central Cambridge in a wheelchair, and then worked nationally to address some of the problems I became aware of. There are lots more examples I can give!

Best wishes,


(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-22 12:32 pm (UTC)
hairyears: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hairyears
I see this election as an unwelcome choice between unsatisfactory alternatives; and I see all likely outcomes as extremely damaging for the prisperity of all of us, and deeply damaging for the most vulnerable in society.

Worse, I see no course of action - or inaction - where I could claim a clear conscience, free of culpability or collaboration in the worst of the consequences.

I deeply mistrust the Lib Dems after their collaboration in unconscionable and destructive acts in coalition; and, if Labour were remotely credible as a government-in-waiting and not wedded to Brexit, I would urge you not to vote Lib Dem. Or just vote Conservative: there is something to be said in voting honestly, rather than applying a fig leaf to an act whose likely outcomes are so transparently at odds with their ostensible intentions.

However, Labour are as they are, and the good intentions of a Labour vote are equally ineffective. If, and only if, they show signs of moving towards the numbers for a coalition government or the competence for an effective opposition, I would say "Vote Labour". But that is not the world we live in and a wasted vote appals me: the consequences are all too real, for real people, to indulge ourselves in self-indulgent virtue signalling as a disaster unfolds around us.

So you are left with this: if you believe that Julian Huppert is a good man in a bad Parliament, and that we are all better off for his efforts *even in a bad government or an ineffective opposition* then you have good reason to get out and cast your vote for him; and good reason to persuade others to do likewise.

But don't persuade yourself that you are doing much good: you are, as best you can, doing the 'least worst' you can, facing a future where the consequences of all actions - and inaction - are gravely damaging and morally unpalatable.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-05 05:15 pm (UTC)
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
You should vote Labour because the other alternative is letting a Tory win while you squabble about which progressive candidate elsewhere is slightly better. You live, most of the time, in a seat with a Tory favourite and a Labour second place candidate. I know you'd rather live here most of the time, but you might as well make the most of your situation as it is.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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