A Final Plea

Tomorrow is polling day in the UK. Setting aside all my usual bile and ranting, here are a few reasons why you should vote Liberal Democrat.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a sensible tax system. With an economy failing and too many unemployed, it makes sense to reduce the amount of tax low-income earners have to pay. This encourages people to seek employment instead of claiming benefits. With the extra money in their pockets they can stimulate the economy by increasing spending on the high street. It also puts them in a better position to handle the higher energy bills that are inevitable as we try to shift to greener energy sources.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a rational foreign policy. The Liberal Democrats were the only major party to oppose the Iraq War. With that conflict becoming so unpopular later, it is easy to forget just how brave this was at the time. Many saw this as an act that would destroy the Liberal Democrats, making them appear weak and gutless. Quite the opposite. Against mainstream fleet-street and political opinion, the Liberal Democrats made the right call and proved that they think rationally about issues, despite what might appear politically convenient at the time.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a stronger Britain. We do not need Trident, the idea that we should spend a hundred billion pounds on a weapon we will never use is ridiculous. Some claim that without a nuclear deterrent we will be under threat, but in the modern globalised world, with so many close allies with nuclear weapons, the idea that we would be invaded is preposterous. America will not allow another nation to attack a close ally. We should lead the way in disarmament, using it as an example for Iran, and syphon the money into better equipment for our troops or into cutting the deficit.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for reducing our debt. Above all other parties the Liberal Democrats, under the stewardship of Vince Cable, have managed to set out the most cuts and savings. It is widely accepted that Cable is the politician most qualified to lead us out of this mess. Lets make him the Chancellor.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for cleaning up politics. Every party had politicians who claimed something silly in the expenses scandal. But only the Lib Dems didn’t have politicians who “flipped” their houses to get us to pay their mortgages, an act widely accepted as the most outrageous. The liberal democrats have consistently campaigned to make politics more transparent and accountable.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for voting. Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted to reform our electoral system, as the other parties benefit from the ridiculous FPTP. If you support the Green Party, you should vote Lib Dem. If you support the Scottish National Party, you should vote Lib Dem. Even if you support UKIP, you should vote for the Liberal Democrats, because once we have proportional representation, your votes will finally count. If you live in a safe seat, vote Lib Dem to register your distaste at having your vote wasted every election.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for honest campaigning. Only one party didn’t resort to scare tactics and instead stuck to a positive message. Both Labour and the Conservatives regularly resort to fear to sure up support, and unfortunately it usually works. A victory for the Lib Dems would tell these cynical opportunists that we’re better than that, and we can see through their lies about hung parliaments and runs on the pound.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for free politicians. Both the Labour party and the Conservatives rely on huge donations from single persons or organisations (The Unions for Labour and Ashcroft for Conservatives). The Lib Dems actually have the largest number of people donating, but a tiny fraction of the money the other parties have. That’s why you’ve seen so many adverts and broadcasts by the Conservatives and so few by the Lib Dems. We cannot allow an election to be won by one party outspending another. We cannot allow Ashcroft to buy Britain.

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for freedom from the press. We live in a country were every newspaper is partisan in some way. Most notably is the Murdoch press who take pride in their ability to dictate who our next government will be. A long time ago they decided that Cameron would be the next Prime-Minister and have smeared the Lib Dems at every opportunity to sway the vote their way. This year, with the power of the internet, we have the ability to finally throw off the shackles put around us by Fleet Street and reject their partisan ways.

And finally a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for hope. There is only one result that will heal this country, and that is Nick Clegg walking into Number 10 on Friday. Any other result will feel like more of the same; we’ll continue resenting politicians, distrusting every word they say and bitterly regarding the whole process as corrupt. David Cameron and Gordon Brown are divisive figures. Nick Clegg, for all his strengths and weaknesses, is not. David Cameron might “look more Prime Ministerial” according to polls, but those same polls show barely anyone trusts him. On the issue of trust Nick Clegg’s approve rating is through the roof. Perhaps it is a sad sign of how low British Politics has become, that honesty is a quality we don’t associate with the post of Prime Minister.

In America, the people recognised a chance for a new beginning in Obama. Sometimes you need more than a promise of a tax-break here or cutting waste there. Sometimes you need a line under the past and a breathe of fresh air. Sometimes you need to believe in a world that can be made better, and that change can happen against all the odds. Too long we’ve allowed hate, big money and biased press dictate our future. It’s time we took it for ourselves.

Good luck tomorrow, I’ll keep believing.

Ade Grant

Lost The Plot

This election doesn’t seem to based in reality any-more. At first I could keep track of it, I looked at the polls and they seemed to indicate my own feelings on how the campaign was going. Yup, the Lib Dems were getting a surge in week one. Yup, the Tories fought back in week two. And yup, the Labour party imploded. All makes sense.

But watching the debate on Thursday night, and viewing the subsequent polls, I have to say I have lost my grip on reality. The debate was an outright win for Clegg, who came under fire for all sorts of things, but managed to keep his head and fend them off. Brown bombed as normal, showing he has no mastery over his appearance; he gave a apocalyptic speech about the dangers of a Tory government, but then decided to smile at the end like a tinpot dictator sentencing his nemesis to death. Cameron was utterly despicable, false and as generally grimy as we’ve come to recognise.

The polls however, disagreed. They found Cameron won the debate. I couldn’t believe it, was the rest of the country watching a different debate? Had my own prejudice made me completely miss a good Cameron performance? Or is it like John Carpenter’s “They Live”, in which only the hero can see beneath the appearance of his fellow citizens, to the sinister alien creatures masquerading as man?

Today in The Times I finally got some light shed upon these polls. It seems Cameron had come out on top: as appearing as a prime minister. Clegg came out on top as most impressive and most honest, which are the sorts of things I was looking for. In fact when it comes to honesty, Clegg is far ahead of the others, much more so than their lead in any other respect.

Yet is this given prominence in the press? Seemingly not. We are clearly still under the heel of fleet street, and they are gunning for a Tory government. They have, after all, sucked up to them for the past few years, and on May 7th they’ll want what’s due.

The debate has also been shifted into issues that don’t really exist. Just how did immigration become an issue? It’s totally pointless, there’s nothing any of the parties can do about immigration. 80% comes from the EU, something no party is willing to restrict. Illegal immigrants are far to expensive to deport so no party is willing to do that. Asylum seekers can’t be restricted because of an international agreement (plus the fact we’re not monsters). The actual immigration that seems to be being debated is such a tiny proportion we could counter it simply by increasing the number of free condoms in schools.

The dangers of a hung parliament seems to dominate the news too. Where did that come from? There’s no evidence a hung parliament is dangerous, quite the opposite, nations with permanent hung parliaments in Europe seem to do very well. How is this even up for debate? It’s nonsense.

Also, the Euro. No party is proposing we join it, but for some reason there’s a lot of posturing and attacking going on about whether people like the idea or not. I might like the idea of naked Thursday, but unless I put it forward as a political pledge, then it’s entirely irrelevant!

What’s wrong with people? I mean this quite genuinely. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU ALL???

Oh yes, the scores:


(Brown 0, Cameron 1, Clegg 2)

On The Subject Of Green

Like many in the centre-left of British politics, I have a certain sympathy for the Green party. Like them, I feel that environmentalism should be given a much higher priority along with animal welfare and the preservation of the natural world. I would like to see the Green party have more influence in parliament.

Unfortunately the Green Party disagrees.

The shocking lack of foresight in the Greens suggests that they are ether dangerously naïve about our political system, or more concerned with their ego than getting actual influence. There is no way the greens can make strong gains in first-past-the-post. Maybe in thirty years or so, after many gruelling elections, slowly raising their profile, but not in any way soon enough to start tackling the big issues like climate change.

The Green Party, like their right wing equivalent UKIP, need Proportional Representation to have their voice heard. There is only one main party that has promised to deliver this: the Liberal Democrats.

At this the Greens always scoff, “oh, but the Lib Dems aren’t as green as we are, they don’t go far enough!”, but they miss the point. It does not matter if the Liberals want to burn all our forests and force cows to drink pop to increase their burps tenfold, what matters is getting PR for the next election so the Greens stand a chance in the future.

“What about Tony Blair,” they cry. “He promised electoral reform back in 1997, and never delivered!” True, but Blair only said that when he thought he needed the Liberals to prop him up. When he found himself with a massive majority those promises were meaningless, after all, his own party didn’t want PR.

The Liberal Democrats do want it. It’s not a ploy by their leadership but a genuine heart-felt commitment by every member of the party. If they get in, they’ll do it.

But still the Greens refuse to throw their weight behind the Liberal Democrats, instead they let their naivety and their egos get the better of them, splitting the liberal-left vote and allowing the Tories to make gains. UKIP, whilst normally deranged, at least have the sense to recognise the type of political system we’re stuck with. They often step aside if they approve of the Tory candidate. No point splitting the right wing vote if it lets in a europhile.

Incidentally, in the European elections which are based upon a system of PR, I voted Green. In that system they stand a chance. Sadly they don’t in ours, and they’re destroying their chances of influence by standing in it. Grow up Greens, get your eyes on the real prize.

– Not a clever move.

Nightmare Scenario

It is May 7th. The results for the UK General Election are in, and there is no party with an overall majority. What political pundits had been predicting for weeks has finally happened: a hung parliament.

Nick Clegg, jubilant at the Liberal Democrat victory, goes to Labour ready to strike a deal, but there is one problem – Labour aren’t interested in making one. With the economy in disarray, a strong Tory opposition and public resentment, they feel it’s in their interest to let the Tories make the cuts and take the heat for what is destined to be a short parliament. In three years, they hope, Labour will be revitalised and ready to make gains through the first-past-the-post system.

So with no deal in hand Clegg goes to Cameron, hoping to tempt him into a coalition. One problem – Cameron is just as reluctant to work with the Lib Dems. Electoral reform would destroy the conservative grasp on British politics, and with the rank and file of both parties detesting each other, a coalition is nigh impossible.

So there is no electoral reform and no deal. The Conservative party forms a minority government and starts putting forward legislation. The Lib Dems feel at least they now hold the balance of power, but wait! Suddenly they are being accused of holding parliament to ransom and stopping measures needed to take Britain forward. An angry right wing press hounds them until they are forced to abstain from voting, allowing the Tories to push through legislation ineffectively opposed by Labour.

And so, with record numbers of seats, it’s as if the Liberal Democrats don’t exist at all.

This is my nightmarish prediction of what will happen on and after May 7th. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the Lib Dems are being overly optimistic about the other parties capacity for doing what’s best for the national interest. These are, after all, parties who’re addicted to a political system biased in their favour and will see any change as detrimental to their future.

Cameron will never agree to PR, so in a hung parliament the Lib Dems have two viable options. First, to support Labour with a PR deal, but Labour are playing this election as if they want to lose. Are they really willing to sacrifice a system to heavily biased in their favour, just to secure a short and unpopular parliament? Secondly they could request that they instead form the government backed by Labour. After thirteen years in power, are Labour going to really let the Lib Dems, who they’ve mocked at every turn, become their new masters? The likes of Ed Balls are too proud for that.

So it looks grim for the liberals. Their only hope is to win this election, but they would need a swing of at least 15 points to do that. It’s fantasy, surely? But lets not underplay the public’s thirst for a clean up of politics and a new start for Britain, something neither of the old parties can offer.

Clegg should go for broke on Thursday. I suspect he’d going to play on the defence out of fear of losing his current status in the polls, but he needs to realise that it’s not enough. Only a victory will bring the changes this country needs, the other two parties are not built for coalitions. They don’t know what democracy is.

Good enough to aired again today.

The Taste Of Flesh

The wolves are gathering, and it’s flesh they want. Not just anyone’s, but Nick Clegg’s. I mean this metaphorically.. or maybe not, there is a certain deranged glint in Cameron’s eye, and Ed Balls always looks hungry.

Proportional Representation is the subject of the day. Nobody saw this as being a major topic for the election, Labour and Conservatives hate the idea as it would strip them of a system biased in their favour. The Liberal Democrats, whilst being passionate about electoral reform, have always found it a deeply unsexy topic, something for political junkies to get excited about, but not the average voter.

So it was assumed that proportional representation, as a topic, wouldn’t get a look-in in this election. It would exist only in the back pages of the Lib Dem manifesto. Ignored and unloved.

Not so now. Now its out in full view without its pants on. The Liberal Democrats want a frank talk about its natural splendour, whilst the Conservatives want to draw everyone’s attention to the dangly bits. Labour, now trailing in third place without hope of government unless propped up by the Liberals, are courting PR, without any promises. They’re willing to touch the dangles, but they’re not going to like it.

Never before has the dark world of politics been so left bare to the naked eye. There is no talk of policies, or the will of the people. It’s all about tactics and polls, theorising about how the system can be manipulated to suit each end. Nick Clegg knows he’s in an impossible spot, he can only get votes if he presents himself as a viable alternative to the two others, but all the media want to do is talk about a hung parliament and how he would fit in one(a conversation that plays right into Cameron and Brown’s hands). In his closing speech on Thursday Clegg should distance himself from this argument. He should tell voters not to vote for him to keep another party out, but to put him in. Difficult, but only then can he pull himself out of the current rut.

Cameron is now breaking into his stride. He has found a theme, and its one of complete evil. Anti-electoral reform, anti-coalition, scaremongering and misleading, his campaign has been the embodiment of the right wing tabloids who swarm around him like nazgul. Almost all pretence of the compassionate-conservative liberal greenie has been dropped, revealing the nasty beady-eyed Tory we all knew was lurking inside.

Brown, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly superfluous to the campaign. It appears he is irrelevant, doomed to disappear from politics; even in the case of a liberal supported labour government he would be shot and dumped in the Thames at the liberals request.

So Brown has nothing to lose, Cameron has sensed power slipping from his grasp and so reacted like a rabid wolverine, and Clegg is besieged on all sides.

And they say we don’t have a presidential political system.

Leaders Debate 2, The Empire Strikes Back

If I was a Liberal Democrat, I’d be searching for a way out of this strange artificial reality. True, it is nice that things have so unexpectedly turned their way; their polls have risen, the press is taking them seriously, the whole election debate is about how everything has been forever changed by their rise. But can this possibly be the real world? It’s a dream, a fantasy concocted by their damaged brain hooked up to a life-support machine.

But while we’re stuck in this dream, lets discuss it. Last night there was the second of the Leaders Debates, this time hosted by Sky News and on Foreign policy. Nick Clegg had a lot to live up to this time around, all eyes were on him to see if he’d pull off a repeat performance. David Cameron, on the other hand, had the pressure of an irate conservative party behind him, a party in turmoil over the rise of the looney liberals, whose fortune has scuppered Tory hopes at an outright win.

The panic that is currently rife in the political establishment is clear to see. Labour are suddenly claiming we’re going to get destroyed by Iran if we don’t have Trident. The Tories are warning that anything other than a vote for them will cause economic meltdown. All the right wing press are smearing Clegg so desperately they don’t care how petty and moronic they appear. With all this as the backdrop, Clegg took them on in the second debate, right in the lion’s mouth: Sky News.

Did he do as well as last time? Or was he obliterated by collective outrage? Well, neither. Both Brown and Cameron went for him, trying to tear his throat out and leave him bleeding in the middle for all too see, but Clegg managed to deftly avoid their blows, though without landing decisive ones himself. This was always going to be tricky for Clegg. The British public are incapable of having a sensible discussion on Europe and Clegg was forced to admit his pro-European stance to a scowling studio. But over-all he held his own.

Highlights include:

Final summing up speech by Clegg which was uplifting and inspiring.
Charlie Brooker on Twitter responding to Brown’s likening of Cameron and Clegg to his boys squabbling at bath time, “Brown’s boys must have bloody boring bathtime squabbles.”

Lowpoints include:

Two absolutely daft questions from the public. One on the pope and the other on how candidates personally try to reduce their greenhouse emissions. Both questions can only be answered one way so we were given the same response from each. No candidate was going to say “The Pope’s a rotter who should be shot” or “Sod the environment, I hate sorting through my rubbish for plastic and glass”. Don’t people realise when they’re asking a question that politicians can’t give a variety of answers to?

So, a win for the right wingers this week with their sustained attacks on Clegg. Can he fight back for the final debate? We’ll have to wait and see..


(Leaders Debate 2 Score: Cameron 2, Clegg 0.5, Brown 0.5)

Debate 2: Domestic, The Rise Of Clegg

“I agree with Nick”

“Liberal Democrat poll surge could wipe out Labour”

“Liberal Democrats surge after Nick Clegg’s TV debate performance”

Just some of the headlines that litter the internet like shrapnel from a liberal bomb. Right now Tory and Labour strategists must be scratching their heads and muttering, “just how did they do it?”

On Wednesday things were plodding along as they had been the past month: Conservatives still held a steady lead in the polls, though they were slipping against a Labour party gaining momentum. This has been happening for some time, Brown stalking Cameron like Mike Myers in Halloween – never running, but a bringing a sense of impending inevitable doom.

And then the TV debate happened. Everyone was expecting Nick Clegg to benefit the most, he is after all so unknown that he could hardly drop in the public’s esteem. What the pundits didn’t expect was Clegg to connect with the public so fundamentally.

Lets make this clear though, he wasn’t Jesus Christ, risen again but this time armed to the teeth. He was simply a good natured liberal. What put Labour and Conservatives so far off-guard was that they had forgotten that politics is about policy. So when Clegg started suggesting inherently logical Lib Dem proposals they were utterly flummoxed and felt the tide of opinion flow from beneath their swollen feet so fast they thought an earthquake was occurring.

If anything I thought Clegg was a bit too nice. I would like to have seen Charles Kennedy there, cracking jokes and swigging from a hip flask.

Brown did well, not enough to stop people hating him, but enough to dispel a lot of the tabloid muck.

Cameron, on the other hand, was the biggest loser of the evening. It had looked like he had the perfect advantage: the public on his side, leading in the polls, positioned in the middle to look prime-ministerial. But what happened? He looked vacuous. Not experienced enough to match Brown and not young and vibrant enough to match Clegg. A non-entity. A joke.

So, round two to the Lib Dems. Rather shocking because they won the chancellors debate too. For the next one Clegg better change his game plan, because the other two are going to clusterfuck him. They will not like being made fools of and right now they are plotting and scheming their revenge. The media will go after Clegg too, because what they build up they also tear down. Good luck Cleggy-boy, you’re going to need it.


(current breakdown – Cable 2, Darling 1, Osbourne 0 & Clegg 2, Brown 1, Cameron 0)

A poll conducted by ITV after the debate had Lib Dems up 14 points to 35%. That is amazing.

Wasted Vote? Not for me!

We all know what it’s like. You go into the booth on polling day, cast your vote, and then on your way out you fall to your knees and weep. Why? Because you live in a safe seat and you’ve just wasted your vote, that’s why. We live in a first-past-the-post electoral system, and that means for millions of voters the election is utterly pointless. An exercise in futility, carried out over and over until the end of time. It’s like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill, only instead of a rock it’s a huge bag of shit. And instead of rolling back down the hill, the bag of shit is elected into government. Geddit?

In 2005 I lived in the Windsor constituency, a safe Conservative seat, which meant that no matter what I did, the Tories were going to win. The Conservative candidate could walk through the streets naked, farting through a megaphone and he’d still pull in an impossibly high share of the vote (incidentally, he tried something even more risky: he knocked on my door and spent about ten minutes debating drug policy, but more on that another time). So for me, 2005 was an utter wash out.

Well not this time! By some glorious quirk of fate I’m currently living in Islignton which means I get to take part in the Islington South & Finsbury election, a tough battle between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Labour hold Islington South by just 1.6% of the vote, which means it’s ripe for Lib Dem plucking.

Not only that but the Liberal Democrats’ candidate is Bridget Fox, whom saw recently at a demonstration against the Digital Economy Bill without realising she was my constituency candidate. At the time I remember thinking it was brave of her to brazenly associate herself with a protest that included a big banner for the “Pirate Party”. In the modern era of smear and snap judgement, that took guts (either that or she’s deeply naïve about the power of a bad photo – Or maybe I’m just more paranoid about things like this…).

So, indeed, I feel terribly spoiled. My vote will count and I have someone worth voting for. Such novelty! This must be what it feels like for the Iraqis, only without the terror and the risk of being blown to pieces on the way to the electoral office. All I’ve got to worry about is a spot of rain or some dog-shit on the pavement.

On second thoughts, I might not vote. That sounds a bit too risky.

SIDE NOTE: The current MP for Islington South didn’t vote on the DE Bill, which meant that the damn thing got through. Thank you very much Emily Thornberry! I look forward to booting your arse out on May 6th.

It. Is. On.

Well, it’s on.

On Tuesday 6th April Gordon Brown finally called the election. I never thought the day would come, having been well versed in his cowardly nature over the course of this Labour government. I half-expected the Queen to step in, dissolving parliament and dispatching her guards to pull him out of Number 10 by the ankles. Such is this man’s love for power, and the damage done having to wait ten years, so close to the top job, but always out of grasp. A proud man, belittled by Tony Blair who had the insufferable knack of being popular despite his insanity.

So: May the 6th. Put it in your diary, tattoo it on your arm. This is going to be the most exciting election since 1992, and considering I was eight at the time, its safe to say its the most exciting election ever. Yes, the world didn’t really exist when I was too young to contemplate it. I know this. You know this. Or you would if your minds actually existed. Which they don’t. So there.

Anyway, enough Solipsism. Although I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot of it about over the next month. Gordon Brown must feel a lot like Rimmer from Red Dwarf’s “Better Than Life” – the soul creator of the world, but his own neurosis’ cause everything to fall apart. Perhaps that’s why, just when it looked like Labour was making a big come-back, a platoon of big business leaders made public their support of the Tory tax-cut proposal. The world hates Gordon, because he hates himself.

But is this big-business support for the Conservative Party really something to cause Labour heartache? The Conservative Party have always been the party of the rich, and given these business leaders are all ludicrously high earners, can we really take their word that a rise in national insurance contributions would damage the recovery? It’s like a weapons manufacturer speaking out on the importance of victory in Afghanistan. Just a tad bit of self-interest going on…

This Tory tax cut is hilarious. Not just because it isn’t a tax cut at all, its keeping it the same whilst Labour would raise it, but because they plan on financing it through cutting waste. Now think about this for a moment. No-one likes waste. No political party campaigns on a platform of increased waste. If it can be cut, it will be. If not, it won’t. A single party cannot make it a part of their campaign, that’s not politics, it’s a dispute between managers. And given that no target for cutting waste has ever been met in British politics, it’s fairly safe to assume this Tory pledge will raise our deficit rather than reduce it.

Nick Clegg, who I’ve been condemning since his election as leader of the Liberal Democrats (I would have gone for Chris Huhne who has enough pizazz to win a debate, whilst looking dull enough to win over Tory voters) managed to have a good day on PMQs. Finally he seemed to be getting wound up by the corrupt main parties and their opposition to political reform. We saw some anger. Great stuff, Clegg. Now lets see you mount a battle-wagon, touring up and down the country dressed as a phoenix promising to eviscerate your enemies with your fire breath. It can only win you votes.

Actually, Vince Cable seems so popular now that he’s pushed out at every opportunity to stand beside Non-Entity-Clegg. This will continue until the public start making the association and the magic rubs off. Don’t you get it yet? Cable – Clegg. Cable – Clegg. Cable – Clegg. Got it?

If that doesn’t work Clegg should start wearing a latex mask of Cable. In fact all Lib Dems should, a vast army of Vince Cables, marching on Westminster to sort out the economy and indulge in a bit of ballroom dancing. True, if the latex masks aren’t of a high enough quality they will look like an army of orcs, but the heart attacks caused will only help to thin the Tory vote.

Go on, order your Vince Cable mask today! I’ve ordered mine, and seeing as how I’ve created the entire world for my own amusement (being the only mind in existence) I’m sure you’ve ordered yours too. I’ll see you on election day, dressed in leather armour and clawing at the legs of wealthy bankers.

The Cable Army demand your bonuses! Flee before us!