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All change at Westminster

Thursday, May 6 2010

High tide at Westminster.

There are many admirable blogs written about UK railways. (See the blogroll for some my favourites.) But englishrail blog is unique in that it is the only such publication written from the middle of Poland. Living a long distance from the country one was born in gives a different perspective to that of friends living at home. So you may be interested in the answer that I have been giving all day to the question, If you were living in the UK who would you vote for?

By way of introduction let me explain that I have little time for party politics. While still at school I conceived of the idea that politics is like football. (On the playing field I preferred watching trains on the Brentford loop to tracking the ball!) The majority of football supporters have a tribal affection for a particular club and will spend hours in their local pub discussing the finer points of last night’s game. But matters that I would regard as important – whether their club is on the verge of bankruptcy, or is about to mortgaged by some shady characters – generates little interest from the fans.

My own dream team would be a political party that would be an Irish stew of the best policies of many of the current contenders for seats at Westminster. I would start with the transport policies of The Green Party and blend in some of the ideas for more responsive government from radical Tory reformers. I would add a dose of distributive justice from old Labour, carefully blended with the instinct for local accountability of the Liberal Democrats. Finally I would add a soupçon of Euroscepticism from UKIP.

All very well you may say, but who would you actually vote for? Well it would depend on where I lived. As far as the local government elections are concerned I would vote on the basis of what I knew about the achievements of the individual candidates regardless of their political affiliation.

Regarding the elections to the Westminster parliament, I believe that its time to deliver a big blow to the traditional two party system which gave us the MP’s expenses scandal and delivers policies which are dictated by those who fund their election campaigns. Thus I would vote Liberal Democrat in most constituencies with the hope that they would be able to break the mould of British politics once and for all and move the UK to a system of proportional representation.

However, there are a number of exceptions. In Brighton Pavilion, I would vote for the leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, MEP. Caroline has campaigned over a long period to abolish the unfair tax advantages enjoyed by airlines and has a real chance of becoming Britain’s first Green Party MP. In Clacton I would vote for the Conservative candidate Douglas Carswell. Douglas is co-author with Daniel Hannan of The Plan, a manifesto for returning power to ordinary people. He also spearheaded the campaign to remove Michael Martin from his position as the Speaker of the House of Commons after the latter’s disastrous handling of the Damian Green and MP’s expenses affairs.

I have not mentioned any Labour candidates. Well I would be voting for Lord Adonis, the best Transport Secretary Britain has had for a long time, but being a Lord he does not need to be elected!

Last, but by no means least, in Scotland and in Wales I would choose to vote for the SNP and Plaid Cymru candidates in those constituencies where they have chance of being elected. Both nationalist parties have shown a greater respect for the opinions of the voters than the mainstream parties and both have policies which seek to provide decent and affordable public transport.

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