March 1, 2013
There is barely a cigarette paper’s difference between my own and Toby Young’s opinion on most – if not all – political and social issues. I like and admire him hugely. But where he and I differ is in our interest in the political process: he finds it fascinating, I don’t. So while he has been following the Eastleigh by election assiduously, I really haven’t. I’m not interested in the politics, I’m not interested in the personalities. This is because like many classical liberals of a certain bent, I happen to think politics is the problem. The petty backbiting, the jockeying for power, the horse-trading, the sordid alliances of convenience, the factions, the malleable principles, the moral cowardice, the favoured interests – not that I’m accusing any of the candidates of any of this, I just mean the way politics runs generally – it all rather repels me.
I guess I’m just not as politically sophisticated as Toby. I’m glad he worked out all the psephological impacts depending on where conflicted Tory/UKIPers should place their vote because I certainly wasn’t going to.
That’s because the only thing that interests me in politics is ideas: the implementation of good ones and the rejection of bad ones. Some people would call this “ideology”, like this was a bad thing. I don’t know why it should be.
Anyway, it seems to me that these are not ordinary times. And that maybe under current circumstances it’s a mistake to get too sophisticated about the political process. Maybe it’s time instead that we voted simply for the party whose policies most closely resemble what we believe in ourselves. How else are we to send a trigger to the political class about what it is we really want, if we keep having to be shy about asking for it on dubious tactical grounds which we despise ourselves for having to adopt?
There’s only one party right now which is sticking up for all the things I believe in.
That’s why, for me, tomorrow’s vote has got to be a no-brainer.
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