So the Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto today! Now before you write this post off completely just think about the possible regrets you may have after casting your vote for one of the other parties.
Hilariously both of the other parties launched their manifestos in venues that were ironic own goals. Gordon Brown proudly beamed inside a shiny new Birmingham Hospital – Pity it was a PFI that the taxpayer will be forced to pay for at a ludicrously high price thanks to Labour. Not to be outdone, the Tories launched their ‘make Britain better’ manifesto at Battersea power station which also once featured on a Pink Floyd (astaghfirallah) album cover complete with a flying pig. I’ll let you fill in the next thought.
But let’s start with Labour, a party that in the past prided itself on its working-class roots and social justice but has presided over an unprecedented gap between the haves and the have-nots. They have carried on neo-Thacherite privatisation of our services and more ludicrously invented PFI/PPP that essentially allows the private sector to privatise the gain and socialise the cost of a whole range of essential infrastructure such as our hospitals and our underground. They might talk the socialist talk but they have arguably done a great deal to help break up the family, crystallise the multicultural divide and erode our civil liberties (especially if you happen to be an Arab or Muslim – remember 48 day detentions, renditions, torture PVE, CCTV, DNA database…) and oh yes! mess up our economy.
I can go on but it may just depress you. So I’ll move to our beloved Tories. Yes, the very people who invented the lies of trickle-down wealth distribution model and the Laffer curve cry out that they have changed. The Spinning man speaks at us about he way he has changed them to become compassionate, green and gay-friendly. He thinks that taking photos with ethnics, dressing like Obama and talking of change proves that he understands the world outside of elite society. But scratch beneath the glossy veneer and you may not like what you see…duck houses, non-doms and shady political deals on mediterranean yachts
A vote for the Liberal Democrats by contrast will signal a real change from the failed neo-liberal, elitist politics of the other two parties towards a fairer Britain. They may be a less slick, but are not scared of speaking against the monied interests (remember the much-criticised mansion tax or the plan to increase the income tax threshold?) and have the most credible chancellor who forewarned us of the financial crisis. They were also the green pioneers of the three major parties before ultra-posh Zac Goldsmith made it cool. More importantly they are the strongest advocates for voting reform (which may mean a change to the usual staggering figure of 51% of votes being wasted) as well as a clean up of party funding and the House of Lords.
As British Iraqis we must reflect on both our heritage and the state of our wider diaspora community and thus opt for social justice, sustainability and communal responsibility that the Liberal Democrats more genuinely advocate. So when in the polling booth try not to picture the rent-boys, the alcoholic ginger bloke or even Menzies in shorts but think of nice Vince…yes, misshapen but dependable Vince Cable.