The Conservative Party is far from perfect but it is far better than its alternatives. UKIP have some attractive policies but have given in to populism and are splitting the right – a strategy which only benefits Labour and the Left. Britain needs a Tory majority.
Those of us who favour free markets, free speech and personal responsibility have sometimes had decidedly mixed opinions on the Conservatives in government these last five years.
Crackdowns on public protest, new hate speech laws and the Leveson compromise on press freedom haven’t given libertarians much to cheer for. Nor has the focus on ‘green’ energy or the Prime Minister’s position on the European Union.
But it is undeniable that things are much better now than in 2010. A vote for any other party risks putting leaders in power who would kill off the economic recovery and impose even more draconian curbs on our freedoms.
Five years ago the British economy was in crisis. We could have been Greece. Instead we are outperforming every other European economy. Employment is up and the deficit is down. Yes, more could have been done, but imagine where we’d be with Gordon Brown.
Now Brown’s acolyte, Ed Miliband, author of the most expensive piece of legislation in British political history, might actually become Prime Minister. Just think about that for a second. Let it sink in.
More taxation. More debt. More welfare. More ‘green’ energy policies running up higher bills for ordinary people. More state interference in the economy, more immigration, and absolutely no say on Britain’s relationship with the European Union. More hate speech laws and the full implementation of Leveson. That’s what a Labour government means. That’s where Ed Miliband wants to take us.
The problem with Ed is not just that he looks and sounds like a Muppet. It’s that he genuinely believes, and is quite open about it, that Labour didn’t overspend during the Brown years. Mr Miliband has learned nothing from the disaster his party helped create.
His model for Britain is the failed socialist ‘anti-austerity’ politics of France. But the truly frightening thing is that he has a serious chance of acting out his deluded fantasy.
Proposals to bring back the 50p tax, cap rents and tax ‘mansions’ will make no one better off. They are not meant to. They are meant to drag ‘the one per cent’ down and show off how much Labour ‘care’ about the poorest.
Reversing Ian Duncan Smith’s popular welfare reforms would actively hurt the poor by making it easier to turn down work. Rolling back Michael Gove’s education revolution would mean going back to an era of low standards and mass illiteracy in our schools, of plunging the UK further down the international rankings for maths and science.
Labour would attack free speech by making ‘Islamophobia’ an aggravated hate crime. Highlighting genuine abuses – like election-rigging by Bangladeshi politicians in Tower Hamlets, or the activities of largely-Pakistani paedophile gangs in Rotherham – would carry a legal penalty as well as the perceived social one.
Labour would continue to assault free expression by fully implementing Lord Leveson’s recommendation of a state-backed press regulator. A free press is vital to keep politicians honest and expose abuses of power. Appeasing irritable celebrities – even national treasures like John Cleese and Hugh Grant – is not worth that.
Labour stopped being the party of the working man a long time ago. Now they are the party of Alan Partridge and the cast of Benefits Street.
But Labour seem positively sound compared to their ideological bedfellows, the Greens and the Scottish Nationalists.
Nicola Sturgeon has played a clever game. On the one hand, she appeals to red-meat craving leftists who think Labour have lost their way and offers them the hope of a ‘progressive’ coalition to lock the Tories out. On the other, she refuses to rule out another Scottish independence referendum. If the Nats hold the balance of power after the next election they will almost certainly hold Britain to ransom. They would break this country up at the first opportunity they were given.
It is also possible that the ‘Watermelons’ (Green on the outside, Red on the inside) would form part of a Labour-led coalition. Their manifesto preaches naked class war, high taxes and nationalisation of industry. Their hostility to economic growth is laughable given their pledge to end ‘austerity’, and their hostility to free speech on issues such as climate change and Israel-Palestine is well documented.
But their support among trendy young hipsters whose world-view comes from following the ‘Trews’ cannot be underestimated. They may not win many seats, but they won’t need many if this election is as close as most of the polls are predicting.
The Lib Dems carp on about ‘fairness’ but all that means in practice is leaving the job of fixing the nation’s finances half-done. Having alienated his activists, his Coalition partners and most of the country, Nick Clegg seems desperate to hold onto power whatever the cost.
Although I disagree with a lot of what the Lib Dems stand for, they are a party that has had to grow up a lot in five years of government, and I respect that. But their constant obstructionism, backstabbing and outright bitchiness (standing in the way of boundary reform, briefing against Conservative ministers, etc) has shown them to be unfit to remain in power.
I’m torn on UKIP. I don’t for one second believe they are a racist or bigoted party. For one thing, all their activists came from somewhere, frequently the Conservatives or Labour.
UKIP say a lot of the right things, especially on the EU. They have a certain underdog charm – all the right people hate them. But they talk about immigration far too much, as if bringing numbers down is a panacea that will solve all Britain’s problems.
And ‘red UKIP’ – the emerging Old Labour faction in the party – seems to be gaining ground all the time. A party composed of Thatcherite conservatives and old socialists is a party destined for a bitter divorce at some point in the future.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t vote for UKIP because I think splitting the right wing vote makes absolutely no sense. It is a strategy of failure. It only benefits Ed Miliband, and the idea of five more years of Labour is sickening.
It may be that we end up with another Coalition. I sincerely hope not. The last Coalition restrained the best instincts of the Conservative Party. It wasn’t the disaster some thought it would be, but there was far too much fudge, compromise, and wishy-washy centre-leftism.
The only way to keep the economic recovery going is to vote Conservative. The only way to ensure we don’t wake up to five years of tax hikes, restrictions on free speech and the end of press freedom is to vote Tory.
A Conservative majority is the best possible outcome. Get a majority first, then start thinking about what we want from it.