This morning was full of omens. An eagle flew over my house and dropped a tortoise into our back garden. Lightning flashed across a cloudless sky. A large cat disembowelled a wild goat from my local mountain and left its entrails in a most inauspicious pattern all over my duck house. And my car had a flat tyre.
This almighty mess sums up my wild path to the polling booth – I was first through the door at 7am so I could get the whole shit shebangle over with as swiftly as possible. The problem was, I still didn’t know who I was going to vote for.
My small-minded reasoning had run like this:
My default position is to vote Labour. That’s where my northern-born heart is. British socialism is supposed to be about caring about everyone equally. The trouble is, this ideology has sparkled too rarely to overwhelm the fake plastic baubles that have shined in New Labour’s shit pile since Blair’s election. Pensions. War. The Big Brother state. Mandelson.
The Tories I tend to vote for most often in our local elections. They’re a madness of the mind that works most efficiently when the competition is consumed by insanity or the hunger for more undemocratic power. Logic says Conservative – pragmatically fix the economy and everyone else will be ok(ish), eventually. But two things place a huge psychological block on my inserting an X in their box. One: do I want to see more of Eric Pickles? and Two: if Murdoch’s backing them, then it stinks.
My answers meant the LibDems always came third in every one of those “who shall I vote for” online quizzes that pepper the news websites. Clegg’s a nice chap, and they are the most libertarian of the big three. However, I can’t stand the thought of voting for Clegg, getting a hung Parliament and then ending up with a Lib-Lab government with a post-Brown leader who nobody else has voted for.
Also on our ballot were the English Democrats. Being an terrible snob, I took against them as soon as I saw the spelling mistakes in the leaflet that came through our letterbox. I didn’t want these numpties running our schools.
UKIP almost got my vote. Greece’s monumental economic ballsup has made closer ties with the EU seem even more toxic. But their leader is a Lord with some Old Testament views on religion and he supports the funding of homeopathy on the NHS. Major flake.
Finally, we were honoured to have the Keystone Cops of politics on our ballot, the BNP. Racist idiocy aside, they are spectacularly amateurish. They’re nowhere near the brutal efficiency of Hitler’s Nazis. They’re more like a 1970s Carry On version of the brownshirt ideal: clumsy and IQ-challenged, tripping over tent pegs at scout camp while attempting a Hitler salute.
In the end, I went for vain hope. I feel neither hostility nor affection for them. The vain hope came from their promise of electoral reform. If they had a sniff of power, then the eternal Lab/Con battle would be broken up. Smaller parties would have a say (even if that meant 1 or 2 fuckwitted BNP MPs), but it would make it harder for tycoons to influence big party policies. My X went in the LibDem box.