I usually don’t get political online, and keep this blog for musings on creativity, the arts, and general geekiness. But here in the UK we’ve got big day tomorrow and I thought I’d share my perspective…which is worth just one vote.
I’m voting Labour.
For me, the choice is about ethos and orientation. I choose to support a party that has fairness woven into its DNA. That starts with early childhood education (which helps parents get back to work), includes quality health care that’s free at the point of service, and encapsulates a social safety net that gives people the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming they are cheats and schemers. It also includes a belief that immigrants can enhance our society instead of tarnish it.
I moved to the UK nearly nine years ago to get married. I had no job, no contacts, and would be refused entry today. Since then, I’ve had two jobs (the first, a corporate gig, the current, a more entrepreneurial one), two kids (both on the NHS), and have been lucky enough to make my living doing what I love for audiences in the UK and around the world.
One of the things I love about the UK is the sense of fair play. With sixty or so million people huddled together on a small island (and a sliver of an even smaller island), our society generally works because people play by the rules and respect the institutions that keep us safe, healthy, and prosperous (and yes, we are a prosperous country).
The values and ethics that underpin Labour are based in fighting for fairness. I’ve observed (close up in some cases) that the assumptions that govern the Conservatives are based on protecting privilege. I personally know politicians of both stripes, and I can tell you those world views are bred in the bone.
Sure, we may end up paying more taxes under Ed Miliband… and we probably should. We’ve got an aging population, a defense system that needs upgrading, and schools and hospitals that should be fully staffed with well-trained, well-remunerated professionals.
That stuff costs money.
I grew up in Ontario, Canada, a province that has slashed taxes in a bid to attract businesses and spur investment (which has largely not happened); and is now grappling with a massive deficit and struggling to pay for health services and badly needed infrastructure.
I also lived in California, a state which enacted into law a prohibition on raising property taxes (Prop 13) and has never managed to recover and probably never will.
Everyone wants to live in a low tax regime while enjoying high tax goodies like paved roads, good schools, and best-in-class health care.
When politicians promise to cut taxes (or not to raise them, which is an inflation-adjusted tax cut), it means either: cuts to services or bigger fiscal deficits…or both.
My observation is that Labour will fight to keep offering the services that people depend on, while the Tories will relish making those cuts.
I get one vote, but for me, I’m voting for fairness.