I’ve had seven weeks to think about it, and don’t know who to vote for tomorrow. This post is probably a little bit of a stream of consiousness, and I’d love to discuss it with any of you who will talk to me about it. As much as anything, I’m trying to decide.
In the last decade, I’ve gone from Labour member, intern, and occasional activist, to Labour voter, to No-supporting onlooker from England at IndyRef, to Scottish resident supporting independence and voting Green. I’ve not voted for the SNP before, but I’ve been impressed, like many others up here, with the job they’re doing of running the country. There’s a reason that they won 56 seats despite losing the referendum the year before.
Some of my friends may be surprised by my support for Scottish independence, particularly those in England, but then three-years-ago me would be surprised too. I’ve seen several people make jokey comments about how much the Nationalists might talk about IndyRef2, yet up here the real difficulty is finding out what other parties would do in Scotland, other than oppose an independence referendum which has been democratically approved by the Scottish parliament, and should already have been rubber stamped by the UK government to go ahead.
IndyRef2 has, by shear bloody mindedness, been made a key issue up here in this election, so here are my feelings on it. Independence isn’t about being against our neighbours, friends, and family in England, it’s about being able to choose a government with the full ability to represent and work for her own people. It’s about the opportunity to live in a country who’s people broadly share views about how things should be done, differing markedly from the consensus in England, where those views are reflected in policy and society. That can only happen when those people are able to choose a government who represent them, speak for them, and are not prevented from acting on their behalf.
It’s easy to buy into a strange sense of guilt/responsibility for Scotland to bring a liberal balance to the UK, but that isn’t what has happened in the past. Elections go the way that they go in England, almost exclusively. 5m people can not and should not be able to overturn the votes of 55m, but why shouldn’t they be able to choose what’s right for them.
As I said though, this is a Westminster election and the question of IndyRef2 should already be settled as it has been democratically called by our FM with a clear mandate, and it is an outrage that it’s even on the table. Our votes should be for the best people to represent us in Westminster, and more importantly the right people to form our government. That is clearly not the Tories, and the SNP can’t govern the UK alone. My choice should be simple, but for the Labour party. Corbyn has really, really grown on me as the campaign has gone on, since I’ve heard from him directly, in spite of the BBC’s best efforts. My worry is that he’s still one of the oddballs of the party, and that there aren’t enough people like him to form a government. Labour didn’t have time to change candidates so even their newly elected MPs are likely to be more of the ‘New Labour’ variety, than people who agree with Corbyn. How will he form a government of people as principled as he is?
I want Corbyn as PM on Friday morning, not May (or heaven forbid, Johnson), but I’m finding it very difficult to vote for the Labour candidate, because he, and other Scottish Labour candidates, seem to spend more time baiting the SNP about independence than holding the Tories to account for their record in government. This is a Westminster election: despite the Tory government’s dreadful record, and the weird Tory/Ruth Davidson resurgence up here, Scottish Labour aren’t fighting them, not really.
Despite the SNP’s strange position in Westminster, they’ve done good work there. I was sad not to see them form a coalition in 2015, that could have been a fantastic start to the implementation of the Smith Commission findings, but it was not to be. If we wake up to them in coalition on Friday, I think that would be a good thing, however I’ve always been a believer in voting for the party you want to win in a general election. I’m in a marginal which Labour could just about win, but they seem to be making great efforts to convince me not to vote for them.
It’s a new feeling for me, going to the polling station without knowing who I want to support. Are you having as difficult a time choosing, or have you been decided from the start?