originally posted on my tumblr in 2015. Sadly the Greens candidate wasn’t elected and he lost his deposit, but I still felt great that I didn’t contribute the awful outcome.
I’m a lifelong Labour voter, but I’ve decided to vote for the Green Party this election, and I have five good reasons for doing so:
Diverse and powerful opposition is important
It’s fair to say that on May 8th, the government will be either be the Tories or Labour, perhaps with a majority, perhaps in a minority government, perhaps in coalition. But either way, one party will be in government, and the other in opposition. And that isn’t good enough. For a government to be truly held accountable, the opposition needs to be diverse, full of novel and often competing ideas. With the traditional Lab-Con dichotomy that doesn’t happen, and we end up with a parliament with two sides, but where each side is broadly the same.
This year, in terms of government, the best we can hope for is a Labour win. But even that will be a dreary outcome. Labour’s policies on immigration, welfare, the economy, unions, just about everything are just disgusting. The Tories are worse. So this year I’m using my vote to try to secure an opposition worthy of the people the government will no-doubt screw over. Because of course I don’t expect to see the Greens in government, but if they can secure enough MPs to have a decent and powerful voice in opposition, maybe they can be a force for good.
The Greens will be able to form a government… one day
Changing times are not on the side of traditional politics. The Conservative party is losing relevance, Labour continue to self-harm, the Liberal Democrats pretty much signed their own death warrant in 2010, and the parties of the far right, despite a so-called surge in popularity, are failing to build enough momentum to really change things. But the Greens are emerging as the next party of the left, or the next progressive party, if you prefer. Over the next decade or two, they have the potential to become a major party, and I have no doubt that in the future, they will be a party of government. But to get there, they need support now. And they need enough of us to say “I support them”. Support can be infectious, and the more popular they are perceived to be be, the moe popular they will become.
Perhaps this year we can turn one MP into two or three. And in 2020 turn three into 10 or twelve. And in 2025 into fifty, a hundred. It sounds fantastical, but the potential is there. But it has to start now.
I actually like a lot of their policies
As I said before I am disgusted by Labour’s awful policies, by the Tories’ attacks on the British public, by the Lib Dems’ shady behavior in this parliament, by UKIP’s blatant racism and fascism. While I can’t say I agree with the Greens on every policy, there is nothing that makes me shudder with worry, and many, many of their ideas fill me with joy.
Of course, their policies don’t make a lot of sense as a combined package right now, and if by some miracle they did hold a majority in parliament after this election, they would fall flat. But that doesn’t matter. What we need from an opposition is ideas and ideals, principles, intentions. We shouldn’t expect a party that will have fewer than five MPs to have a complete and cohesive plan for running the country. But we should expect them to have a complete and cohesive set of ideas that define who they are as a party. And that is exactly what they have.
I hope I can save their deposit
Because of the way the electoral system works, as an overseas voter I am destined to forever be on the electoral roll in the Tory heartland that is Haltemprice and Howden, an unusually affluent part of East Yorkshire that generally thinks it benefits from Tory logic. Wherever the new Green MPs come from, I know for certain that my vote will not have directly elected one of them. What my vote can do, however, is go a long way to ensuring they don’t lose their deposit in Haltemprice and Howden. And that, I believe, is a worthy use of a single vote. I’m voting for a candidate who I know cannot win, but I know too that my vote is not wasted.
I feel good about it
I’ve voted Labour my whole life. In 1997 when I was barely a teenager at school I had a vague understanding of politics and I felt an affiliation to the Labour party. But as time has gone on, I have felt progressively less good about voting Labour. And this year, I had no intention of voting Labour. But the thought of voting for the Green Party brings me a sense of happiness and contentment. I feel it is right. It feels good. So I’m doing it.