Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The "there's no money left" argument

One of the most oft repeated "economic" arguments posited by Tory party supporters is the "didn't Labour leave a note admitting there was no money left?" question, which is often used in conjunction with the absurdly counter-factual "Labour bankrupted Britain" narrative.

The first thing to note about this question is that the note that was left by Liam Byrne saying that "there's no money" was intended as a joke, not as a serious statement of fact. The joke being a reiteration of the 1965 note left by the Tory Chancellor Reginald Maudling for his successor Jim Callaghan that said "
good luck old cock, sorry to leave it in a mess".
If the crux of your economic argument is a joke note written five years ago by a fool like Liam Byrne, then it's absolutely clear that you don't have the faintest regard for genuine economic analysis, and prefer to rote learn economic fairy stories from the employees of right wing press barons like Rupert Murdoch (S*n, Times, Sky TV), Jonathan Harmsworth (Daily Mail, Metro), the Barclay brothers (Telegraph, Spectator) and RIchard Desmond (Express, Star).

It's hard to believe that anyone could be credulous enough to believe that the proposition that "there's no money" was an accurate one rather than a joke, but apparently lots of Tory supporters do, and even use it as the keystone of their argument in favour of reelecting the Conservatives!

It's hard to not feel like I'm being patronising in explaining what is to come in the next paragraph, but there are apparently a heck of a lot of Tories out there who honestly don't seem to understand this stuff.

The idea that there ever was "no money left" is a childlike fantasy. The United Kingdom has a central bank called the Bank of England that can just create new money out of nothing via a process known as Quantitative Easing. Since the global financial sector meltdown of 2007-08 the Bank of England has created £375 billion in this way. When a country has a sovereign central bank that can create new money, the idea that there is "no money left" is economic baby talk.

One of the things that this Tory reliance upon the 
"no money left" arguments illustrates is the incredible selectivity of the Tory mind. It seems that they have perfect recall of events in 2010 when it comes to stupid joke notes left in the treasury by an embodiment of uselessness like Liam Byrne, but when it comes to all of the promises and predictions made by Tory politicians back in 2010, they've managed to completely forget.

They can remember Liam Byrne's stupid note perfectly, but they can't seem to remember stuff like George Osborne promising not to raise VAT (then raising it just 2 months later), David Cameron promising "no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS" (then launching the biggest top-down reorganisation in the entire history of the NHS) and they can't remember George Osborne predicting his ideological austerity experiment would have completely eliminated the deficit by now (it hasn't even been halved).

Whenever you hear anyone use Liam Byrne's
 "there's no money" note as the crux of their economic argument, you can be absolutely sure that you're communicating with someone who is an economic illiterate who prefers to rote learn their opinions about the economy from the pages of the right-wing press in lieu of making the slightest effort to actually understand economic issues for themselves.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Austerity is a con
The terrifying scale of political illiteracy in the UK
The myth of right-wing patriotism
How George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
Recommended reading - heterodox economics
The "Making Work Pay" fallacy
The Conservative fantasy of natural economic justice
What is  ... Wage Repression

Please help me to deliver my letter to potential Tory voters

I have written this letter to try to reach out to potential Tory voters and tell them a few things that the mainstream media have studiously avoided telling them.

You can help me to deliver this message to potential Tory voters by following the two very simple steps.

1. Click on this special link (which shows you which of your friends/acquaintances/family members/work colleagues have liked the Tory party Facebook page).
2. Copy this link to the letter ( ) and paste it onto their Facebook walls with a polite request that they read it. Alternatively you could send it to them in a private message if you don't want to embarrass them by posting politics stuff directly onto their public profile.
You can also help to raise awareness of this letter by sharing it with people who you know are potential Tory voters, but haven't liked the Tory party Facebook page. If you copy the letter  you can share it with them on Facebook, other social media sites or via email.

It would be especially useful if you could share the letter with people who are not regular users of social media sites. These people are much less likely to have come across alternative perspectives like the ones I try to present in my letter.

One other way you can help is by sharing the letter to my letter
 in chatrooms and asking people what they think of it. If you're going to do this please consider carefully where you're going to share it because most chatrooms have specific groups for stuff like "general discussion" or "politics". 

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

A letter to potential Tory voters

Dear potential Tory voter,

I'm writing to you in order to put a few things straight. I know there is a tendency for people on the left to caricature all Tory voters as selfish grasping individuals with no social conscience, and I know that this isn't how you see yourselves. In this letter I'm going to explain why this caricature is inaccurate, but also explain why people on the left tend to believe in it. I'm then going to go on about economics for a bit. This is quite a long letter so I hope that you have the patience to read it.

I don't assume that what I say will change your mind or your voting intentions, but I do hope that it at least gives you something to think about.

Lefty assumptions

The reason people on the left tend to think of Tory voters as being inherently selfish individuals stems from Tory party policy. It is undeniable that Tory party policies over the last five years have massively favoured the rich, whilst loading the burden of austerity onto the backs of the poor and ordinary. 

Thanks to Tory economic policies the wealthiest 1,000 families in the UK have literally doubled their wealth since the economic crisis, whilst ordinary working people have suffered the longest sustained decline in the value of their wages since records began (don't just take my word for it, click the links).

People on the left tend to assume that Tory voters are fully aware of these facts, and furthermore they assume that Tory voters intend to vote Tory because they actively approve of economic policies that transfer wealth from the poor and ordinary into the bank accounts of the super-rich.

Iain Duncan Smith

Another factor that makes lefties assume that all Tory voters are selfish people with no social consciences is the outrageous mismanagement of the social security system that has gone on for the last five years. 

There are many reasons that the Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is a totemic hate figure to people on the left, not least the sanctions regime that has left hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people in Britain suffering absolute destitution for weeks, or even months at a time. Harsh and draconian sanctions have been inflicted on people for "crimes" such as being 9 minutes late for a Jobcentre appointment because their job interview over-ran, having a heart attack during a disability assessment and even selling poppies for a few hours a week for Remembrance Sunday

The fact that Iain Duncan Smith's treatment of the disabled and the unemployed has been declared unlawful by the courts on multiple occasions, only for him to completely ignore the court judgments against him and carry on regardless, adds to the anger that left-wing people feel.

Left-wing people often tend to assume that Tory voters vote Tory because they actively approve of Iain Duncan Smith's unlawful reign of terror over the lives of many of Britain's most vulnerable people. I prefer to think that most Tory voters aren't that disgustingly vindictive, it's that they just don't know about the appalling scale of the numerous rolling humanitarian disasters that have stemmed from Iain Duncan Smith's "welfare reforms".

Most Tory voters aren't selfish and vindictive

The reason a lot of left-wing people think of Tory voters as selfish grasping individuals with no social consciences is that Tory voters actively support a political party that imposes draconian sanctions on vulnerable people, treats the disabled and unemployed in an unlawful manner, and blatantly favours the interests of the already extremely wealthy whilst loading the burden of austerity onto the poor and ordinary.

The reality is completely different. Few Tory voters cast their votes on the basis that the Tories unlawfully abuse the most vulnerable people in society whilst overseeing a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and ordinary to the super-rich minority. Most Tory voters aren't that vindictive and self-interested. The main reason a lot of Tory voters choose to vote Tory is that they genuinely believe that it is the socially responsible thing to do.

The Tories and the right-wing press have been incredibly successful at convincing people that Labour bankrupted the country, that the Tory "economic plan" is necessary, and that this Tory plan is working well. Thus people decide to vote Tory because they're afraid that should Labour get back into power, they'll damage the economy.

The problem with this "Labour broke the economy and the Tories are fixing it" narrative is that every part of it is a load of baloney.

Labour didn't cause the global financial sector insolvency crisis

You really don't have to be a Labour Party supporter (I'm not) to understand that the global economic crisis happened because of the reckless virtually unregulated gambling of the banks, especially those on Wall Street and the City of London.

Of course Labour were somewhat to blame for allowing this gambling spree at UK banks to happen in the first place. However at the time, the Tories only complaints were that the Labour Party hadn't gone far enough with their financial sector deregulations! Had the Tories been in power and deregulated the UK financial sector even further than Labour had, the impact of the global financial crisis would have been a whole lot worse!

The Tory "economic plan" isn't necessary

The theory that a major economy can simply cut its way to growth is illiterate from a macroeconomic perspective and disproven time and again throughout history.

The idea that there is no alternative to ideological austerity is even worse, but somehow, through the tactic of endless repetition, the Tories and the right-wing press have managed to convince swathes of the public that ideologically driven, across the board spending cuts are the only option.

The problem with ideological austerity is that it is so arbitrary, relying on the naive assumption that all forms of government spending create a uniform return on investment of 50p in the pound. It should be obvious that some forms of government spending create better returns on investment than others, but the Tories failed to factor this into their equations, preferring instead to simply assume that all government spending is essentially 50% waste.

If you make a simplistic assumption that all forms of government spending are 50% waste then of course it makes sense to bring in across the board cuts. The problem is that reality obviously isn't that simple, and as in everyday life, some forms of spending are far better at producing good returns on investment than others. In fact the IMF (hardly a left-wing organisation by any stretch of the imagination) estimate that in the current economic climate the majority of government spending returns between 90p and £1.70 for every pound spent.

Once we understand that returns on investment are almost always a lot higher than the Tories lazily assumed they would be, it becomes completely obvious that the best way to improve the economy is to carry out a strategic spending review, then cut spending in areas with poor returns on investment, but actually increase spending in areas that produce strong returns on investment.

If we frame the austerity debate as a choice between between arbitrary across the board spending cuts vs evidence based strategic spending prioritisation, then the ideological austerity option begins to look like a very poor choice indeed, because if you lazily assume that all spending is waste, then you'll end up chucking out the baby with the bathwater and tanking the economy.

The Tory "economic plan" isn't working

There is a mountain of hard evidence that the Tory "economic plan" has been a disaster, but the right-wing press simply choose not to report it. I'll give a few examples:

  • George Osborne and the Tories endlessly repeated their "we're all in this together" catchphrase, yet the richest 1,000 families have doubled their wealth whilst the full burden of Tory austerity has been loaded onto poor and ordinary people.
Why haven't you heard about all of these failings?

A famous linguist and political writer once said that "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum".

The UK media is an almost perfect demonstration of this limited spectrum of acceptable opinion. You're never going to be told about George Osborne's failings by the majority of the press because it is owned and operated by right-wing billionaire press barons like Rupert Murdoch (The S*n, Times, Sky TV), Jonathan Harmsworth (Daily Mail, Metro), the Barclay brothers (Telegraph, Spectator) and Richard Desmond (Express, Star).

Anyone who expects a balanced view from the BBC is also hopelessly naive. The BBC know that their purse strings are controlled by the government of the day, that's why their political coverage is always slanted towards the government view. Whether the government is a Labour one or a Tory one, the BBC will curry favour with pro-government bias in their coverage.

The reason that you probably haven't heard very much about how badly George Osborne's ideological austerity agenda is failing, or about the shocking magnitude of Iain Duncan Smith's cock ups at the DWP, is that the vast majority of the mainstream media has absolutely no interest in telling you about it.

Austerity is a con

Ever since the beginning of ideological austerity, people like me have been claiming that austerity is a blatant con designed to transfer ever more wealth to the super-rich minority whilst pretending that the objective is getting the national debt under control.

After five years the results are in: George Osborne has missed all of his economic predictions by miles; he's borrowed hundreds of billions more than he said he would; and the national debt is still growing rapidly. Meanwhile the tiny super-rich minority have literally doubled their wealth.

These facts completely vindicate what I was saying back in 2010, but I take no pleasure from it, because witnessing someone make such a mess of the UK economy gives me no pleasure, and neither does the evidence of the ever widening poverty gap that George Osborne's wealth transfer con has caused.

Common sense?

Thanks to endless repetition by the Tories and their supporters in the right-wing press, the austerity narrative has become so ingrained in political discourse in the UK that "we've got to cut our way to growth" appears to be common sense to millions of people. However just because millions of people accept it as being common sense doesn't make it true.

Not so very long ago it was considered common sense that gay people were degenerates who should be forcibly castrated by the state (a fate that befell the war hero Alan Turing and thousands of others); before that it was common sense that women should not be allowed to vote (overturned thanks to the Suffragettes); before that it was common sense that only wealthy landowners should be allowed to vote in elections (overturned thanks to the Chartists); before that it was common sense that human beings should be able to own other human beings as property (overturned by the slavery abolitionists); and so on throughout human history.

One day the tide will turn and the majority of people will recognise austerity for the ideologically driven nonsense that it is. In fact the tide is turning now. Even the former Tory party spokesman for Treasury affairs Robert Skidelsky says as much. The question is whether you want to be one of the first people to accept that ideological austerity is a con (or at best a catastrophically failed experiment), or one of the last.

The problem

The Tories and the right-wing press have managed to fool an awful lot of people into believing that supporting their ideological austerity experiment is the socially responsible thing to do. The actual evidence paints a very different picture. George Osborne has missed all of his own economic predictions by miles; ideological austerity has badly hindered the post-crisis economic recovery; and one of the most significant outcomes from austerity has been a huge widening of the gap between the super-wealthy minority and the rest of us.

The problem is that so many people are so wedded to the familiar austerity narrative that they simply can't accept that it's demonstrably failed to achieve what George Osborne was claiming that it would back in 2010. 

In order to accept that it has failed people would have to accept that they've been duped into believing in something that doesn't actually work (or even make any sense at the most basic macroeconomic level).

Mark Twain (one of my all time favourite smartarses) once said "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled". This is the problem. It's much easier for the Tories and the right-wing press to fool people into believing their deceitful austerity narratives than it is for others to point out to these people that they've been duped, and that austerity is a con.


If you've managed to read this far it's fair to assume that you didn't flounce off in a cloud of confirmation bias at some point during this admittedly long letter, and for that you deserve some credit. Many people just tend to run away when they come across things that challenge their worldviews.

Thanks for taking the time to read what I had to say. Feel free to leave your replies in the comments section below.

Best regards

Tom (Another Angry Voice)

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Who really caused the economic crisis?
Austerity is a con
The "Making Work Pay" fallacy
How George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
Recommended reading - heterodox economics
George Osborne's "all in this together" fallacy
What is ... Wage Repression?
What is ... Fiscal Multiplication?
Why I want you to question everything - even me!
The "New Labour are left-wing" myth

Monday, May 4, 2015

Why don't people remember Cameron's insane rush to war in Syria?

Is it just me or has almost everyone forgotten how David Cameron tried to wade into the Syrian civil war on the same side as ISIS (then known as Iraqi Al Qaeda) in 2013, but was defeated by parliament?

Does anybody remember how David Cameron, William Hague and the right-wing press did absolutely everything in their power to try to persuade parliament and the British public that wading into a foreign conflict on the same side as a bunch of murderous Islamist fanatics was a brilliant idea?

Does anybody remember how it was pointed out over and again that the Islamist fanatics that David Cameron was trying to ally himself with were responsible for all kinds of atrocities (the killing of civilians, the torture and murder of prisoners of war, child killing, use of chemical weapons, book burning, misogyny, destruction of cultural artifacts ...), yet Cameron and Hague carried on their insane rush to war regardless?

In the run up to the General Election why has hardly anyone mentioned the historic parliamentary vote in which David Cameron's insane rush to war was defeated? 
Why are so few people talking about the fact that Cameron's absurd desire to side with a bunch of brutal Islamist fanatics combined with his incredibly poor leadership resulted in him becoming the first UK Prime Minister to lose a war vote since 1782?

For me the moment that David Cameron's insane rush to war was defeated by a parliamentary rebellion was one of the few times that I had any positive feelings about Westminster politics in the whole of the last five years. However my relief that Cameron's insane warmongering had been dealt a historic defeat was not matched by the reaction of Tory party loyalists and the right-wing press.

Does anybody remember how the right-wing tabloids spewed thousands of column inches of furious bile at Ed Miliband for daring to derail Cameron's insane rush to war? 

When the press should have been thanking Ed Miliband for preventing what would surely have turned into the Islamist take-over of Syria, they attacked him as a self-serving coward and a traitor for daring to stand up and defeat David Cameron's insanity. Their fury stemmed from the fact that Miliband had refused to meekly do as the right-wing press had wanted and let Cameron help a bunch of murderous Islamist fanatics take over Syria.
Can anyone imagine what the situation in Syria would be like now if David Cameron would have got the war he so desperately wanted, and as a consequence helped ISIS to take over the whole country?

I know the situation in Syria is still appalling, and that Assad is a tyrant - I said exactly the same during Cameron's rush to war - however I'm pretty sure that few would contest the assertion that things would be a whole lot worse now if David Cameron would have got his way and created a power vacuum in Syria to be filled by a bunch of murderous Islamist fanatics.

Does nobody remember how David Cameron did an incredible 180 degree U-turn within a year of his historic parliamentary defeat and decided that the UK needed to start bombing ISIS (the very same Islamist fanatics he had wanted to fight alongside just a year previously)?

What better demonstration could there possibly be that Cameron's rush to war was so ill-conceived than the fact that within a year he had decided that we needed to launch a sustained bombing campaign against the same people he had wanted to fight alongside just a year before?

Given that David Cameron eventually accepted what people like me were saying all along (that the Islamist fanatics in Syria are even more dangerous than Assad), just imagine how much more difficult the situation would have been by now had David Cameron succeeded in getting his war, and handing ISIS control over the whole of Syria.

Looking at the personal approval rating, the public tend to judge David Cameron as being more "statesmanlike" and having better leadership qualities than Ed Miliband or any of the other opposition party leaders (other than Nicola Sturgeon). It's as if the public have completely forgotten how Cameron suffered the utter humiliation of being the first Prime Minister in over 200 years to lose a parliamentary war vote. And it's as if they've also forgotten that Ed Miliband, the other opposition party leaders, and a small bunch of coalition party rebels were responsible for preventing David Cameron's insane efforts to make an appalling situation in Syria a whole lot worse by creating a dangerous power vacuum for ISIS to fill.

  In my view David Cameron's insane rush to war in 2013 should be at the forefront of people's minds during the General Election because it was such an appalling display of inept leadership. More importantly, Cameron's rush to war represents absolutely clear evidence that he is a dangerous individual who is incapable of listening to reason; an individual who might well try to drag the UK into other conflicts without the remotest consideration of the likely consequences, or of what kind of murderous lunatics our armed forces might have to fight alongside at his behest.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

David Cameron's lucrative Syrian Blood Pie
The terrifying scale of political illiteracy in the UK
David Cameron's rush to war is defeated
How George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
12 things you should know about Britain First
The desecration of the poppy
The contrasting fates of Alan Turing and Lord Sempill
Micheal Gove's Great War revisionism
The white poppy
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Is this the shittest defence of workfare ever?

Back in 2012 when the Tory DWP boss Iain Duncan Smith was battling against the Court of Appeals decision to declare his "Workfare" forced labour schemes unlawful, he launched an astonishingly pitiful defence of his unlawful "Workfare" scams (you can see a video and my critique of it here). I never though I'd see a more useless display of poorly considered rubbish, but someone recently left an attempted defence of "Workfare" forced labour schemes on my Another Angry Voice Facebook page that even manages to beat Iain Duncan Smith's bizarre ranting for sheer wrongness.

I know it's hardly worth my time to critique a ridiculous comment on my Facebook page, but it is often illustrative to demostrate just how wrong it is possible to be (plus I actually enjoy tearing hopeless arguments to pieces, so this article should be a doddle to write).

I'm going to quote the whole comment and then go through it piece by piece showing how mind-bogglingly wrong it is.
"Workfare is obviously not slavery, as no force is being applied to join them. Anyone is free to leave at any time. Hence the scheme is liberal, ie it makes for a free and so more just society in this regard (which is why the left hates it so much). It beggars belief that anyone could claim that working for one's wage is slavery - and then in the same breath say they want to enslave other people, by living off the taxes that other people pay."

So here's my point by point demolition:

"Workfare is obviously not slavery ..." - WRONG - Firstly I didn't actually claim "Workfare was slavery", so your opening salvo is a straw-man argument. Secondly, whether Workfare is slavery or not depends on your definition of the word "slavery". If we define slavery as "forced unpaid labour" then Workfare seems to fit the definition quite neatly. I've often advised people to avoid using workfare/slavery comparisons because it can be perceived as hyperbolic language by the pro-workfare people we're trying to dissuade from supporting it, but to claim that it's "obviously not slavery" is just misleading. We'll come back to inappropriate slavery comparisons later ...

" no force is being applied to join them" - WRONG - It is well documented that harsh benefits sanctions are used to force people into joining workfare schemes. In fact, the court case Iain Duncan Smith lost was all about whether his workfare punishment regime was lawful or not (it turned out that it wasn't).

Anyone is free to leave at any time" - WRONG - If people leave their "workfare placements" at any time, they are invariably punished with the absolute destitution caused by benefits sanctions. This fear of absolute destitution leaves workfare victims in the appalling situation where they have to simply put up with it if they are being bullied or abused by the bosses, or by other paid staff who resent people on unpaid workfare placements because they represent a very clear and obvious threat to the continuation of their paid employment.

"Hence the scheme is liberal" - WRONG - What the hell kind of defintion of "liberal" are you using in order to make it compatible with the state forcing people to work for no wages and with no labour rights, under the threat of absolute destitution?

"it makes for a free and so more just society in this regard" - WRONG - A free and just society where the state can bypass minimum wage legislation and force the citizen to work for no wages in jobs that they can't leave without suffering absolute destitution? What the hell kind of definitions of "free" and "just" are you using here? 

"which is why the left hates it so much" - WRONG - this isn't even a left-right issue, it's a libertarian-authoritarian issue. Stalin (left-wing) used forced labour schemes, as did Hitler (right-wing). The distinction here is whether we believe that the state has the right to extract the labour of the individual for no compensation and distribute it to favoured clients (an authoritarian stance) or whether the labour of the individual actually belongs to the individual (a libertarian stance). 

"It beggars belief that anyone could claim that working for one's wage is slavery" - WRONG - workfare isn't working for a wage, it's working for subsistence level social security payouts that have been paid for through National Insurance contributions. If the state makes the individual work in order to "earn" their social security payments, then what the individual has paid in National Insurance contributions has essentially been stolen from them by the state hasn't it? If you're fine with the government stealing from the public, you're the one who is beggaring belief, not me.

"and then in the same breath say they want to enslave other people by living off the taxes that other people pay" -WRONG - As already mentioned, unemployment benefits are paid in the form of National Insurance scheme payouts. They are not paid directly by other people, they are the payout from a collective insurance fund. If you don't understand how our social security system even works it's no surprise that you're the kind of half-wit who thinks that paying National Insurance contributions is comparable to slavery. This mind numbingly stupid "tax =  slavery" stance betrays the utter stupidity of your position. First you argue that the state taking the entirety of an individual's labour value and distributing it for free to favoured corporate clients (like Warburg Pincus, the US based conglomerate that owns Poundland) is "obviously not slavery", but then you whinge that the state taking a small percentage of the individual's labour value as a contribution towards a national insurance fund designed to protect against disability, unemployment and old age is "slavery"!

All in all this attempted defence of workfare is one of the most pitiful displays of utter wrongness I've ever witnessed!

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

The decline in political participation and the rise of the non-traditional parties
Iain Duncan Smith's lame "Workfare" propaganda
The myth of right-wing patriotism
How George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
Iain Duncan Smith - Slavery and Narcissism
12 significant Tory-UKIP defectors
A letter to fans of Workfare
Michael Gove's ideological vandalism of the education system

Friday, May 1, 2015

Who I won't be voting for

Lots and lots of people have written to me to ask questions like "which party do you think I should vote for?" and "who are you going to vote for then?". The problem with these questions is that I don't want to endorse one single party, because the best choice of candidate really depends on which constituency you are voting in. There's no way I'm going to blanket endorse one single party for all 650 constituencies in the UK, but I do want to try to answer people's questions.

Yesterday I received my postal ballot papers and as I was deliberating over how to use my vote, I thought of the idea of creating an article detailing the process.

In my constituency there are only seven candidates, the three Westminster establishment parties, UKIP, the Green Party, the left-wing TUSC and the single issue Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol Party.

The Tories

There is absolutely no way that I would ever vote for the Tory candidate because I oppose the extremist ideology that underpins their party. The Conservatives are the party that represents the wealthy and the privileged and does everything in their power to transfer even more wealth and power to the tiny super-rich minority at the expense of everyone else. It amazes me that so many millions of ordinary people are incapable of understanding that voting for the Tories is blatantly voting against their own best interests.

The Tory track record in government over the last five years has been utterly appalling. I can't possibly detail all of the terrible things they've done in a single article, so I'll just provide a few links.

Anyone who votes Tory is complicit in all of this.

The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats dug their own political graves when they signed up to a formal coalition agreement with the Tories. Not only did the Lib-Dems help the Tories to push through all of the vile stuff detailed above, they also did a number of other revolting and ridiculous things.

The way they U-turned on their pledge not to increase tuition fees was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. By doing that they stabbed one of their core demographics in the back, and they also demonstrated to everyone that a Lib-Dem pledge isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Some of the totalitarian stuff the Lib-Dems helped the Tories vote through is even more concerning. This so-called Liberal party used their votes to support extremely illiberal legislation like Secret Courts, The Gagging Law and DRIP. There's no way that a party that supported such horrifyingly illiberal stuff should be allowed to include the word "liberal" in their name.

An additional factor is that my Lib-Dem candidate apparently doesn't even live in the constituency, in fact their registered address is somewhere completely the other end of the country. If they can't be bothered to find a local candidate and have to choose someone from hundreds of miles away to parachute in, then they're not getting my vote - and that goes for any party, not just the Lib-Dems.


UKIP is an extreme-right "Thatcherism on steroids" political party that is 90% bankrolled by Tory money, riddled with failed, disgraced and defected Tories and led by a former Tory party activist who describes the party as the only one "keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive".

The really odd thing is that UKIP tend to get a lot of support from working class people, even though the party is pushing an economic agenda that goes completely against the interests of ordinary working class folk. If you can't understand why working class people voting for a party led by such a devout Thatcherite is so appalling, perhaps you should read this article


If the Labour representative in my constituency was one of the small minority of genuine left-wingers remaining in the Labour Party (politicians like McDonnell, Corbyn, Mearns, Morris ...) I'd definitely consider supporting them with my vote because the more genuinely left-wing people there are in the Labour party trying to drag it back towards its founding principles, the better.

Unfortunately the Labour candidate in my constituency is a Blairite former banker who styles themself as being tougher than the Tories, so I certainly won't be voting for a red-Tory like that under any circumstances.

The Green Party

I'd been writing about politics for several years before I noticed the fact that the Green Party support many of the same ideas as I do. Some of the most notable crossovers are their support for electoral reform, Basic Income, renationalisation of the railways and energy companies, clamping down on tax-dodging and possibly most important of all; monetary reform.

If I lived in Caroline Lucas' constituency, I'd certainly support her with my vote because I think she's easily the best MP in parliament. If I lived in a constituency where the Greens have a decent chance of winning (Bristol West, Solihull, Norwich South, Liverpool Riverside or Sheffield Central) then I'd also be highly likely to support them with my vote. The problem is that the Green Party stand no chance of winning in my constituency, so under our antiquated and infuriatingly non-proportional voting system, all it would ever be is a protest vote.


Not many people know much about the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition. In my view they are pretty much what the Labour Party used to be before Tony Blair turned them into a Thatcherism-lite party in the mid-1990s.

I agree with a lot of their left-wing policies and their anti-austerity stance, and I also have a great deal of respect for their leader Dave Nellist, but like the Green Party they don't have the faintest chance of winning the seat, meaning that under our antiquated voting system, a vote for them is nothing more than a protest vote.

Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol

The evidence based research is absolutely clear that cannabis is significantly less harmful and less addictive than legal drugs like alcohol and cigarettes - as are many other currently illegal drugs (such as psylocybin mushrooms, DMT, khat, MDMA ...).

It doesn't take a great deal of pragmatism to understand that the "war on drugs" is a spectacular waste of time and resources that results in far more harms than the drugs themselves. It's also completely obvious that the "war on drugs" has completely failed in its objectives given that more people than ever are using recreational drugs.

I'm also a strong believer in the libertarian case for ending drug prohibition, because as long as people are not harming other people by doing so, the state has absolutely no business whatever telling them which substances they are and are not allowed to ingest.

The problem is that while I agree with the proposition that 'cannabis is safer than alcohol', that's simply not enough for me to vote for a single issue political party.

Spoiling my ballot paper

Not voting at all is a staggeringly ineffective form of political protest, because all it does is transfer more political power to those who do vote, and renders the non-voting individual indistinguishable from the apallingly apathetic "I don't care a jot about who gets to rule over my life" brigade.

If I was unwilling to vote for any of the parties listed above I'd definitely submit a spoiled/blank ballot paper rather than not vote at all.

My vote

Out of the eight options outlined above, four are completely unacceptable. I'm never going to vote Tory or UKIP; after their betrayal in 2010 I will not be voting for the Lib-Dems because I can't believe a word they say; and there's absolutely no way that I'll be voting for a "red Tory" member of the Labour Party.

Two of the other options are not very good. I'm not going to vote for a single issue party (even though I agree with their proposition) and I'm not going to spoil my ballot paper.

This leaves me with a choice between the Green Party and the TUSC. I'm not going to tell you which one I have decided to vote for, because that would be too close to a blanket endorsement for my liking.

All I'll say is that I did some research into the two candidates and chose the one I liked the most. If you want to research your local candidates before voting, then this website is particularly useful.

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The decline in political participation and the rise of the non-traditional parties
The terrifying scale of political illiteracy in the UK
How George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
Lib-Dems vs Labour in the strategic ineptitude stakes
Why 73% of UKIP supporters should actually vote Green
Why not voting is such a pitifully ineffective form of protest
Austerity is a con