Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Why I've voted Conservative today and so should you.
I'm guessing that won't come as a surprise to anyone given what you all know about me! But there's a story.
If you'd have asked me a while back about the European Parliament elections, I'd have whispered (in a strictly deniable way, of course) that like a lot of Conservatives there was a pretty high chance of me voting for Ukip. Simply because we wanted to make the point that the EU - and especially its purposeless and expensive 'parliament' - isn't in Britain's interests.
However, in the course of the campaign I've come to realise a few things - and these are the reasons why you should vote Conservative today.
1. Whatever we think of the parliament and its purpose, there's a job to do in Brussels (and peripatetically Strasbourg). There are constituents to represent, cases to argue that affect real people and their real lives. I saw this first hand with the attempt by a Labour MEP to ram through a de facto ban on e-cigs. And it was Conservative (and some Lib Dem) MEPs that took up the vapers' cause with some success.
2. The case for leaving isn't about Bulgarian chicken slaughterers or Romanian cleaners. Nor is it about border controls, Muslims or the shape of bananas. We need to leave because the revolutionary idea of European co-operation has evaporated and, as Kafka said, "left behind the slime of a new bureaucracy". However, people who support our continued membership are not traitors corruptly taking the Commission's silver to prosecute their personal interests - they're just folk with a different (and I think wrong) view on the European Union
3. It is a fact that, if you want out, the only game in town is to vote Conservative. No other party with a prospect of government proposes an 'In/Out' referendum. I know the Greens and Ukip offer such a choice but the truth is that neither party - and Nigel Farage acknowledges this - will be in government this side of hell freezing over.
I know lots of you want to have a kick at the government, to make the point about power to people in Westminster. And I guess if you do so not much harm will have been done. However you will have elected people who want the Europe debate to be about how "Britain is full up", who want to make people coming here for work unwelcome and who will make cheap capital (and as we found with Geoffrey Bloom, cheap laughs) from attacking gay rights and women working.
So I urge you to make two positive crosses - a vote for Conservatives in the European Parliament and a vote for a Conservative to represent you on Bradford Council.