Now let me just start by saying that in some circumstances it does make sense to vote Labour.
If you generally see yourself as a Conservative, if your politics are on the centre or the centre-right then yes, carry on. Labour makes sense for you. Or maybe you want a change of government but one that doesn’t involve any shift in outlook, worldview or values: one that won’t change anything substantial and might run things a bit better. You might or might not get the last of those, but I can see it would be worth a go. However,  I’m not really talking to you. Because what I’m going to say is really directed at my people – people on the left.

We absolutely should not be voting Labour, WRITES IAN WELLINS.

What we have now is a version of the party that would, I think, be unrecognisable at any other time in its history. It has a leader who won his position by promising to continue the direction established under his predecessor and to provide party unity. Instead he dragged the party off to the right, renounced all previous policies and launched a brutal sectarian purge, expelling people with different views and suggesting that anyone who didn’t like it should leave, which many did.  

I think this massive dishonesty on the part of Starmer (misrepresenting himself and his plans to party members in order to win the leadership) is a big, big deal. It means that, purely on the grounds of character he is not fit to be Prime Minister. 

Parties are meant to

try and win our votes. So what sort of thing might win mine? I’d like to see:
– a decisive turning of the page away from the Thatcherism that has held sway with all governments in the 45 years of my adult life.  

– a more equal country. Less rich, less poor, and a spreading-out of power.
– a real democracy. I’ve always voted but under the current system I have never once been represented in Parliament (and please don’t tell me that my Tory MP Mel Stride does that).
– corporations and the wealthy have captured both parties. This needs to go into reverse, with controls over the massive lobbying industry. Restrictions on both individual and corporate funding of politics.  The country needs to be run for its people, not for business, asset-holders and the 1%.
– we have to take real action to address the twin crises in nature and the climate.
– no more of these endless foreign wars. Out of NATO.  A foreign policy where we are independent of America. 
– on the biggest issue of the moment – Gaza and the Palestinians – there must be a recognition that 76 years of colonisation, ethnic cleansing, apartheid – all culminating in the current horrors – must be brought to an end. No more fence-sitting. Justice and liberation for Palestine as a single 

democratic state with equal rights for all between the river and the sea. Use whatever power we have to move things in that direction.
Ok. That’s quite a list, I do get it. But to be honest, I’d settle for a party that seemed to be broadly on that sort of page. Aspiring to these things. Maybe just some of them. A party that was heading in the right direction. But Labour are not only not offering any of this, they don’t believe in any of it. 

Not now. Everything Labour has done in the last four years has made that clear.  And I refuse to vote for a party with which I have no common ground.
We’re faced with a two-party system where each one is essentially making the same offer to the public. And in that situation our only power is to withhold our votes. Vote Green (maybe), vote for one of the independents – if you’re lucky enough to have a good one – but DO NOT vote Tory (obviously) and definitely: not for Labour.  Not not not. N-O-T not.
Because our only chance of getting politics to turn back towards the needs of people, planet and peace is by persuading Labour that it just cannot have our votes as things stand. If they win tomorrow, we can kiss goodbye to any sort of radical, progressive change, and will probably be en route – once the public realise they’ve been conned – to a surge of right-wing nationalism. We’ll be looking at four years of crappy centrism with rising discontent, followed by Farage, or as bad, Braverman.

Of course, I know there are voices saying that once in office Labour will be different, or can be improved. There are even people who think Starmer is secretly left-wing (not his biographer Oliver Eagleton, who found that, as DPP, where there was any conflict between justice and freedom on the one hand and the interests of the security state and the USA on the other, Starmer *always* sided with the latter).
A friend of mine sent me towards an interview with Mick Lynch, who is saying that we should vote Labour and then try to nudge them in a better direction.  But by voting them in we will have completely lost any power we had!  Elected in as a right-wing party, they will govern as one. And I have to say, that given how Labour totally now disowns the unions and never – never – backs any strike ever (and certainly not the RMT ones) this seems utterly mad.
Mick Lynch wants us to vote Labour? Ooh. Did you hear that? What’s that sound? Do you know, I think I can hear something. It’s far off but I can just make it out. It’s Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson laughing. They’re laughing so hard they can hardly speak, only managing to blurt out “the mugs! the suckers!” in between guffaws.
They’re laughing so hard I think one of them might rupture something.


NB Actually Labour’s position on the Palestinian issue is enough on its own to make a vote for them impossible. Before our eyes is this nightmare – this apocalyptic horror – and what does Starmer say? He says he supports Israel “without qualification”. He says they have the right to deny Gazans food and water. He didn’t support a ceasefire for months and principled MPs who voted for one. The man is immoral as well as a liar. And what does that make the MPs who follow him?

The best way to enjoy the Election Special is by reading the PDF. You can find it here or just look through here.

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