Daily archives: May 13, 2009

Who Do We Vote For?

With Euro and local elections coming up, it is tempting to not vote at all. But if we give up on democracy, the alternatives will prove much worse. So please do vote – for change.

My advice is, if you can find a candidate you know to be a good man, you should vote for him regardless of party.

For example, out of the whole country, in the Euro elections I would vote for Rupert Read in the Eastern Region of England. Rupert is an honest and hard working man with a passionate concern for the environment and for the quality of life in this country. He sees the need for a society not motivated solely by greed. He is that rare thing in modern politics – somebody who wants to serve, not to rule.


So look at who your candidates are, not what party they belong to. Give special consideration to whether you have an Independent candidate worth supporting, including some of the Jury Team. Remember people are more important than labels. I would, for example, vote for Bob Marshall Andrews or Malcolm Rifkind in any election given the chance. There are a few more of them in their parties.

Having said that, when it comes to party, this is my ranking of parties in order of preference:

1= SNP/Plaid Cymru

2 Lib Dems

3 Green

4 Respect/Solidarity/SSP

5 Libertas

6 Conservative


8 Anyone Else

9= New Labour/BNP

I decided neither BNP nor New Labour deserved better than last place. The BNP is a racist party. New Labour is not, but then New Labour is a real and present danger to everybody’s civil liberties, of whatever race. When you think about it, that’s no better.

View with comments

Michael Foot

Michael Foot is now 95 years old. He received an unexpected blaze of media mentions last weekend when polls showed Gordon Brown had overtaken him as the “Most unpopular Labour leader ever.”

I confess to a soft spot for Michael Foot. I have only ever had one conversation with him, about Byron. His biography of Byron, “The Politics of Paradise”, is one of my favourite books.

The sad thing is that Michael Foot was perhaps the most honourable man ever to lead a major political party in this country. Foot would never have dreamed of milking his MP’s allowances, or letting anyone else do so. It is totally inconceivable that Foot would have tolerated creatures like McBride and Draper around him. he was not in politics for backstabbing and smear.

The irony is that it was Foot’s innocence of the dark arts we now deplore in politicians, that led to his extreme unpopularity. He deliberately and consciously abjured the media soundbite, in favour of the well made and complete argument that did not fit in a news bulletin. He absolutely refused image makeover. I remember very well that this came to a head when he arrived at a cold Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph wearing a duffle coat. The Murdoch press went crazy, calling it a “Donkey Jacket”. It was at the tiime as big a media sensation as the MPs expenses claims are today.

For Foot, the commemoration was just that: an act of remembrance of the fallen. He had volunteered to serve immediately on the outbreak of World War 2, but been turned down because he had weak lungs. He went to pay respects to the dead of his generation, not to show himself off. If he had worn a £2,000 cashmere coat, as Tony Blair did at the Cenotaph, he would have cut a better media figure. But he would never have thought of doing so.

I have never been a supporter of Labour. For me, Foot and his generation remained infuriatingly romantic about organised labour and blind to the abuses, bullying and fundamental lack of democracy in the trades unions. The public were not so blind, and this is why Thatcher was able to hold support for a viciously over-radical programme of closing down heavy industry to deny the unions their base.

When I look at Blair, Brown, Blears, Reid, Blunkett, Smith, Hoon, Straw and the others, it is hard to believe that less than thirty years ago their party was led by somebody as genuine, kind, genial and intellectual as Michael Foot. At least he will never again be mentioned as the “Most unpopular Labour leader”.

View with comments