Lucy Mangan

December general election 2019: which party is the least harmful?

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Lucy Mangan
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Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem – whoever wins in the next election, Lucy Mangan explains how we’re all going to be losers. 

In the unlikely event you need further proof that politics is run by a group of overprivileged twunts with no more connection to the real world than I have to clean eating, the declaration of a general election on 12 December is it. 

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And just 13 days before Christmas, at what is a massively busy/stressful/complicated/ expensive time for almost everyone (unless, of course, you have staff, a non-working wife, or, in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s case, your nanny doing everything for you).

It’s also slap-bang in the middle of party season, not just the fun-with-friends kind but the semi-mandatory professional types that need all the emollients you can throw at them. Not friction in the form of politics chat. So, you know, thanks for that. 

Obviously, this would all be bad enough if we were facing a normal election with lots of leadership and party choices. Not this shit show. 

General election: "Do I vote Labour because the Conservatives are pro-Brexit, led by an amoral bully?"
General election: "Do I vote Labour because the Conservatives are pro-Brexit, led by an amoral bully?"

I have long been dreading it. Along with many others, I suspect, no matter what allegiances we may all have started with, I feel completely abandoned on all sides and have no idea of where to turn. I am entirely adrift in a sea of uncertainties and contradictions.

There is not a single party I can actively vote for. So, I’m forced to move to the next best thing, which is to vote in such a way that I’m voting against whoever I believe to be most harmful. Never a brilliant way to have to go about things, and, in this case, a sure-fire exercise in futility. 

Do I vote Labour because the Conservatives are pro-Brexit, led by an amoral bully, have a proven record of cutting benefits and services and causing immeasurable suffering to those vulnerable and dependent on them?

Do I vote Conservative because Labour are (slightly more complicatedly) pro-Brexit, led by a man who hasn’t done enough to condemn antisemitic racism, has a record of ambivalence when it comes to terrorists and adheres to an ideology capable of producing as much harm as Tory austerity?

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Or the Lib Dems, who seem to have taken the worst bits of what’s left and turned them into the most unappetising political alternative possible, much like the sweepings of an abattoir are fashioned into hotdogs in the hope that no one notices what’s really in them.

The general election is going to be the distillation of despair. A choice between the options we’ve got is no choice at all. Tactical voting doesn’t produce a new, better option, it just requires you to calculate in slightly more detail which you consider to be the least of the evils. 

General election: "Do I vote Conservative because Labour are (slightly more complicated) pro-Brexit, led by a man who hasn’t done enough to condemn antisemitic racism?"
General election: "Do I vote Conservative because Labour are (slightly more complicated) pro-Brexit, led by a man who hasn’t done enough to condemn antisemitic racism?"

I’m so disgusted, furious and upset by the fact I can look around at the people in power and the institutions who are supposed to represent, guide, protect us all and work on our behalves for the common good – remember that? – and see nothing but a swathe of squabbling children. Only it’s worse than that, because they retain the venal, ambitious, self-serving, greedy instincts of shameless adults, too. 

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Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers. This is not so much a column as a howl of rage and frustration for all of us who have been left to navigate the unnavigable, fight weaponless for the things we hold dear and just endure, somehow, until the time comes when we can choose to be governed by someone with a conscience, a moral sense that extends beyond their own entitlement, and who has it in them to represent more than just themselves. What a happy Christmas that will be. 

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