It's odd to watch an election from this distance. It seems a little like a magic trick. The performers are focussing our attention on one thing, while the real action goes unnoticed. As voters peer and struggle to discern the differences between the parties now in contention, the truth is that - in key respects - they are the same. They are all Party X.Vote for Party X and this will happen:
- You will work (if you work) for half the year for the government
- The government will take the fruits of your labour and give them to the least deserving people of the world, whether they be African dictators (to buy weapons to use against their people), domestic criminals (to buy weapons to use against you when they burgle your house) or busybodies (to equip them to interfere in your life).
- The government will believe that it knows what is best for you, despite being staffed by people every bit as prone to error as you are yourself.
- The government will continue to make you hated or ridiculed in the rest of the world (and expose your warriors to danger) by conducting itself as if a small island nation of no particular current consequence was morally superior to all others.
- Political games will be played at Westminster, while the laws are made by unelected men and women in Brussels.
- Most of our children will be tragically denied a decent education while one side of the House of Commons rails but does nothing and the other side stokes envy of the few who do what all decent parents would if they could only afford it
- Serious criminals will be glamourised, coddled and protected, while decent people will be criminalised to make them docile (and give the police some cheap wins).
- The government will get larger.
- The economy will rise and fall periodically, while the underlying trend in terms of the lifestyle an ordinary person's wage can buy continues downwards.
- Our leaders will try to bask in the reflected glory of our daughter civilisation in America, while the worst (and I fear the most) of us continue secretly to envy it and wish it ill.
There is no vote that will allow you to keep more of your earnings to spend on your family. No vote that will allow you to greet your local policeman cheerily, rather than (unless you are someone who should fear him) averting your eyes in fear. No vote will decriminalise you. No vote will make you freer. No vote will stop your sweat being converted into guns for African dictators or samurai swords for your local thugs.
I believe in democracy, but as a means to elect not bosses, but trustees. Men and woman to hold our tax money in trust on our behalf. Men and women to protect our ancient liberties (and restore them when they have been lost). Men and women who understand that, while there is such a thing as society, the state should play only a small part in it. Men and women who understand that the larger the state becomes, the sicker our society will be, until it most closely resembles North Korea.
I wish I could care about the outcome. I worry so much about my children's future and even (when I have a spare moment) about your children's future. Yes, I want change. Yes, I want the election to make a difference. But voting for Tweedledum, Tweedledee or Tweedled'oh is simply not going to do that. The question now is, what will?