Our guest writer is David Heathcote who recently defected from the Conservatives to the Labour party
The remarks made by Chris Grayling in relation to B&Bs turning away gay couples on religious grounds – and the Conservative Party’s effective endorsement of his position – made me remove my ‘blue tinted glasses’ and reconsider how my political and social beliefs fit with the three main parties.
The ‘Grayling gaffe’ was the catalyst for my resignation from the Conservative Party, which I have served as an Approved Parliamentary Candidate and as an activist in the key marginal seat of Colne Valley. I am not a gay rights activist, as such, but I do believe in fairness and honesty. William Hague and Theresa May refused to condemn the remarks and said only that the party’s position was “made clear“. This is an indication that they are unwilling to move beyond their notorious attitude in the 1980s when the Conservatives introduced Section 28.
But gay rights aside, I remain gravely concerned by several other policies that the Conservatives would pursue if they gain power. The most immediately important is the economy. Whatever we think of Labour’s record on ‘Boom and Bust’ we must consider our economic position now. The Conservatives do not seem to appreciate that swingeing cuts in the current financial year would kill the recovery. Thousands of jobs would be placed at risk and consequently increase our welfare bill. As unemployment rises, the markets would respond, businesses would batten the hatches to protect themselves, and all confidence would be lost. We would be in danger of a double dip recession. The prediction by the OECD of 3.1 per cent growth in the UK economy for the second quarter appears to endorse Alistair Darling’s recent Budget predictions, for which he was ridiculed. The Conservatives have simply lost the economic argument.
On immigration, the government’s Australian style points system seems to be the most sensible approach. The Conservatives’ arbitrary cap might appeal to right-wing voters, but it would quickly become unworkable if the country found itself in need of new skills that were not available in the short term. The Lib Dems’ regionally targeted approach is ill though out and probably unnecessary as the jobs market itself would regulate where skills are needed. As with the Conservatives’ cap, this policy would probably have to be revised to the more realistic approach outlined by Gordon Brown during the first leaders’ debate.
On May 6th we should choose the party that will govern with strength and direction, particularly at this critical time of economic and political recovery. David Cameron’s Do it Yourself government would burden the electorate with the responsibilities for which they elect politicians in order that they can get on with their own lives. What would happen if things go wrong – would Cameron distance himself from that responsibility?
I believe in creating the structure and environment in which an individual can pursue their dreams and ambitions; where they can live peaceful and happy lives; where we look after those in need, and respect the opinions and beliefs of everyone.
So why did I choose the Labour Party? After serious consideration I realised that my political beliefs and ambitions for our great country fit very closely with Labour: a party that represents fairness and equality and which supports those in need of help, while providing the structure for people to achieve their ambitions.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.