Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Buy my vote

Not literally, obviously. That would be illegal and unethical. But which party is going to do something for me and make my life better? What would I get out of voting for you? Say that you'll do the following and I'll vote for you.

Give me more freedom

Police are spending hundreds of millions of pounds on persecuting journalists for doing their jobs and pursuing ex-celebrities for historic actions which are being re-defined as crimes. What sort of society tolerates spending vast resources on trying to put journalists and old DJs in jail?

Police are increasingly investigating speech and thought crimes, egged on by the twitter mobs. 
I want to live in a society where we are allowed to say and think anything. More tolerance doesn't mean locking up people for expressing view that some people disagree with or take offence at. It means letting them express those views. And arguing with them if you disagree.

Stand up for economic growth

I'm not going to vote for a party that is more concerned with imposing austerity than allowing the economy to grow, and not interested in how we redistribute a pie that is not big enough. We can only avoid austerity and make our country a better place if the economy grows. All of the parties have policies which hinder economic growth. Give up the crazy green ideas, and invest in infrastructure and housing. Build houses where people want to live in them, build more and better roads, build a national high-speed rail network, and build more runways and airports.

Stop trying to 'save' the NHS

A lot of the problems with the NHS could be solved if compassionate healthcare for the sick was prioritized ahead of education and social work. The argument that preventative medicine is more effective and more cost-effective is spurious. If preventative medicine means the loss of our autonomy and happiness, then I'd rather suffer a few ailments. This isn't the real choice anyway. Most of the preventative measures are entirely misguided, based on politic priorities (blaming the public and the poor for ill health), bad science (eating less fat), or miniscule risks (most cancers). The biggest contribution we could make to our health, happiness and wellbeing would be to stop worrying about ourselves and our bodies and our diet, and stop paying professional scare-mongers and busybodies. And the public could respond by stopping putting our creative eneriges and altruism into ostentatious attention-grabbing stunts to raise money for the NHS ('sponsor my triathlon for the cancer ward') and do something more grown-up and useful, more focussed on actually doing good than making yourselves look good.

End foreign aid

Why do we look to the government to do good work? When did their brief extend beyond keeping the country running to dealing with all of the world's problems and trying to run other countries? The government should stick to running the state, and the state should interfere in as few areas of human activity as possible. We have an enormous number of charity organizations, and we can choose for ourselves which to give money to. I don't trust the government to manage my money and make my ethical choices for me.

It's not just that we don't need the government to decide the priorities. Behind the veil of foreign aid, lies the naked promotion of the interests of the rich world and the imposition of anti-growth economics ('sustainable development') the latest illiberal fashionable political issues ('promoting civil society'). People in poor countries would be better off without our interference, which destroys local production and development, and reduces their freedom and autonomy. And let them come here if they want to. There's plenty of room and plenty of work to do.

I'll keep my tax money, thank you very much, and give to a charity that promotes freedom and growth in the third world or at home.

So who will buy my vote?

It's pretty clear that Labour won't stop promoting equality ahead of growth, the Liberal Democrats won't stop increasing the role of the nanny state, and the Greens won't stop opposing all growth and all fun. That doesn't leave a very attractive roster. The Tories might talk about growth, rolling back the state, opposing the excesses of European bureaucracy but they can't help themselves from interfering in our private lives, reducing our freedoms and pursuing fashionable agendas in search of votes. They just don't get it when they try to build the 'big society' from the top down.  UKIP  are a breath of fresh air, with their the refreshing willingness to buck the current illiberal, authoritarian, "you can't say that" climate, and say the unsayable. But I don't agree with their policies on immigration, or with their opposition to building infrastructure. So I'll have to wait for a party to come along that can persuade me.