Next week, for the first time ever in a national election, I'll be voting Green. My main reasons for doing so are:
- The Greens are opposed to fiscal austerity. Labour's promise to "cut the deficit every year" unconditional on the state of the economy is a capitulation to mediamacro deficit obsession. Granted, they might well be insincere in this - but there's a danger that lies become the truth.
- The Greens (pdf) are more liberal on immigration. Sure they fall short of wanting open borders. But they don't celebrate their desire to condemn people to a lifetime of poverty merely because of an accident of birth, as Labour did with that notorious mug.
- I support the Greens wish to cancel Trident's replacement. I reckon £100bn could be better spent.
- I suspect that the Greens are instinctively keener on civil liberties than Labour, and more antipathetic to managerialism.
All that said, there are some massive caveats. For example, I'm sceptical about some green policies; need more convincing (to say the least) about its attitude to banking reform and intellectual property; and don't like at all the party's instinctive antipathy towards free markets, as signaled by its desire for government spending to approach 50% of GDP*. Nor have I been impressed by Natalie Bennett's inability to sell even good policies.
There is, though, a bigger caveat. If I lived in a marginal, I would support Labour. For one thing, I very much want Ed Miliband to be our next PM, not just because this might rid our nation of the blight that is Katie Hopkins, but also because it would be a poke in the eye to the class-haters who have questioned whether he is prime ministerial enough. And for another, whilst Labour is hugely flawed, it is better than the Tories on, for example, on fiscal policy and benefit cuts.
However, I don't live in a marginal but in a massively safe Tory seat. My vote therefore has only expressive value, if only to myself. And I shall use it to express my disdain for how Labour has kowtowed too much to economic illiteracy and reactionary prejudice.
* Green policies might be described as "macro OK, micro bad" - but as James Tobin said, it takes a heap of Harberger triangles to fill an Okun gap.