Essay:Why left wing parties are the only parties you should ever vote for
Warning. This essay contains personal dogma. Take it with a pinch of salt.
When you go to the polling station to cast your vote (presuming you live in a democracy of course) you should always cast it for a party on the political left, whatever that means these days. Of course, mainstream parties have shifted so far towards the centre right that it makes a nonsense of calling any party left wing, but that's kind of besides the point. Vote for the one a party that is as far left as possible and has a chance of wining.
Why should I request this crazy thing of you? Well, here's my reasoning. I think if you vote for any right wing party you're throwing your vote away. The only time right wing parties ever, ever improve the lives of people is immediately after emerging from totalitarianism. I see right wing political thought as the "ground state" of politics, the right wing politician never wants to take responsibility for anything. How easy, how supine, it must be to be a conservative! You merely have to divest responsibility of each and every organ of the state, abolish taxes, and sit back collecting your pay cheque for a job well done. Your government has handed control over every major function over to private industry, so what is there to be blamed for? Nothing, that's what.
The whole history of democracy is a long slow process of hauling ourselves out of this ground state of moral ease. It takes drive, determination and leadership to raise a nation to a higher energy level. No conservative government has ever provided those. Under conservative rule, we by definition sit as the current energy level by definition, or by mismanagement or malign intent sink to a lower level. Remember the 19th century before the advent of the welfare state? Private enterprise controlled the destinies of the poor, just as the political right would have it now. The less said about this the better, suffice to say "Dickensian" has come to mean what it does for a reason. It took a Liberal prime minister, Lloyd George, to drag the the UK from this ground state and institute cradle to grave security. When a person couldn't work for reasons of economic decline or injury, the government helped them. After a person retired they were entitled to a pension from the state. Perhaps neither is enough for a great standard of living, but all agree it is better than the street or the workhouse.
Then after the devastation of the second world war, while much of UK stood bankrupt and in ruins, another great left wing leader had the courage to pull our country yet further from the ground state of being. Clement Attlee, the first great Labour leader, instituted the National Health Service. This great institution, which remains one of the greatest monuments to the cooperation of human society, guarantees each and every citizen of the UK good quality health care free at the point of access. No one in the UK will ever die for want of money in the UK as long as we continue to support and maintain the NHS. This truly is one of the crowning achievements of 4000 years of recorded history.
And yet even with these hard won marvels that we now take for granted, politicians of the right still seek to weigh us down back to the ground state from whence we came. How much worse are trains now that when they were publicly owned? Every year, demand grows but not an inch of new track is laid. Every year, fares rise whole percentage points above inflation and passengers see not a penny returned in greater comfort, speed or reliability. The shareholder is in charge, and the passenger must come second. Has energy privatisation seen a reduction in our utility bills? Has it hell. These essentials of life are better run as state monopolies just as health care is, by and for the people. All that free market competition has ever gotten us in these sectors is cartels and price fixing.
Who can blame politicians of the right for divesting themselves of responsibility? Every government since the novelty wore off in the 60s has got it in the neck for perceived failings of the NHS. How much simpler life would be if health care were some one else's responsibility. Why, destroying the NHS would probably net each and every government an extra two years in office from the reduction in scandals alone. This is not to mention the reduction in tax bills that the destruction of such a vast drain on the Privy Purse would entail. But how impoverished would our society be by the destruction of such a revolutionary endeavour? Immeasurably so.
So, next time you're in the polling booth, stop and think. Vote against "I'm all right, Jack" ground state politics. Vote for grand social endeavours that enrich the lives of all, even if it means your take home pay won't quite buy you that 80" plasma TV. Vote for progress, not stasis. Above all, vote for a government that has faith in the power of government. After all, what use is any other kind?