Time to vote. The constituency offers me a choice of six candidates.
I think that none of them represent me, or represent the constituency at large for national levels, or have sufficient grasp of national issues (public sector debt, in particular) to contribute beneficially to Parliament.
None of them come across as technically adept enough to handle the legislative issues facing the Parliament of 2017-2022. I see the major issues of the next Parliament being i) Brexit; ii) public sector debt; iii) re-implementing a sustainable (and useful) monetary policy; and iv) energy policy. Until these four issues are properly and competently resolved, there is no point in having any other policy. None of the candidates - especially the ones who represent a party more than their own electorate - propose appropriate policies, and what they do say tends to underestimate (or simply deny!) the importance of Brexit, public sector debt and monetary policy.
I have received three flyers from the LibDems, one from the Christian People’s Alliance and one from the Conservatives. The latter was notable for deploying Project Fear about this election, pointing to two electoral “shocks” (the referendum 23Jun2016 and the election of President Trump, then interpolating those “shocks” to “What if Tory apathy results in a Labour win” type of thing), a timely reminder that the Tory candidate Afolami has walked in OsBo’s footsteps (if I remember his short-lived LinkedIn page correctly).
I can easily dispense with:
- The Labour Party. I perceive Labour as economically- and financially-illiterate, better for the Sheriff of Nottingham than for Robin Hood, and very good at covering up that inconvenient tendency. It blatantly bribes the electorate with somebody else’s money, and wins elections when it successfully bribes higher-rate taxpayers with taxpayers’ own money. I perceive the consequences of its policy choices 1997-2010 (monetary policy and nationalising “bad” banks in particular) still haunt us today. I cannot afford to believe a single word that the Red Mafia has to say. I couldn’t care less who leads the Red Mafia: the whole movement is just plain toxic.
- The Liberal Democrat Party: I perceive the LibDems as economically- and financially-illiterate, with an added zeal for inconsistencies and contradictions within policy choices and, worse, policy assumptions. There is no joined-up thinking behind the policy portfolio.
- The Green Party: I perceive the Greens as economically- , financially-, environmentally- and scientifically-illiterate. See also this blog, which still applies to their manifesto EN110. As energy policy is strategically fundamental to enabling any other part of the party’s manifesto (whatever those details might be), the energy policy has to stack up. If it doesn’t, then it’s a non-starter.
- The Christian Peoples Alliance: I cannot see the relevance of Christianity - or any other faith - in technical policy matters. A policy works because it is designed correctly and is sound, not because we pray for it to work.
- The Conservative Party.
- An independent (Mr Ray Blake of Hitchin).
Both are fundamentally unknown quantities.
- The Conservative manifesto is of some interest, but its stratospheric aspirations bear little resemblance to the nitty-gritty details that suddenly convert a pleasant policy portfolio into a shipwreck.
- I have huge doubts about the competence of the senior leadership team of the Party, both in their roles as Party leaders and as members of the Cabinet. If they can’t be bothered to read the EU treaties, then they have no idea how to strategise their negotiations to enable Brexit. Then again, maybe such ignorance is their negotiating tool… which is even worse. The manifesto wants fair, orderly negotiations, minimising disruption and giving as much certainty as possible – so both sides benefit”, but continues to adopt the stance of UKGov 17Jan2017 and its related white paper, meaning that what the manifesto wants is politically impossible.
- The word “monetary” appears zero times in the manifesto. The nearest to a monetary policy is a vague promise about “sound public finances”, with zero detail about what the measurable objective of “sound” is, and how to achieve that metric. To the extent that the Conservatives are implying expenditure, there are no useful/meaningful numbers (let alone funding, or even comparatives).
- It’s candidate for this constituency saw fit to hide his whole LinkedIn profile since the Party confirmed his candidacy, and he’s never - not once - mentioned his internship (or something) for George Osborne, or his following (and unfollowing?) on Twitter of the Evening Standard at the of OsBo’s appointment as editor. He has mentioned his job as a banker. He has referred to his family background to explain how his family arrived to the UK, but he has failed to explain what sacrifices they made (if any!) to send him to Bishopsgate, Eton and Oxford.
- The independent is a financial advisor who wants to get involved in managing education funds (apparently) and has an opinion on other matters. He wants a second referendum on Brexit, but otherwise has apparently little else to say. Monetary policy is an unknown. Debt policy is an unknown. His public posts and comments on Facebook suggest a centre-left outlook. He appears to support FreeParliament.org, whose campaign includes an open letter regarding what Brexit says about democratic dissent. His LinkedIn is still live! But he says little that others have recorded elsewhere (understandable given the timescale of this election). And he appears to have no constituency support infrastructure in place (or even a plan for it, in the unlikely event he’d be elected).
So, on balance, none of the above.