Friday, November 07, 2008

Vote left!

As the election campaign draws to a close, various opinion columnists and pundits have issued their endorsements. The Herald's John Roughan is urging people to vote National. So (unsurprisingly) is Garth George. So I thought I'd get into the game as well.

This election is about three things: the economy, the environment, and our democracy. Who will do a better job of managing the fallout from the international financial crisis and caring for its victims? Who will do a better job of combating climate change and ensuring we stay "clean and green"? Who will protect our electoral system from the anti-democratic forces who want to do away with it, and make sure we have a real democracy? On every one of these issues, the left does better than the right. The left cares for ordinary people. It cares for the environment. It values the democratic principles of majority rule and every vote counting equally. The right, OTOH, cares for millionaires and businesses, and has contempt for democratic values. And on the economy, they offer only the same tired old policies of tax cuts for the rich and deregulation which got the world into this mess.

As for which left-wing party you should vote for, last election I ran a party vote left campaign, and I'd repeat that. MMP means no vote is a wasted vote, and that every vote counts. Every vote for a party helps it get more MPs, and every vote for a left-wing party is a vote for a left-wing government. Unlike the right, our parties can work together, so it does not matter if that vote is cast for Labour, the Progressives, the Greens or the Maori Party. It all helps.

As for myself, I will be voting Green, just like last time. The positive reason is that I care about climate change, human rights, and a more equal society, and the Greens are the best vehicle advocating those positions. The negative reason is that, like many people, I cannot stomach voting for Labour. While I have a lot of friends in Labour and admire Helen Clark's virtu, the party has betrayed its values far too often for me to be comfortable with it. Your mileage, of course, may vary. If you like Labour, vote for them. If you like Matt Robson, vote for the Progressives. And if you think the Maori Party represents you best, give them your party vote. Despite our differences, we can all win together if we try.