I had been planning to blog this just before the next general election, but now that the main party conferences are over, I think the picture is clear.
It’s obvious that Labour is an unmitigated disaster, especially under Gordon Brown. They claim to be progressive and prudent, but they’re centralist authoritarians that waste our money. Also, they’re dependent on public-sector votes to a degree that makes it unlikely that they’ll ever be able to shrink the public sector to any meaningful degree.
It’s also clear that while the Tories have some interesting policies in some areas (e.g., their free school plans are captivating), they’re more hostile to the EU than ever before. Their plans to repatriate powers could lead to a huge disaster, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the UK left the Union if the Tories were in power for very long. Also, they haven’t really demonstrated that they have a proper plan for growing the British economy.
The SNP are doing a decent job in Scotland, although I disagree with quite a few of their ideas (esp. with regard to alcohol), but the only reason to vote SNP at a general election is to call for a referendum. At certain times, that might well be the most important question, and it is then proper to vote SNP at a Westminster election, but at the time of a deep financial crisis, it would be foolhardy.
That leaves the LibDems as the only party that will try to end the recession and keep the UK within the EU.
Of course, it’s unlikely that the LibDems will get a majority, but it’s not at all impossible that the Tories will need their votes to gain power, which would be a great outcome: The LibDems could prevent the Tories from doing anything really stupid in Europe, and the two parties could probably agree on a feasible economic recovery plan.
To conclude, here are my voting recommentations: