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Dave won't be getting to vote at all in the UK General Election today - he's been out of the country too long, and doesn't qualify to vote. If Britain had proportional representation, it might be different. Britain needs electoral reform. But, for those who can vote, he recommends Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP in Scotland and, on balance, the Labour party in England. Wales and Northern Ireland? Undecided... Why? Read on...

Dave’s not read anything compelling in the Conservative Party’s promises for another five years of a Tory Britain. And the only memorable thing that Mr. Boris Johnson has said is that he’ll “get Brexit done”. In fact, it seems to be his answer for practically everything.

Dave didn’t like the way Mr. Johnson reacted when faced with the picture of a four-year-old boy bedded down on the floor of a hospital in northern England because of a shortage of beds. When Mr. Johnson was shown a photo of that, it was obvious that he wasn’t very personally impressed. And his reply that the Conservatives are going to put a lot of money into Britain’s National Health Service if they get back into power was unconvincing. During the nine years of Tory government, why did they leave the British health system so short-funded that hospitals don’t have the resources or staff to cope with needs?

And why are so many British people having to resort to free food banks to have enough enough food? Dave was pretty sure that Mr. Johnson was never going to hold one of his stage-managed public promotional appearances in a food bank. And yet you’d think that the food banks were full of the kind of voter that Mr. Johnson needed to convince.

Nor did Mr. Johnson have any convincing answers as to why 150,000 children in Britain had no stable, permanent home and would be spending Christmas in temporary accommodation.

Mr. Johnson’s stage-managed visit to a northern England hospital didn’t go too well for him either, with staff asking him angry questions about staff shortages and the acute lack of facilities.

The only memorable answer he gave was that the UK needs to “get Brexit done” so that the problems with public services can be addressed. But what about the previous nine years of Conservative government? Why were things allowed to deteriorate so much?

When you’re watching Britain from afar, as a long-time expatriate, with just the British media to keep you up to date with things, Britain sounds like such a lousy place to live these days:

  • high crime rates, especially for knife attacks and street robbery (often mechanised, these days, on motorbikes and scooters – technological progress);
  • poor-quality education in schools, with many schools having to be dependent on donations from parents to provide even the scaled-down services;
  • constant public service cuts (such as the fact that more than 250 public libraries closed over the year or eighteen months preceding the election);
  • poverty rates at a similar level to Victorian times, even though this is the twenty-first century, with anywhere from 30% to 34% of children being classified as living in deprivation and poverty;
  • bad public rail services that are unreliable, ever more expensive and disrupted as soon as there’s the slightest bad weather, and that don’t provide adequate network coverage once you’re outside the south-east of England…
  • and those are just a few things that came most-immediately to Dave’s mind.

And all this is in a country that boasts about being the fifth or sixth biggest economy in the world. This is a country that is proud to boast that it has 150 billionaires. This is a country that considers itself a world leader and influencer.

No, Dave wouldn’t give Mr. Johnson and the Conservative Party more time in power. In fact, he would love it if Mr. Johnson were to lose his own seat in Parliament.

Dave has grave reservations about how the Labour Party would manage to fund all its promises if it came to power. How responsibly and intelligently would a Labour government administer the public finances? It’s okay to increase taxation on the wealthier sections of society, but borrowing from international institutions is a dangerous source of money.

Plus, the issue of claims of anti-semetism in the Labour Party was very badly handled. Mr. Corbyn should have apologised to the Jewish community every time he was asked to. The Labour Party is supposed to be the party than stands against all forms of discrimination, whether racial, religious or gender-and-sexuality-related.

But, after consideration, Dave agrees with George Monbiot (a Guardian journalist) when he said that, even if you have reservations about Mr. Corbyn, the Labour Party is intrinsically the British political party that cares the most for ordinary people, and that arose from the ordinary people.

The Labour Party’s leadership merits criticism, and would probably imperfectly implement imperfect policies, but might eventually turn out to be a bettor option than another Conservative government. (Dave was always very sorry about the departure of Ed and Dave Milliband from the Labour Party; they held a lot of promise.)

Maybe there would be more hope for the future with a Labour government.

Dave doesn’t feel very optimistic with Conservatives like Mr. Boris Johnson, Mr. Jacob Reese-Mogg, Mr. Dominic Raab and Ms. Priti Patel, Another five years of governmental authority from those particular people sounds scary. Even Ms. Theresa May looks angelic in comparison.

Perhaps Mr. Corbyn would be less of a liar and would distort and conceal facts less than Mr. Johnson.

Dave has big misgivings about Mr. Johnson and his eminence grise, Mr. Dominic Cummings.

Mr. Corbyn was willing to face the public more than Mr. Johnson, who has refused questioning whenever it suited him. Mr. Johnson appeared to avoid debate as much as possible, and seemed to be counting on keeping quiet and counting on the Brexit issue to bring him victory.

Dave wasn’t particularly impressed with the performances of Ms. Jo Swinson. Although, to her credit, she was apologetic about the Liberal Democrat Party’s sometimes-poor decisions during its time in coalition with the Conservative government with Mr. David Cameron (who jumped ship and disappeared immediately after leaving Britain in the Brexit controversy).

Ms. Nicola Sturgeon seems like one of the most-trustworthy politicians in the arena. It’s a pity she couldn’t be Prime Minister of the British Union. If elected, Mr. Corbyn should agree to a Scottish independence referendum in 2020, because the Government in Westminster has been noteworthy in its failure to properly represent Scotland.

Both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Corbyn have failed to acknowledge that Scotland voted majoritarily to stay in the European Union, and that Scotland’s right to part ways with government from Westminster should be recognised.

If Britain pulls out of the European Union, England might well find itself alone in a few years time.

Although there seems to be a slightly greater movement towards independence in Wales, too.

And there might ultimately be the final solution to the situation in Northern Ireland, as the Ulster unionists gradually reconcile themselves to union with Eire instead.

Mr. Johnson refuses any consideration of a second European Union referendum. Mr. Corbyn has taken the more-reasonable stance by accepting that there should be a second, confirmatory referendum on EU membership, and that either Britain would stay in or would come out but maintain membership of the customs union. (Does that perhaps include certain other European institutions and systems as well? That hasn’t been answered clearly.)

So, to sum up, Dave doesn’t have the right to vote, but – on balance, and with some trepidation – he recommends Brits to vote for a Labour government.

He reckons the Scots should vote for Mr. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. The Welsh should vote for Plaid Cymru.

And the people of Northern Ireland should just vote, and then all of their elected representatives should come and take up their seats at Westminster, and agitate for their particular political goals, whether they be Protestant or Catholic.

Because the United Kingdom seems highly likely to come apart at the seams over the next few years.

And because the British political system needs deep reform, and should implement proportional representation.

Let there be an end to the two-party stagnation of British politics. It’s time there was some proper democracy and broader political representation in the “United Kingdom”.

British, Irish, Scottish and Welsh people, stop complaining about having to take a more-frequent and more-involved interest in the nations’ political life. You can’t “just leave it to the politicians”.

If you truly want democracy and genuinely don’t want to be governed by self-seeking liars, you’d better learn that democracy is never won, it needs to be protected and preserved everyday.