Great Britain

Alan Moore is right. This is a once in a lifetime election – and the time to pick a side is now

One of the few positives to emerge from dismal election campaigning is that more than 3m people have registered to vote (it might be because of that). 

Comics legend Alan Moore created a bit of a stir at the end of last week when the internet-averse, self-described anarchist said he would vote for the first time in more than 40 years. 

“Some leaders are so unbelievably malevolent and catastrophic that they must be strenuously opposed by any means available,” he said, explaining that he was principally voting against the Tories rather than for Labour (his choice) although he did describe Jeremy Corbyn’s proposals as “the most encouraging… I’ve ever seen from a major British political party”. 

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Love his work as I do – he’s so much more than just the author of Watchmen – I’m not sure I’m with him there, but I’m planning to vote Labour for the same reasons. 

Those who traditionally abstain should heed my more eminent namesake’s words. 

Those who make a conscious decision not to vote, whose views otherwise put them on the left or the progressive side of the political divide, fit into two or three main groups. 

The first holds that the choice is not a choice because politicians are all the same. Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback turned social justice activist, is a good example of this. 

He failed to vote in the last US presidential election because he said he couldn’t distinguish between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Now it’s true that Clinton was a bad candidate. She’s a corporate Democrat and some of the statements she made during her husband’s presidency look fairly awful in the cold light of day. 

But given what we know now, well, would Clinton really have been as “unbelievably malevolent and catastrophic” as Trump? After Charlottesville, what’s been happening on America’s southern border, the schools that have been shot up, the police who’ve been defended after shooting up African Americans? I think not. 

This argument never really stacked up in either the US or in the UK, even when their respective main parties were a lot closer in terms of policy. Now? Please. 

The second group holds that even yes, politicians are different, but the alternative to the crypto fascist we’re being presented with is so far removed from what I think and value that I simply can’t endorse the lesser of the two evils. 

That one’s a little bit more relevant today. There are a lot of people on the progressive side who look at Corbyn and say “ugh”. And I hear them. Some would go so far as to say he scares the crap out of them because he’s a Marxist, and even if he isn’t, the people around him are, and they’re awful. 

Again, I’d refer them to that quote from Moore. 

Just look at what Boris Johnson has said, and written and done, the lies he’s told, the laws his administration has already broken and you start to realise that Corbyn couldn’t be worse than Johnson if he caught the zombie plague and produced a manifesto focussing on the number of brains he was going to eat the moment he arrived in No 10. Which is basically how the right wing press has characterised him. 

Nor could Jo Swinson, even if she’s proven to be a bit rubbish, nor could a separatist like Nichola Sturgeon. 

Johnson winning a majority would tear up the British constitution and yank us out of Europe without a deal, a clear and present danger given that negotiations over the UK/EU trading relationship haven’t even started. 

He’d then hand us over to Donald Trump on a silver platter, and probably rip up the UK in the process. He’d blight our children’s future, and probably blight the planet while he’s at it. How do I justify that? The US multinationals he plans to throw the doors open to aren’t overly fond of environmental regulations. Want a trade deal with Trump? See that bin over there? The one for non recyclables? That’s where you put those rules, along with the ones guaranteeing workers rights and suchlike.  

As for the NHS? If you think that’s safe in the hands of this man I’d dearly like to know what you’re getting on prescription. 

Johnson is seven shades of awful. Spend five minutes looking at him, seriously thinking through the implications of fives years of him, and Corbyn, who won’t win a majority anyway, and looks like a like an elderly Labrador. He's prone to bouts of bad temper, and he’s maybe past his best. But he’s infinitely preferable to the alternative of putting a pit viper at the bottom of your bed.

The third group sort of has a foot in numbers one and two. It holds that parliament is basically irrelevant if you want to change anything. 

But that’s a steaming bowl of icky stuff, too. 

Direct action, demos, working with NGOs of one stripe or another, they can help move the dial, but you’re not getting anything changed or done without parliament’s say so. 

Like it or not, it’s sovereign. Which is why putting it in Johnson’s hands, with a party that is both supine and cruel at his back, is so terribly dangerous. 

So listen to Moore, or just listen to a few of Johnson’s speeches, and then for goodness sake get out and vote for whomever stands the best chance of defeating him in the seat in which you live.

They may be awful, you mayn’t agree with much that they say, but the choice in this election is all too real and the Johnson government is a horror that’s barely begun to show itself.

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