Last evening's Leader's Debate was interesting. As with all my engagement with politics I watched it becauseI live in hope of a better situation for those who live with an unfairly low allocation of resources within our country, and around the world. I am not interested in party politics per se: I am interested in what party politicians will do for those who need the political process to protect their interests.
The absence of David Cameron, and by default the LibDems, was as a result, interesting. There was in Cameron's decision not to be accountable a contempt for the process of choice that democracy represents that in turn suggests an aloofness that is deeply worrying. The very essence of democracy, and the concern that I have, is the acceptance of being equal in making a claim for support and that merit must determine outcome. By refusing to take part David Cameron indicated that he did not agree with that. In itself that spoke of more than anything he might have said by being present. If a politician thinks he is above the election process he cannot truly believe in it, the outcome it will deliver, or in the responsibility to hold office in the interest of all that it represents. I am saddened that the once 'One Nation' party thinks like that, but it appears it does.
The LibDems were disenfranchised by association with the Conservatives. They made mild protest. That would appear to be their role. The world was never changed by mild protest. It is, as a result, hard to see what they can do for those in need.
So what of those who turned up? Farage for UKIP was contemptuous of the audience without knowing how they had been selected for invitation. A man who can be randomly discriminatory in that way shows his true colours: he is exceptionally unlikely to change his prejudices when in office and those prejudices, in my opinion make him unfit to hold any position of authority. Politics will always be based on bias towards certain interest groups: UKIP revealed its intention to bias itself on the basis of prejudice based on accident of birth, principally, but by no means solely, linked to where that birth occurred. This is deeply offensive and can only increase risk to those who need the state to care the most. One has to hope that this is the last general election where such prejudice will attract the level of support UKIP has at present.
And so we were left with four left of centre party leaders, three of them women. All knew Ed Miliband was the only one of them who could be prime minister. The other three made no secret of the fact that this was the outcome they sought. Miliband played within the constraints of seeking mass appeal. The austerity that this will lead to is in my opinion unnecessary and also avoidable. I have explained why governments can pursue austerity if they wish, but that this offers no guarantee of that outcome within the economy. And so it follows that if a government really want to balance the books it has to offer something much more, which is a vision of how it will by its actions stimulate the sustainable growth that will stimulate employment and so tax revenues.
I have argued that such a possibility exists. The Green New Deal could create a carbon army of people employed in every constituency in the UK to transform our energy use, build long term energy sustainability and so economic stability and reduce our dependence upon imports by creating our own energy sufficiency.
I have argued that these new jobs could pay enough to lift people out of poverty. And that the taxes they might pay would reduce or eliminate many benefit claims and contribute to the Exchequer instead.
I have argued that the resulting investment is hat is needed to get business re-engaged with sustainable investment for growth.
And that could be the basis for new exports, which are as vital as the import substitution that the Green New Deal would deliver if we are to rebalance our trade deficit.
And I have also suggested that this can be financed by what I call green quantitative easing, but which could as easily be called infrastructure QE. This is printing money that the economy needs to provide liquidity and using it to pay for this vital investment activity. We did it to the tune of £375 billion to save the finance sector and we got zero per cent inflation in return. We could do it again and would at worst get two per cent as a result, but with a yield in terms of jobs, hopes, security and prosperity that would make the risk more than worthwhile.
I know some of those leaders on the stage last night know this, but that as yet Labour is not convinced. Of course there are risks to the UK from relying on nationalists parties. But the UK will not survive if it fails economically. The UK will only survive if it delivers what many people, indeed most people who earn the modest incomes on which most people must live, want, which is the freedom from fear that the current political process delivers to them.
As three party leaders made clear last night, it is their aim to argue for the interests of those people. And it is their aim to ensure that Labour delivers for them if Ed Miliband is in office.
If you believe, as I do, that the purpose of being in government is to change the fortunes of those you govern for the better then what Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennet and Nicola Sturgeon had to say last night was encouraging. They were three woman (and I think that no coincidence) saying that it is possible to have a radical government in this country that disrupts the status quo by delivering an essential bias towards those most in need of support in this country with the goal of creating long term viability for us all.
This election does then offer people the real chance to vote for radical change that this country needs if the bias towards those in need that it so desperately requires is to be delivered.
I am not suggesting who to vote for. As is clear: there are options available. I am not actually saying how my vote will be cast. I am saying voting can make a difference to those in whose interests I campaign. And that makes this election very important.