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November 28th 2019
I have never had any patience for the old canard, muttered around election day, that "none of the above" would sweep the board if the choice were there. I believe that Members of Parliament, by and large, are hard-working and under-appreciated people doing their best to help others and make the country a better place.
And yet. The general election is just around the corner - while I remember, let me plug this page where, as usual, I will be up live-blogging through the night on December 12th / 13th - and, for the first time ever, I would gladly choose "none of the above". There are only four parties standing in Bristol North West, and I have ruled them all out.

Readers of this page will be familiar with my thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn, so I will be brief. The anti-Semitism allegations, which are the most prominent complaint against him, made little or no difference to me because I had already ruled out ever voting for him. I don't like his economic policy, his foreign policy, his history of sympathising with terrorists and dictators, his views on trade unions, and so on. These, obviously, are of varying degrees of importance in determining that I could never vote for him, but they are certainly decisive. And, while I appreciate that we vote for MPs rather than leaders - and Darren Jones, the local candidate, is no friend of Corbyn - I could not look myself in the mirror if I helped put him in power.

My natural home, and the party I have voted for in every general election since 2010. I find it almost impossible, though, to vote for them this time. It is as if the Tories have watched the absolute nightmare that has been the Labour party over the last few years, and decided to take it as their own blueprint: appeasing the more extreme elements of the party while throwing out the moderates; choosing a Trump-lite leader who is fundamentally unsuited to office; throwing money around in a range of policies that the IFS have described as not being credible. I vote Conservative because they are rational, sensible with money, prepared to take tough decisions, and sceptical about dogma. The current Tory party is none of these things. Boris Johnson is a charlatan and devoid of morals; the front bench is the poorest in living memory; even if I had planned to vote for them, stunts like renaming their Twitter account "factcheckuk" would have dissuaded me.

Lib Dems
The traditional home for voters who despair of the two main parties, but I can't vote for a party whose policy is to revoke Article 50. Again, I've already written extensively about my Brexit views here, but to boil them down: I believe firmly in democracy and the importance of losers' consent. The Liberal Democrats are no democrats.

Listen, I'm not voting Green. I applaud green policies but not the party themselves, who sit far to the left of me. I was tempted to vote for them just because there was no way they could win, so I wouldn't be blamed for whatever happens over the next few years, but I'm not sure that's the best way to execute my democratic right at the ballot box. Plus, I'm sure I'd never hear the end of it from my mate Ben.

So. All four ruled out (no other parties or independents are standing here), and yet I love voting and will definitely turn up at the polling station, even if it's just to spoil my ballot. I am deeply concerned for my country, and while a Labour majority looks almost impossible, the worst case scenario is that they do well enough that Johnson takes power and Corbyn - or an anointed Corbynite successor - remains at the head of Labour. The best case scenario... I just can't think of one. Labour getting so decimated that their failed ideology is consigned (once again) to the dustbin of history would be delightful; the price to pay, though, is a Tory majority filled with the worst the party has to offer. Perhaps, as Tony Blair has suggested, another hung parliament is the best outcome - but recent history suggests that this is not conducive to progress, and yet more delay and argument about Brexit will not move our country forward.
I guess I'll just have to try and choose between the least of four evils. And, if that weren't bad enough, Wolves have just gone behind to Braga with a cruel deflection. Oh dear.
Update: we equalised minutes later. Hurrah!

what was I listening to?
Essentials - Ellis Paul
what was I reading?
Brown at 10 - Anthony Seldon
what was I watching?
Brittany Runs a Marathon
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