The Conservative party, so we are told, are in the lead as this year’s general election campaign continues. They are primarily acting like the only issue that matters is leaving the European Union; they are wrong. While it is one of the key talking points at present (largely thanks to skewed coverage emphasising the issue), the election debate needs to be widened to other important issues. The government has been forced to publish a draft air-quality improvement plan, an issue which has gained some media coverage and gives some hope that such important issues will not be overlooked.
While I am not a Labour party supporter, Jeremy Corbyn does give the impression that he might have his heart in the right place. Rightly or wrongly, Corbyn is seen as a weak figure but, as George Monbiot has pointed out, somebody who desires to do the right thing but is incapable of delivering it is surely preferable to somebody who can be counted upon to deliver but wants to murder kittens. Ok, I doubt anyone standing for election would have a kitten-killing policy (expect perhaps the Monster Raving Loony Party), but I hope you get my drift.
That said, I’m still not sure I can bring myself to vote Labour, not because of Corbyn but because his party’s past record on the really important issues isn’t all that much better than the Tories’. Those issues are introduction of Proportional Representation (PR) for future elections of MPs and environmentally responsible policies (their previous support for Heathrow expansion is a big black mark against them, and in Cardiff Bay Labour’s policy of a second M4 motorway echoes the Conservatives’ failure to truly address the car-supporting policies that have led to the air quality crisis).
There is still time for Labour to turn this election around, and there are signs that they might be about to do so. I posted on May Day that Mr Corbyn had vowed to overturn the rigged system, and the latest communication I have received from the campaign group Make Votes Matter states that Labour are indeed considering including support for PR in their manifesto. They are now looking for names supporting an open letter to the Labour leader (and his Conservative counterpart) calling on their parties to adopt PR. Please sign it here. Surveys suggest a majority of the population support PR in theory, so if Labour adopted PR as their policy they could indeed oust the Conservatives.