Read this before you vote

I belong to that smallest of small groups: the EU referendum denialists.

I don’t accept the result of a referendum that was advisory and has now taken on binding status. I don’t accept that just one-third of voters led by a gang of old rich men can shape the future of a youthful Britain. The lies and deceit pedalled by the so-called Brexiteers should have made the vote invalid and we should start again. If you buy a Ford Escort and find when it gets delivered to your door it is a Reliant Robin and has no wheels or engine either, you would feel entitled to a replacement. You have been tricked, duped, conned. And what’s more you would be backed, at least for the moment, that is until the Tories remove that safety net, by legislation forged in the EU.

Ian McEwan articulates a lot of what I feel in his fine article in Saturday’s Guardian.

However, we are only a few days away from the General Election so that is foremost on my mind. There is all to play for, so why am I still tearing my hair out, and believe me, I can’t afford to do that too often!

It’s simple. I went to hustings about the NHS, the one which Bath MP Ben Howlett couldn’t be bothered to or was afraid to turn up to – a trick he had obviously learned from the Great Helmswoman. I listened to the Greens, I listened to the LibDems and I listened to Labour – all fine chaps – all passionate about the NHS – any one of which I would be happy to represent me at Westminster.

However, when I asked my question: “How will you feel when you wake up on the morning of 9 June to find you have come 2nd, 3rd, and 4th again? Why don’t you work together to beat the Tories in Bath?”, I got a load of waffle and nonsense and party-political justification in reply, which of course sent my blood pressure to levels last reached when I tried for the umpteenth time to get a refund from First Great Western.

I can see, though never in a million years understand, how some people feel they just must vote for the party of their choice. Even if it means something far, far worse will get elected. Some people are just not flexible in thought or action, some vote the way they have always voted, some people feel betrayed by previous actions of another party or parties. They feel they must hang onto some grievance from an earlier time. In theory, I shouldn’t ever forgive Labour for introducing nuclear power but I have moved on. Times have moved on. People change (though I do wonder about those in power – different names – same arrogance). In another time and place I would probably vote differently.

But there is only one thought in my head – we must remove the Tories before they destroy everything that makes Britain the place I want to live in and be proud of. Before they lead us out of Europe to a bunch of hellish deals with dodgy countries, destroy our environmental protections, remove hard won worker and human rights and so on and depressingly so on. All of this done behind closed doors, without a recourse to Parliament.

And, if after all the arguments, you still feel you must still vote for the party of your choice, why not Vote Swap? LibDems need votes in Bath, Labour in Ress-Moggland and Greens in Bristol West – do it and three Tories are gone – job done. Then we can get some sanity back into our lives and our politics!

And if vote swapping doesn’t appeal may I beg you, on Thursday, please VOTE TACTICALLY. I beg you, on arthritic, bended knees, prostrated on the floor even, covered in the ashes of the charred hopes of future generations – please vote for the party that can defeat the Tories in Bath. There is only one – hold your nose if you must – but DO it and perhaps we will wake up on 9 June thinking we can see a new dawn, just round the corner, not too far away….

Peter Andrews