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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Sacrifice principles for power

Something I’ve been musing on since I read this here

This idea that you must sacrifice your principles in order to obtain power bemuses me. It makes me wonder why we want the power in the first place?

See, in the last election I voted for the Liberal Democrats. Yes, it is a decision I regret rather bitterly, but let’s set that aside for a moment.

Why did I vote for them?

Did I vote for them because it would further my plans of world domination? Alas, no

Did I vote for them because I really like the colour yellow? Certainly not

Did I vote for them because I was looking forward to all of the endless Clegg/Cameron “civil union/gay marriage” jokes (which, btw, were never funny and were eternally tiresome) ye gods no!

I voted for them because I agreed with their purported principles. I wanted them in power because I wanted their principles in power.

Not because of party loyalty, not because I like the people in the party, not because I was on their payroll, not for any other esoteric reason – but because I liked the principles of the party.

If they drop the principles to get in power then… why do I want them in power?

Really?

I mean, the power means nothing to me. I don’t want the power for the power’s sake. I want the power for the way it can advance the principles.

Now, I’m not speaking against tactical voting. Not for a second. By all means – if something is so awful and frightening then, yes, vote to get rid of it. Vote to avoid it. Vote to get rid of THOSE principles. Vote to protect yourself. Vote the lesser of two evils because, yes, sometimes the evil is just that nasty. Sometimes short term survival outweighs everything. Sometimes you have to do it simply because you cannot risk tomorrow being that evil.

(I add that nor am I saying people should vote for the lesser of 2 evils either – because that always has to be a subjective personal choice. I can completely understand why you wouldn’t want to vote the lesser of 2 evils – especially when a party has come to view your votes as a “tithe” that is owed and/or feel they can earn support via gestures. After all, if all one party has to do to win votes is be better than the other guy – who is extremely evil, then when do things actually become good? Or do we always settle for not quite as evil? And yes, I do debate a lot about this)

But if you are calling for us to vote for the lesser of 2 evils, then call it that.

Tell us you want us to vote for them because you need the power to keep out THEIR principles. Tell us we need to sacrifice our principles for survival or to keep them out or to protect ourselves.

But don’t tell us we need to sacrifice our principles for the sake of being in power. Because being in power doesn’t have any value without the principles behind it.