It could only be honest to start with a high Labour rating. I voted Blair. I thought about helping the local Labour candidate, Stuart King. I wanted to foam at the mouth every time I read a Telegraph column asserting the straightforward rightness of all things Country/Traditional/Military/etc. I am proud of the amount of tax I pay, and have a small contempt for rich people complaining of taxes.
Lib Dems have gained from closer inspection. I am not anti-European, and reading the Orange book is the closest to a statement of real Liberalism, as the Economist might define it, as you can find. Their stars on their Right are impressive in terms of their backgrounds and intellectual grip. They have a couple of policies I really don't like - anti Student Fees in particular - but seem to combine a scepticism of the larger government with a real progressive streak. I like their Liberal approach to law and order.
Tories have gradually gained. This is partly because of the growing dislike of Labour triumphalism, not liking the faces of the Labour bench for the first time in a while, not liking Brown's speech, it seeming smug and deceptive at the same time. It is partly a recognition that they, like the Libs, have a wing that I could relate to. I am still trying to fathom what it is I really dislike about much of them. Some of the following has an effect, without being particularly rational:
- their grassroots/bloggers. Pretty much the same as the face of Toryism that was so unpleasant in 1997. Bang 'em up, send 'em back, cut the taxes, and God what a dreadful 10 years we (Britain) have had.
- lack of a real direction from the top. Backtracking on Green pledges, for example, the chaos that followed Mrs T's trip
- the sense that they want to build "drawbridge Britain" - it being good enough to bolster the rights of a privileged (but vocally whinging) minority in the name of a skewed reading of libertarian values, and sod the rest.
- things like giving £3bn to show how much they approve of marriage
- illiberal attitude to crime prevention
Anyway, I will try to update the damned thing.