Sunday, 31 May 2009


British politics is in a state of flux, or indecision, in that neither side - Conservative or Labour - wishes to appear too 'right' or too 'left'. An example of this is illustrated in comments made by Jackie Ashley, writing in the Guardian 'Comment is Free'.

Part of the problem, touched on by Ashley, is the fact that politicians of all parties wish to be seen as 'offering all things to all men'. In the hope of achieving this, politicians of all the three main parties promise much but, at the end of the day, accomplish nothing ending up in the position where it is difficult, in the words of Nigel Farage, Leader of the UK Independence Party, to 'get a cigarette paper between them'.

Hence the comment by Ashley:

".....when it comes to the reform agenda, Cameron will stop well short of any changes to the voting system that would damage Tory interests. He will end up proposing a blatantly self-interested set of changes."

Likewise 'the left', epitomised by Labour and their socialist creed, in trying to make themselves more 'voter-friendly' are considering linking with the 'soft socialists', aka the Liberal Democrats. As Ashley, again, comments:

"A few weeks ago, the former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown declared that the big event waiting to happen is the realignment of the forces of the left around a broadly liberal, centre-left agenda."

In following this 'all things to all men' approach, neither Conservative nor Labour do themselves any favours, whilst at the same time compounding voter apathy, thus leaving the voter nothing to choose between them, resulting in a 'non-voter' electorate.

At the end of the day, one either believes in enterprise and self-advancement, or one believes in the state being a 'provider of all'; there being no 'in-between' camp, which, in turn, must mean the Liberal Democrats are following an undeliverable cause. Yes, either camp - capitalist or socialist - must accept that there will always be elements of society unable to fend for themselves, for whatever reason. However, those less fortunate are a minority of society as a whole; and whilst society must cater for such groups, at the end of the day, any society only flourishes by catering for the majority.

With regard to the 'expenses and allowances' scandal, it is a sad reflection on the state of our democracy that this is 'headline' news when a far more important topic is the reason for electing MPs. In all the 'chatter' about democracy I have yet to hear an MP, other than Douglas Carswell, willing to talk, in detail, about the ills contained within our present system. MPs still appear to exhibit the belief that they are the 'chosen ones' to decide what we, the people, think and want, yet simultaneously forget that to be able to do that, they have to ask us for our views.

An example of this 'mindset' is David Cameron's statement that he would not allow an in/out referendum of Britain's membership of the European Union because 'he did not think that would be good for Britain and he did not think that was what the public wanted'. Cameron also shows a complete lack of understanding when he was questioned on a possible 're-call' system. What he said was that it should only be allowed when an MP has been 'censured' by Parliament; which is but another method of ensuring a form of 'in-house' regulation. One can but repeat the point, yet again, that it is not up to the employees to set down conditions to the employer of the employees possible censure.

Yet another example of this 'class belief' by MPs is that they are elected to represent their constituents views and are paid by their electorate. So when a question comes before them of national importance - membership of the EU, or immigration - surely they should canvass their electorate and vote in accordance with the majority view of their constituents, rather than for the 'party line'.

A big failing of the three main political parties is their failure to engage with their electorate on the 'European' issue. Not one of them has actually discussed the ramifications, the pros and cons, of Britain's membership of the EU, instead throwing up a smokescreen by, for instance, attempting to turn the election into a vote of no confidence in the present government and its leader. It is worth suggesting that if politicians treated their electorate as adults, instead of the children they believe we are, politics would be greatly enhanced and thereby increase voter interest and participation.

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