A Party Political Broadcast On Behalf Of The Disenchanted

Okay, the various election results have been coming in across the country. Labour did poorly, although not as poorly as some had predicted; the Conservatives did well without exactly romping home, and the Liberal Democrats had ‘a mixed bag’. The Scottish and Welsh nationalists did well — remind me, why don’t we have English nationalists, or an English national assembly? (And I don’t mean the BNP here, that’s something entirely different) — and various other parties spluttered towards the finish line.

Unless you’re a political activist, you may already be wondering “what is the point of all this, exactly?”. And there, I’m afraid, you have me. I can’t see one either.

I don’t know what the point of it is. All right, technically it is to elect councillors and assemblies to represent and govern us, but what proportion of the British electorate actually trusts any of it? Who wouldn’t be tempted to vote for “none of the above” now and again?

It’s important you understand that I don’t want to denigrate the hard work of MPs, Councillors, Assembly Ministers and so on, most of whom I’m sure are thoroughly decent and hardworking people who conscientiously strive to do their best. No, my gripe is not with the political people, it’s not with the political parties, it’s with the political system.

The Problem With British Politics AKA “I Have A Dream…”

As for as I can see this is because the “game” of British politics is precisely that. A game. Or more precisely a never ending series of games, where sometimes one side wins and pushes the pawns around the board, sometimes the other side wins and moves the pawns. The pawns themselves are entirely disenfranchised from this process, as because they don’t want to, or don’t have the opportunity to take part in that game, they don’t get to have a say in the things that matter to them. They just get to vote for one of the usual suspects.

Congratulations Number Seventy Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixteen. You have now voted. Please remain quiet for another four years.

At the moment, we have 645 MPs in the UK, approximately 350 of which are Labour.

The rules of our current political game state that effectively a further 300 MPs might as well not bother turning up, as nothing they believe in will come to pass, unless it happens to be something the party in power would have voted for anyway.

Does this mean that they are wrong? Not necessarily. What is does mean is that our Parliamentary system is all about winning: It matters not how you play the game, but whether you win or lose. And that’s ridiculous.

Can Conservative, Liberal Democrat, or other non-Labour MPs not come up with good ideas? Of course they can. Should these ideas be seriously debated and considered? Of course they should. Are they?

Of course, at this point, whoever the current encumbents are would pipe up and say:

Steady on there old chap, we’re the ones who were elected, surely we get to make the decisions, blast your eyes!Imaginary MP

Okay, maybe not precisely those words, but you get the gist. Yes, they were elected, but who the hell by?

Since 1945 (and I didn’t check any earlier), we have never had a Government with 50% of the vote. The closest we came was the Conservative/Ulster Unionist mash-up of 1955 which managed 49.7%. But then, you consider that only about three quarters of the electorate (over 21) voted. That means, for the most popular ever UK Government, more than three fifths didn’t vote for it (the actual figure around 62%).

This is why “middle England” is the battleground. It’s not about winning the hearts and minds of the electorate. It’s about winning the hearts and minds of the people who change their minds. Various areas are staunch Labour; various areas staunch Conservative: the key battlegrounds are always the ones who could go either way, meaning the majority of the country gets ignored as what is important isn’t “serving the country”, it’s “winning the election”.

That is playing the political game.

I regularly have conversations with people who have different political views to myself. This doesn’t mean that I think that they are always wrong, or their ideas shouldn’t be considered. Similarly, in life, if a decision needs to be reached, and multiple people have differing viewpoints, you don’t just do whatever the biggest person wants, you try to compromise.

Isn’t it time we put this nonsense of “playground politics” behind us and accepted that there are a wide variety of viewpoints in the country: that no one political movement will ever adequately represent the country as a whole and that the parties should — gasp, shock, horror — actually work together?

Wouldn’t that be fair? Wouldn’t it be nice if the parties could step back from their perpetual squabbling and point-scoring in order to concentrate their efforts on looking after the British people? Wouldn’t that possibly encourage more people to take part and to have an interest, if they could see that a rational adult debate, with rational adult compromises, with differing groups working together was on the table?

Wouldn’t it help to have more cross-party working? Cross-party initiatives? Cross-party policies? Yes, they would involve compromises, but all the best things do. The “Northern Ireland” problem only headed towards a solution when groups stopped (okay then, toned down) the bickering and started to compromise and work together.

…or are our political “masters” too busy playing the game to grow up?

…my name’s Ben Elton, goodnight!Ben Elton

2 Responses to “A Party Political Broadcast On Behalf Of The Disenchanted”

  1. Robert responds:

    Well in my area i wrote about my disability and the attempts to get a dentist for my wife, we failed. I took out her tooth myself and the Labour Assembly member said nothing to do with Labour. I wrote to our local news paper about this and other problems, I had massive replies and people saying we are having the same problems, in the end we got Labour out. I am a Labour supporter always have been, sadly until MP’s and ministers accept being disabled does not mean we are dead, or cannot vote or will not fight Labour going to get a shock.

    I cannot go around shouting or holding placards, I can write on Forums send articles to news papers OK some are so Labour they refuse to place them in the papers thats their hard luck.

    Will the Tories be any better, I do not know to be honest is it worth the risk well yes because the Labour party is not listening to us.

    SO I will fight the only way I can use the media.

  2. Robert responds:

    Sorry forgot to mention Labour was kicked out of my area, with a loss of massive majority.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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