Posts Tagged ‘UK political parties’

Why England is screwed (part 1)

May 16, 2021

Warning: politics ahead

As I have watched, becoming ever more depressed, the movements of English politics over the last few years, I have become increasingly convinced that this small country where I live is screwed, for the foreseeable future, long past my lifetime. There are quite a few pointers to this gloomy picture.

Scotland wants independence, and appears to be moving pretty relentlessly in that direction. If they want independence, they should have it; if they get it, I can see the Scots wanting to rejoin the EU as soon as they are allowed. I like Scotland; I love whisky; but what they want is their affair, and I don’t feel my country has the right to try and stop them.

Similarly, it is seeming increasingly logical that the two states on the island of Ireland should reunite, and if the memories of the horrors of nearly forty years of civil war keep heads level it may happen, and that reunited nation will obviously be part of the EU.

Wales is a smallish nation; smaller nations exist and prosper. I do not know if the Welsh will aim for greater self-determination, but if they do, again, it is their business. Which leaves England, smallish in size, with a large population, and heading in the direction of becoming a one-party state, with Tory hegemony entrenched forever. This is a prospect which fills me personally with horror, although I think it will be subsequent generations that will suffer most.

Our main opposition party, Labour, is the only party of its kind still standing in Europe, and how much longer it can stand as it is, is debatable. There is no clearly definable working class to appeal to any more, and what remains of that class has moved on. I am not sure what the purpose of the Labour party is any more. And the trade union dinosaurs who fund it and determine its direction do not endear it to an electorate that has moved on. Do not think that I am against trade unions: I was a union member for my entire working life, and I know how much unions protect their members and improve prospects, salaries and working conditions for them. But, sadly, this is not the picture many people have any more, and it’s not the subject of this post either.

There is potential in the Green Party; the Liberal Democrats shot themselves terminally in the foot in 2010 by going into coalition with the Tories. The nationalist parties are just that, and when they have nations of their own again, will presumably no longer figure in our Parliament, which is elected by a grossly unfair and utterly unjustifiable electoral system, that suits the Tories fine, because they can always win at first past the post, and which Labour will not challenge because they hope fondly they can do the same and then build some kind of socialist utopia in the following four years…

Increasingly it’s blindingly obvious that electoral reform, with proportional representation for all elections, is necessary for England to move into the twentieth, let alone the twenty-first century, and the only possible way to achieve that is for all the opposition parties temporarily to lay aside their differences and co-operate to campaign for fairness in politics, standing for a parliament that will only enact reform, then dissolve itself immediately to allow new elections by the new system, accepting whatever the outcome of those election is. The idea must be to show everyone that currently elections are decided by a very small number of people in marginal and swing seats, and that everyone else’s votes are largely irrelevant.

Look at it this way: a parliament has 100 seats, and 10,000 voters in each seat. Under the current system, 5,001 votes will elect an MP. So one party could get 5,001 votes in all 100 seats, a total of 500,100 votes, sweeping the board; the other 499,900 votes count for nothing. Do the sums.

With proportional representation, there will be more parties trying to win votes. You could vote for a ‘More Corbyn’ party, a ‘More Blair’ party, a ‘More Clegg’ party, a ‘Harder Brexit’ party or whatever. The point is that parties would then have to consult, negotiate and co-operate to form a government. Just as they do in the rest of Europe, and Germany, for example, hasn’t done too badly on that kind of system…

I can see that the Tories would be happy with first-past-the-post until the end of time, but they also need to think about other aspects of a country in continuing decline. And all shades of government would need to deal with this.

To be continued…

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