It’s all old hat now isn’t it? By that, I mean the election. The people have spoken. Let it be an end to it. I think not. Constipated politically the electorate decided to swallow an unwholesome diet lacking moral fibre for another five years which will almost certainly result in faecal vomiting followed by a dose of septicaemia for the rest of us.
We are now facing five years of greater hardship, of more cost cutting, of further destruction to the beloved NHS whilst more money is poured into making Trident missiles. No matter how you look at it having a defence of our nation remains a priority but how does Trident do that? With our military in such sad decline, having never fought a nuclear conflict and hopefully never will, we couldn’t muster troops now if the Isle-of-Man attacked. But the point of Trident is surely self-defence as is the NHS. We have sufficient to fund one but not the other? Is this it? Is this all we have to offer? With real alternatives laid before us, choices as rich as any decent restaurants menus, we still cling to that which has let us down unfailingly for the past three decades. It really is a case of the same-old-same-old repeated over and over.
The real tragedy of the 2015 General Election is not that yet another austerity bound Conservative administration has won but that by a long process of neglect those most passionate about progressive politics have been overlooked by the party of whom they formed its largest support - Labour. Not only here in England. Scotland’s brave hearts, long the heartland of Labour, now disenfranchised by how that party have drifted in the wake of Thatcherite policies allowing core beliefs such as the NHS and Welfare to be hijacked by the Tory viewpoints, rose up to cast both their votes and with it dispatched Labour along with Ed Milliband into sudden decline. That demise is not terminal. Labour will rise again but by their gross stupidity, we all now suffer. No matter how genuine Mister Milliband was, his party had forgotten their roots.
Names now being hurled into the Labour hat come from the expected sources. Blairites with their centrist views, more Liberal than Labour. Do we want more of that? Effectively when Tony Blair and Paddy Ashdown sat down those many years ago that is precisely what was on the agenda; a merger between two parties so closely aligned that such a deal could be, if not bound by blood, discussed. It strikes me that the electorate is indeed neo-Liberal, they are neither Left nor Right but settle neatly, rather comfortably in fact, into that centrist ground. They desire that form of government, a mishmash of Liberal/Conservative views. And even though UKIP are still on the rise they too, even with their perceived racist policies are little more than a sounding board of ‘little England.’
The Union is still on the agenda but I believe safe for the moment. This election was not about that issue. It was about how we English, by voting for the same successive governments over the past thirty-six years, have isolated vast swathes of what was, and still is, the world’s first, most successful fiscal union. It is with this issue, the adoption of a drifting to policies forged from the anvils of Margaret Thatcher, with Mister Blair and Mister Brown’s acceptance then adoption of privatising elements of the NHS, of taking us into a bogus war with Iraq, of telling us what now appears to have been lies on the matter of weapons of mass destruction, that has forced the hands of those traditionally loyal to Labour to change parties.. Funny thing is, I liked Blair, no matter how much I have derided his methods since. Nonetheless, his disregard of the people’s views, his deception of those he was meant to represent have, in no small part, contributed to why Scotland has roared and as they did effectively ripped apart any serious chance Labour had of winning the election.
But was it all their fault? No. Blame the English electorate for that. They seem to have an overwhelming need for tradition over progress.
The concerns I have are that the Conservative party, although it wobbles at times, appears to year on year not only to hold their ground but take regions not traditionally theirs. Even with the ascent of UKIP, the Tories have suffered little at UKIP’s rise as it is those who normally vote for progressives who have turned to what strikes me as a party who speaks equal amounts rubbish as they do sense. It is this factor that should not be ignored. Conservatives are robust, seemingly impervious to the ups and downs of the whims of the electorate. They seem to somehow promote a sense of reliability to the voter. A sense perhaps of you 'knows what you get even if you don’t always like it.' UKIP are nothing but a barometer which shows us how the electorate wants change.
Change is the one thing politician’s fear. Conversely, many voters have complained how similar the three mainstream parties are, how alike the policies but also their leaders. What we now have is a profound dislike for that lack of choice which is why UKIP, The SNP and smaller parties have emerged. They offer radical points-of-view. And yet the SNP, nationalist's of course, have managed to gain unexpected levels of support fuelled by xenophobia and fear. The dislike of some for those Britain’s north of the border combined with an impending mistrust of the SNP forming a coalition with Labour is what has allowed the Conservatives back in.
The LibDems have been decimated. They, more than any other party, have suffered most. Their betrayal of their pseudo-progressive policies that so impressed many have seen them punished even though they were a junior partner in the process of the cuts.
But the biggest losers in this are the working public. Rather than have an administration like Denmark’s which embraces cross-party governments, one that works at a grassroots level, where policies are voted on by vote by vote count, we have now got a minority government making sound bites on Europe, on immigration, on welfare that are formulated by others to scare the public and by which the Tories are adopting in response to others fears. It is effectively the tail wagging the dog, it is UKIP calling the shots.
This is in itself a dreadful revelation on how the English think. It is a man whose wife resembles a troll. He’d rather make love with her as he is used to her ways rather than accepting an attractive woman as his lover for fear her tastes may kill him. I know which choice I’d make.That change is still there. It won’t go away. Nor is it specific to these islands. It is rampant in Europe too. People are seeking change but have issues utterly different to the ones that Labour once stood for. It needs coming to grips with, getting a handle on what the working class now desire which must now be of prime importance. It is vital that what people want is understood. Now we all must suffer as the wrong policies, those obvious to all which lack any vision or compassion will be implemented. We have the Greens whose voice is growing being fed life by the young voters. We have Labour reforming hopefully as something valid, some alternative. We have the SNP who are shaking a big stick at an even bigger dog. We have a desire for grassroots democracy, not centralised control.
More than ever, with Miliband gone, Clegg too and with Farage fighting to maintain control of what more and more seem a BNP light party, comes the need for change. Looking at how the votes were cast we are faced with choices. The first past the post did not best serve the British electorate. It is a system designed specifically for a two party politics. That is not what we Brits now have. As much as I dislike UKIP they only won one seat yet captured 12.6 percent of votes compared to the SNP, who I do like, who won 5 percent of votes yet have 9 per cent of the seats. The flaw in this system is obvious. With four million people voting UKIP, with over one million voting for the Greens time is now ripe to create a system where every voice counts, a grassroots democracy, less centralised, more localised which allows greater flexibility but above all embraces the fundamental need for those seeking to make a better, dare I say it, Great Britain, to work together rather than tear each other apart, and us in the process, like Pitbulls raging over a scrawny cat.
Denmark enjoys having two major parties as do we but unlike us also have four or five other powerful parties. Not since the beginning of the twentieth century has one single party held absolute government. Bills raised by the government seldom become law unless there is full agreement among all parties. In other words, a degree of negotiation and, yes, compromise has been reached. This is politics by co-operation rather than confrontation. It works. Denmark is universally accepted as being one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
It will be claimed by those eager to see the status quo remain that Britain is not Denmark, that we have a proud tradition of being a world leader in democracy. That much may true but nonetheless, our traditions have grown stale in the face of change, the change effected by the will of society. We are now a nation of multiple political parties. These parties are getting huge support. They do not follow the tram lines of a convention as laid down by the political elite but have progressive policies better suited to the nation’s needs. Unless the change is implemented the same flaws with the same disastrous results will afflict this nation again and again and again ad infinitum. Better adopt those policies of the Danes to suit ourselves than to limp along pretending everything is rosy in the garden when the garden is overrun with weeds.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.