Written in a moment of irritation, after reading the latest batch of political pamphlets.
Well, not always, but he thinks he is. And therein lies the problem.
If there is one advantage the British political system has over the American system, it is the existence of multiple parties of government. The Americans have the Republicans (centre-right) and the Democrats (centre-left). Both parties have their morons and extremists, people who should be quietly ignored, but their politics tend to blur together into an inoffensive mass. The prevalence of RINOs and DINOs is a symptom of the political dominance of both parties.
Britain, by contrast, allows voters to gravitate towards their natural political parties, at least to some extent. A dissatisfied Labour voter can move to the Liberal Democrats. A Tory who thinks David Cameron has no balls can vote UKIP. To some extent, there are signs of political panic across the corridors of power as UKIP and the other minority parties seem to grow stronger. The recent attack on the UKIP as a so-called racist party is merely another sign of their fears. These days, with the word ‘racist’ used so often for so little cause, it is unlikely it seriously dented the UKIP.
The question that should worry our political lords and masters is why people are gravitating away from the main political parties. This is not a minor concern. There are currently 650 seats in parliament, each one representing a constituency within the UK. If the UKIP was to gain control of a relative handful of seats, the position of the governing party would be seriously threatened. UKIP would be powerless on its own, but by swinging its vote behind the Opposition it could undermine the government.
But there is a secondary concern. Let us assume that there are 100 voters in Swampscott Constituency. 30 of them are Conservatives, 30 are Labour and 30 are Liberal Democrats. The remaining are swing voters. They have no strong commitment to any of the three parties. If, however, they are angry at the Tories, they might vote elsewhere. So might diehard Tory voters. In that case, they will have effectively thrown the election to one of the other two parties.
(Yes, folks; an MP can gain less than 50% of the vote and still win.)
The Tories have noticed this. They’ve asked their voters not to vote UKIP because it will undermine the Tory Party. They are, in one sense, correct. In another, they’re being insulting to their voters. If the Tory Party is not doing what Tory Voters want it to do, why should they keep supporting the Party?
Well … perhaps it has something to do with the Tory Party not supporting them.
There is a problem with politicians that would be better suited to an ISP. They assume that once the deal is done, and someone is convinced to support their party, they will remain supporting their party. The politicians then go to the marginal voters and try their best to woo them, reducing their message accordingly. This annoys the voters who committed themselves … and they don’t remain committed.
This leads neatly to the problems plaguing the EU as a whole. Political elites have been growing more and more apart from their populations over the last 30 years. Decisions that actively harm local citizens – or even the EU as a whole – have been taken in the interests of ideology. “You can’t keep out the country of Plato,” the EU bureaucrats argued, conveniently failing to do due diligence before allowing Greece to join the Euro. The whole single currency was a politically-driven nightmare from the start, rather than any form of sober union between economies on a similar level.
Over Europe, the response is slowly taking shape. People are walking away from mainstream parties and throwing their vote to parties that promise to represent them better. And why not? Mainstream parties have lost touch with the ordinary voters, the ones who see the real problems facing the countries – and the complete failure of the politicians to tackle them.
And what are these problems? The infrastructure of Britain is decaying rapidly through lack of maintenance. Terrorists and their families are supported by the British taxpayer. Benefits are completely out of control. The tax system is completely fouled up. Red tape is strangling the life out of private enterprise. Schools are decaying. Criminals are released early or not jailed at all, even when it is clear they will reoffend. Massive cuts in our military when we’re involved in a war that has yet to be brought to an end. Police forces reduced or used to enforce bureaucratic dictates rather than common sense. These are very real problems that affect the lives of countless British citizens. And what are the politicians doing about it?
They mouth politically-correct platitudes and do nothing.
If I was in a position to give David Cameron some advice, this is what I’d tell him to pledge for the next election.
-Place term limits and recall elections on MPs. In particular, insist that MPs have to have lived in their constituency for at least 5 years before running for election.
-Decentralise decision-making as much as possible. Schools, for instance, would run better if their headmasters were allowed to make decisions for themselves. It would also be important to see which ideas worked better than those that didn’t. Hospitals, also, could be run by their managers, with very clear punishments for major problems.
-Give people a recourse against bureaucratic bullies. Bring back trial by jury for everyone, including local authority fines and suchlike.
-Defend British principles, including free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association.
-Crack down hard on illicit immigration, Islamic extremism and anti-democratic activities.
-An end to foreign aid. We have enough problems of our own here.
-Hold a vote on EU membership. Get the matter settled, one way or the other.
And stop the backbiting. It doesn’t help. People want politicians who say “here is the problem, this is what we are going to do to fix it.”
In truth, I’m not hopeful.