The Voter is Always Right

24 May

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?

Nothing.

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.

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20 Responses to “The Voter is Always Right”

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard May 24, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    Maybe Britain needs Sir Charles Hanover. [Wink]

  2. salgak May 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    Yep, MUST be racism. Because when you’ve run out of real arguments, the Race Card ALWAYS works.

    Just remember: The Race Card: Don’t Leave Parliament Without It. . . .

    • chrishanger May 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      Exactly. These days, being called a racist is a badge of honour. Chris Date: Sat, 24 May 2014 21:16:43 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • R Godfrey June 23, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

        It is pretty clear that their ARE some racists in UKIP and indeed in the Tory party (and probably in Labour), that doesn’t make them a racist party, however, I think UKIP are wrong, a reformed EU with more power to the elected MEPs is the way forward (and part of the reason I read your essays is to get an opposite view, to see if I can be convinced otherwise), that a UK outside the EU would become hellish fast, with worker rights being forced back to the Victorian era, a small elite running away with even more of the national purse than they do now., the NHS being sold off, and like every single industry we have privatised becoming more expensive for worse results, the same happening with the BBC and the thuggery of the police against dissent increasing.

        On the ‘Muslim Extremism’ front….it isn’t just Muslims, look at the Christian creationists getting schools setup that hate democracy and science with equal passion to any wahhabi (different methods, equal hatred), actually look at the numbers on what benefits spending is on, the vast, overwhelming majority goes to two things: pensions and in work benefits, in work benefits needed because businesses will not or cannot pay a living wage, and ask why, when multinationals rake in billions in profits and dodge taxes on earnings in the UK via what are flat out scams, we are paying to allow their staff to survive

      • chrishanger June 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

        To be honest, a lot would depend on just what choices were actually made inside the UK.

        The main problem with the EU is two-fold. One, as a semi-government, it is largely detached from the people it is suppose to rule (or at least the people whose lives it influences). Two, it is a political project and makes decisions (like allowing Greece to join) through political reasoning that bears little resemblance to facts on the ground. (Greece simply didn’t meet even basic requirements, let alone anything to prevent it turning into a black hole.) In short, it is attempting to impose a uniformity on nations and populations that are far from uniform.

        To add to this, it is a thrall of political correctness. On the face of it, the Human Rights legislation is a great idea. But it causes problems on the streets; criminals, illegal’s, etc cannot be deported, or simply kept locked up permanently. In short, we should be looking for more devolution, not less.

        I’ll probably turn this into a blog post at some point, if anyone is interested.

        Chris

        Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 15:10:28 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • R Godfrey June 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

        Human rights legislation is a flat out good idea, if you discard it when it becomes inconvenient, you completely obliterate it’s value, as the next group that are attacked might contain you. I do not trust conservatives to not impose a totalitarian state with their brand of hyper nationalism and forced ‘morality.’ Morality taken from a book that makes paedophilia and genocide a requirement of the faith (Seriously, any non-believer must be killed, any believer who has had peaceful contact, or lives in the same city as a non-believer must be killed, except prepubescent girls who the killers can force into marriage, that is biblical law.)

        Are their downsides, yes any truly principled action or behaviour has a cost, that is part of what makes doing what is right HARD.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

        I’m an American, a Christian and a politically conservative. Your comments are part of the reason that I don’t trust the Lefties/Liberals.

        The Left has used has used “human rights legislation” as a club against anybody who doesn’t mouth their nonsense.

        For that matter, the same laws that are used against criticism of Islam could be used (for better reasons) against your nonsense about Christians.

      • R Godfrey June 24, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

        Do you want the passages that tell you to murder any one of the faith that talks to an outsider? Or calls for unending genocide? Or the sale of rape victims to the rapist?

        No faith should get a pass. all should be open to merciless criticism, as should all other political ideologies. Inciting violence, however, against followers of any ideology is out, when you do that, it is hate speech, whether you are a mullah, a rabbi, a ‘druid’ or a Christian preacher, you have no right to impose your faith on others through violence (or at all for preference.)

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

        Out of respect to Chris, I will not be responding to your bigotry any further.

      • R Godfrey June 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

        Fair enough.

      • chrishanger June 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

        The problem is that the ideals of Human Rights have been, at best, poorly applied and used by criminals as an attempt to escape justice or deportation. Worse, the criminals are able to take their cases to EU courts that are not responsible to British lawmakers, giving them further chances to escape justice. Frankly, I see no reason why we should tolerate someone who enters Britain without permission and (to add injury to insult) commits criminal acts.

        I quite understand people wanting to escape countries like Iran. That doesn’t constitute an excuse for criminal behaviour in the UK, nor do their issues with their home countries serve as a reason to keep them in the UK after they misbehave here.

        Basically, it’s legalistic hair-splitting. I believe in keeping things relatively simple.

        For example, I believe that people have a right to walk the streets unmolested. I’m not going to lose sleep if a rapist is locked up for 10 years (hah), is served gruel, denied a vote and put to work on a chain gang. If someone is stupid enough to serve himself up as a meal for cannibals because he thinks his religion demands it, that’s his problem. If someone wants to shove an unwilling victim onto the dinner plate, they have to be stopped. The rights of the victims are more important than the rights of the victimisers.

        But this leads to another problem. Consider freedom of speech? How does it square up against the (non-existent) right to remain un-offended? Who is victim and victimiser then?

        What we need, I think, are relatively simple laws that can be interpreted through common sense. We probably also need fewer lawyers.

        Chris

        Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 14:26:37 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard June 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

        Amen. I find R Godfrey’s post offensive but I’ll be d*mned before I’d support (even by silence) the suppression of his right to speak out.

        Unfortunately, that seems to be the difference between the modern liberal and the modern conservative.

        The modern liberal appears to have no problem with “suppressing” speech.

        They just label speech they don’t like as “hate speech” and of course it’s OK to suppress hate speech.

        The modern conservative is IMO smart enough to know that suppressing speech we dislike makes it “OK” to suppress our speech.

      • R Godfrey June 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

        on freedom of speech: Depends what is being said, and what it is intended to cause, causing offence is fine, inciting violence and discrimination is not, saying you believe homosexuality is wrong? Fine, calling for all homosexuals to be forced through a discredited process to ‘cure them; or for violence is not, you can replace homosexuals in this groups with anything between consenting adults. Calling a group sub-human because of skin colour, or sexual orientation, between consenting adults is out, they are as human as you and deserve the same respect as you, the same rights as you, Faith is another matter entirely, as that is a choice. Hell I don’t care about your faith, but do not make laws based on bronze age scrolls that force me to live by your code (a code you noticeably don’t live by if you wear clothes of mixed cloth, don’t execute children for talking back, or kill adults for eating shellfish)

  3. Tim May 25, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    You shouldn’t be hopeful, Chris. The major parties exist to acquire and keep power for themselves (the political class), so that they can keep their financial backers (the monied class) in power as well. This is the way it works — regardless of how many parties one’s political system has. I suppose the only real way to break this system would be to find some way to destroy the ability of the Centralized Banks to keep various States beholden to them via debt (as well as keeping the rest of the civilized world beholden to them via debt). An entirely debt-driven world financial system keeps the real “power” in the hands of a truly few number of people.

  4. Shane May 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    Another great essay Chris. I too am not holding my breath. The mystical “Swing Voter” is a tool used by Progressives here in the US to water down messages. The argument they use is that with only two parties; those “undecided” in the “Key to Victory”. This would be true if voter turn out was above 85-90%. With a voter turnout rate in the 50-60% range the road to victory is motivation.

    Take your Swampscott Constituency example; You have 100 voters evenly split, 30 Conservative, 30 Labour, 30 LD and 10 who don’t care enough to commit or are too pissed off by their party leaders to admit which way they really lean (“Swing”). If they all voted then those ten uncommitted would really matter. Since UK turnout averages 60% or less, as in the US this isn’t really the case. If the Conservative is a flake (50% turnout) and the Labour candidate is sound but boring (60% turnout) but the LD candidate is firebrand that motivates his constituents with a clear message (80% turnout) the uncommitted just don’t matter any more. The vote becomes Conservative 15, Labour 18, LD 24 and the 4 or 5 votes from the under motivated “Swing voters” don’t change anything (especially since statistically at least one of them would vote LD).

    The simple truth (and this was demonstrated by Regan in 1980, 1984 and again by Obama in 2008) is that if you motivate your base enough to show up, you win BIG. Unfortunatley; it seems that the voters are the only ones who realize this….

    • chrishanger May 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

      That’s the core of the problem . I hate politics. Chris Date: Sun, 25 May 2014 17:28:41 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

      • Joel May 26, 2014 at 3:01 am #

        Politics makes me think of the Les Mis song… There is a Castle on the Cloud.

        Because that is where you will find politicians.

        The simple reality is that politicians are disconnected and/or just don’t want to make the hard decisions. Because you cannot please everybody, and doing the right thing usually pissed off near everybody.

        Since their goal is to stay in power as long as possible as well as not offend their “friends” they usually end up doing nothing really important.

        This might be a controversial thing to say and I know tons of people hate them. But Britain, USA and any country doing badly needs another Margaret Thatcher or Lee Kuan Yew type person. Both are extremely hated by some, dislike by many and begrudgingly acknowledged by others.

        But it is their heck care, destroy the opposition, do it my way or out and I know best because I am the best attitude that force change mostly for the better for the whole of their country, mostly because their pride will not allow for anything less.

        Sadly the world now needs more of these type of people, at the current moment.

      • chrishanger May 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

        I agree. Thatcher is just who we need ATM. Chris Date: Mon, 26 May 2014 02:01:24 +0000 To: christopher_g_nuttall@hotmail.com

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