“Mike Thornton’s vote of 13,342 votes compares with Chris Huhne’s 24,966 in 2010, yet Thornton talks of a Lib-Dem “mandate”, having dragged in a pitiful 32 percent of the votes cast, and 17 percent of the electorate of 78,313. UKIP’s great victory amounts to 28 percent of the votes cast, or 14.8 percent of the electorate.This is a victory of sorts – bald men fighting over a comb, squabbling over a diminishing quantum, where an MP goes to parliament with a “mandate” of 17 percent of the electorate. It never was democracy. Now, it isn’t even representative.”
Richard North, EUReferendum
“It never was democracy. Now, it isn’t even representative” – two sentences that illustrate the heart of the problem with our system of democracy and that of politics.
Following any election, be it a by-election or a general election, there is always a post-mortem about winners and losers; yet when considering the present systems of democracy and politics the only losers are the electorate. Witness the talk about the fact that votes cast for Ukip were a protest vote, that the electorate felt it would make no difference – this begs the question whether, under our present systems, does any vote make a difference? I pose that question because we were told that as Eastleigh was a by-election people were voting on local issues – at which point two questions immediately arise: (a) are not local authorities supposed to deal with local issues, is that not why councillors are elected?; and (b) even if an MP is elected with a mandate to promote local issues in his/her constituency, how can he/she do that within an environment in which voting is “controlled” by party whips operating at the behest of one man or one woman? On the Daily Politics today a clip was shown of Nick Clegg claiming the result was a “stunning victory”. With 48% of the electorate not even bothering to vote, with his party’s support falling by 14%, with his party only managing the support of 17% of the total electorate in Eastleigh, Clegg can hail a “stunning victory”? Just what planet is Clegg on? Come to that, just what planet is any politician on? Regrettably it becomes obvious that the people too are on the same planet because do they not swallow such words of inexactitude, while nodding sagely?
An article has appeared on the Mirror website by FleetStreetFox, a somewhat feisty lady it would seem. This is an article which is well worth reading in that it expresses what I would hazard a guess is the opinion of the majority of the electorate. Unfortunately FleetStreetFox illustrates all that is presently wrong while compounding the fault that all political commentators make of not following through their trains of thought – even when, in her case, she actually uses two words that should have prompted said act of “following through”:
“There is one hope for British politics though, and it’s the fact that people actually do still care. We don’t all vote but we do still complain, we have opinions and we want it to be better.If someone came along who could inspire support, who showed some character, we’d be in the voting booth quicker than you could say ‘new politics please, we’re British’.”
Knowing that “something” is wrong – and at such a stage realizing that “something” either needs changing or replacing – FSF then proceeds wishing to continue with it, “New politics please, we’re British” is indeed an ethos that needs promoting.
Forgive me for repetition, but to whom does this country “belong” – 60+million people, or 3 wannabe dictators and a further 647 “wannabes in waiting”? It is indeed ironic that representative democracy has resulted in the British people occupying the same status in society against which Wilberforce campaigned. Nicholas Farrell, writing in the Spectator, quotes Mussolini stating that political parties are the problem, not the solution. Indeed, why should people – and why do they allow themselves to - be tied down by the straitjackets of dogmas and doctrines. The reason that any political party does not provide solutions that people want is purely because they have managed to exist on their terms, ie they have remained unconstrained.
Following Eastleigh, Helen, Your Freedom and Ours, poses the question: “So where are we?”; to which the answer is and will always remain: up the same creek that we have been for decades – until, of course, we finally decide to make some new paddles and, having made them, decide to put them to good use.