Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Why your vote on May 6th doesn't really matter
This article of mine appears in The First Post.
Neil Clark: There’s nothing between the parties when it comes to key policies.
It promises to be the most exciting contest for years - one where at least a dozen different outcomes are possible. But that's enough about Saturday's Grand National.
What about the General Election?
Over the next few weeks, we can expect to be bombarded by media pundits and politicians telling us how 'significant' the coming poll will be - why the election will be the 'most important' since the war and why we all need to get out and vote.
Don't believe a word of it. For the sad truth is that the vote on May 6 will be the most meaningless poll in modern British political history.
In a country which takes great pride in its 'democratic' credentials, and which sees its divine mission as spreading 'democracy' across the globe, the British voter will be presented with a choice of three main parties advocating almost identical policies on the most important issues of the day.
All three have promised major cuts in public spending if they gain power in the election. All embrace globalisation, Thatcherite neo-liberalism and free trade and are in favour of maintaining an open economy, where historic British companies such as Cadbury's can be easily taken over by foreign predators, with disastrous consequences for British jobs.
In foreign policy, all support continuation of Britain's costly involvement in the war in Afghanistan and the continuation of the transatlantic alliance. All take it as a given that Britain should play a prominent role in world affairs. All support Britain's membership of NATO and the EU.
What the public thinks doesn't come in to it. Around 70 per cent of voters would like to see Britain's fragmented and ludicrously expensive railways re-nationalised. Yet neither Labour, the Conservatives nor the Lib Dems advocate such a measure. (The latter did in 2005, but the policy has since been quietly dropped). Despite the obvious failings of privatisation, nationalisation is still the great 'no no' for Britain's political elite - except of course when it comes to using taxpayers' money to bail out failing banks.
On law and order, the parties are also out of step with the public. If Britain really were a properly functioning democracy, then we could at least expect one, or even two, of our three main parties to support the restoration of capital punishment for murder - a measure consistently supported by a majority of voters. But like the re-nationalisation of the railways, this an issue which is not even deemed worthy of discussion by the political elite.
You can read the rest of the article here.