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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.


olching said...

Yes, they are all neoliberal managers arguing over details. There are still tangible differences in the effects each party will have on society, but in essence they all agree.

Anonymous said...

Will a major party ever want to bring back Capital Punishment?

Chris H said...

You couldn't get a fag paper between the major parties in this election. It's why the media has to concentrate on the 'characters' - that's all the difference there is.

So any tips for Saturday?

Mr. Piccolo said...

All too true, unfortunately, much like the situation in the United States as well. Sometimes I think the post-war consensus era was a kind of fluke, the product of a "perfect storm" of a variety of factors. Perhaps it is time for the economic Left to move beyond electoral politics and towards some other form of action. Perhaps supporting worker cooperatives should be the new primary goal of the economic Left?

There are already some working models on the ground, for example the Mondragon Corporation in the Basque Country of Spain and the Region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy, where there are many successful cooperatives, both Socialist and Catholic. Today, the differences between the Socialist "Red" and Catholic "White" cooperatives are decreasing and now the two philosophical traditions are starting to collaborate with each other more. Good news in my opinion.

jack said...

It's ironic that the best country over the last decade that is at the forefront of developing its economy investing in large scale infrastructure projects with high speed bullet train transit system and creating new industry buying up car manufacturing companies here in Britain and trade agreements abroad to secure energy deals and even develop its own space program is Communist China or perhaps it should be socialist/nationalist China.

Which explains all the efforts to destabilise China over the years supporting separatism and terrorism in Tibet and Xinjing province, the CIA affiliated company Google affair, selling arms to Taiwan and continuing allegation of currency warfare.

“Al-Qaeda” in Afghanistan threatens jihad against China for “oppression of Muslims in Xinjing”.

"That Al Qaeda still invokes attention of the globe in its pronouncements of Jehad is corroborated with its call for a new front of Jehad against China. Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan national and a top ranking leader of the radical organization, in Arabic broadcast on 8 October 2009 called for Jehad against China’s “oppression and injustice.” The Al Qaeda leader accused China of suppressing the right of minority Uighurs in its Xinjiang province. Expectedly, the Chinese reaction was sharp and confident that with the international cooperation it is capable enough to tackle the terror menace in its far western province. The recent Al Qaeda call for Jehad in fact reflects a deeper malaise that afflicts multiethnic and pluralistic societies in the world."

I am amazed no one question this Al Qaeda narrative seriously who just so happen to fight Washington’s geo-political rivals in strategic areas of oil and gas.

DBC Reed said...

You are forgetting the other strand of our One Party State: Homeownerism, the all-party agreeement to make sure that house price inflation stays completely out of control,leaving the younger generation priced out of a place to live and ,if able to afford a mortgage,short of the ready that might support entrepreneurs and those who provide goods and services.Not incidentally this brainless policy precipitated a near total collapse of the world economy,from which the recovery is planned to come via hitting the propertyless really hard,when it would be right and proper to tax those who are doing well out of the revived property bubble,(which even John Redwood is worried about ).

R. J. Stove said...

I particularly liked your first paragraph, Mr Clark. (Of course I enjoyed the rest of the article too.)

One of the least frequently reported reasons that non-affluent Australian voters ("the limited-success class", as the late American sociologist Vance Packard called such people) junked the Liberals' John Howard in 2007 - eleven years later than they should have done, given that he stole their guns in 1996 - was that he dropped the ball on capital punishment. Despite the fact that his own wife supported the reinstatement of hanging, and despite the additional fact that Australia is in every way a more violent and horrible society than it was in 1967 (the year of the last Australian execution), Howard was ultimately too gutless to put the death penalty on the agenda. During his retirement he will have every opportunity to curse his own cowardice in this field, as in so many other fields.

The first leader of a major Australian party who does promise to bring the gallows back (it was abolished in 1985), and who conveys the impression of sincerity in doing so, will be Prime Minister. Every opinion poll has shown that voters across the political spectrum (including a lot of old-fashioned Labor Party sympathisers) support capital punishment, especially for those whose victims are children. And still our masters do nothing.

neil craig said...

I agree with you about all 3 parties being the same organisation but on differnt policies.

They all promise that public spending should be cut, very slightly, from the current 53% of GNP. However none of them will give a figure of what or how it should be & I doubt if there would be 5% between them if they did & none of them, as you point out with rail, want any part of that 53% to be actually productive.

They all support war crimes, genocide & the dissection of living untermensch to provide western hospitals with body organs. Inded the only party to have said there is something wrong with such meta-Nazi atrocities is the BNP.

They all promised us a referendum on EU membership in the most solemn way they could (manifesto promises for the Lab/Libs & a "cast iron" one for the Tories.

They all, under no pressure, cynically & deliberately broke their promise proving that there are no circumstances whatsoevr under which any promise made by any of these corrupt thieving parasites can be treated as being, in the remotest degree, honest.

None of them intend to aim at achieving world average growth of 5% indeed all of them will go to any lengths not to even mention that figure.

All of them want to massively increase electricity costs, despite the fact they can be quatered, as in France. Indeed none of them care even slightly about the fact that we are facing blackouts because they won't let the power companies produce more.

All of them are using the catastrophic warming lie to keep us obedient.

All of them are committed to fascism through the eco route.

They have a virtual monopoly of media coverage, particularly of the state funded media like the BBC & Guardian.

They are all, at best, sympathetic to Labour's policy of massive 3rd world immigration for "social reasons" & openly in favour of unlimited immigration from the EU

Despite their complete exclusion the polls show that 8% of people will vote for unofficial parties - thousands of times more than Kasparov got in Russia (in an uncorrupted electoral system) who, if the BBC was to be trusted, was treated unfairly in the Russian election.

Douglas said...

I know you and Melanie Phillips disagree on most things. She's been going on of late about how Mr. Cameron is modeling our President Obama (without the snubbing the UK at every opportunity, of course). A message of hope and change with no details, a vague, feel-good centrism.

Some have referred to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as "Barack Obama 1.0" or "the protObama." (I made up that one.) The only reason Governor Patrick has any chance of being reelected in November, is because the opposition is divided among multiple candidates.

President Obama took office in 2009 on a wave of good will which he has squandered over the past 15 months. I believe that in November, the American people will take out their frustrations with President Obama on their Democratic Senators and Representatives.

I'm saying all this to say that if there's even a hint of a wisp of a scintilla of truth to the idea that Mr. Cameron is modeling President Obama, I would beg him to stop, saying "Put down the Hope and Change, and slowly back away!"

jack said...

I wouldn’t vote for any of these parties due to there foreign policy especially in regards to the Balkans and Russia where they are as militant as each other. At least with Saddam you could rational that

They could save billions by investigating and shutting down these off shore tax havens and companies registered as British companies some of which also includes drug trafficking money like the former BCCI bank involved in drug smuggling in the Balkans closed shortly after 9/11 when investors suddenly pulled out.

I would have to disagree with you Neil on your tax the rich idea as a flat rate tax system has proven effective in the Baltic state’s and Russia.

You will probably make a post about this in the future but another coloured revolution comes to an end.

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