I was greatly amused earlier when I saw this website, advertising the Labservative Party. Of course, unfortunately the Labservatives aren’t a real party (aww), they are a spoof party serving to highlight a worrying trend that this blog also highlighted a few weeks back (here), that of the see-saw nature of British Politics. Labservative is one of my favorite phrases to describe the beast that is our current political system and, in my humble opinion, it encapsulates it perfectly. Fact is, since the Second World War the same 2 parties have held a monopoly on British Politics and even when, as in 1997, one of them promises seismic shifts, as we’ve seen on Labour’s failures on a fair voting system, neither party has any real incentive to change that.
The voting system is often stated as being pre-disposed to a bipolar political system, however, take into account the nature of British Politics and you’ll soon see that it isn’t truly bi-polar. On a national level alone, the Liberal Democrats pick up more than 20% of the vote (Westminster) and of course, parties like UKIP, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens all make an electoral impact. Where it does become bi-polar is not in support for parties, but instead in the number of seats and it is here that FPTP favours bi-polarism.
The sad fact of that is however, that this bi-polarism leads to a very adversarial style of politics which is not beneficial for the democracy of the United Kingdom. Yes it may breed a majority that enables a government to enforce its mandate, but is that really the best idea? It does effectively mean that a parties mandate is only tested once, by the voters and it is rare that in the last 65 years either party has one more than 50% of the vote, or as you may notice an absolute majority approval of their manifesto. Indeed, it is conceivable that a government could come to power with a majority and a manifesto that more than 2/3rds of the country disagree with, yet they would be able to pass it, with impunity against the wishes of the people. That is not democracy, that’s a dictatorship by consent.
But of course, we all know that the voting system is crap, so I’ll leave that there and give you a chance to finish with a laugh: please enjoy these posters, I know I did!
And of course, a reminder of the classic John Cleese video which touches on many of the same issues as the Labservative campaign highlights:
And last, but certainly not least, if you’re sick of the Labservatives always getting in, then vote Lib Dem. Every vote counts and of course, we can only win if people vote for us, hence not voting for us because you don’t think we can win, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think about that.
- Greg Foster