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The Dude’s view of electoral reform.

Let me be clear. I have an idea of a more proportional system. And I am not going to share it with you because you don’t care any more about my radical scheme to ensure ‘fair votes’ than I do about your hair-brained scheme, such as the one in the comments to the last thread about paying MPs according to Majority.

I can be persuaded as to the merits of some form of PR, but only if there is a lot in it for the party I support, which is why I want the Conservatives to do it (anyone who thinks they don’t think this way is probably lying to themselves). However I remain a supporter of our Current first past the post system which is not, as everyone seems to believe, broken. Does anyone think a Hung parliament with the Tories as the Largest party does not reflect roughly the will of the electorate? Ergo it ain’t broken, so don’t fix it.

One of the things the electorate like about are system is the fact that you vote on Thursday and by friday morning the moving vans are in Downing street. By Lunchtime, the new executive head has banged his tabs in to Brenda and we have a new Government. The immediacy of this process is rare in democracies around the world. This time, people are bewildered that Gordon Brown, the man who Lost the election IS STILL THERE. If they can be persuaded that the undignified horse-trading by politicians after the election is THE KEY FEATURE of proportional systems, then perhaps I will admit that perhaps I was too hasty to surrended to the PR bandwagon.

I will say it again. Democracy is NOT an exercise in accurate tribal head-counting, but an opportunity to chuck the rotters out. Under some forms of PR, the political elite can never be kicked out be the electorate under almost any circumstances, because they get to the top of the list. Even a safe seat can be lost if the electorate are pissed off enough like Tatton in 1997.

Anyway… PR is a side show next to the fucking apalling mess the country’s in thanks to 13 years of disgusting incompetence and malice by the Labour party. I will examine the proposals which are put before us, and if there is to be a change there had better be a referendum. Whilst we can all think of perfect systems, I’m not interested. Suffice to say AV+ is supported by Brown, and is Therefore wrong (Q.E.D.), and STV is an abomination unto God and smells of poo, so I like neither of the systems on offer. The relative merits of various flavours of PR, like internal politics
of the Labour party are things that interest me not a jot.

The Electorate have spoken, Damn Them!

Despite polling stations reporting queues at 10pm, with hundreds of voters too stupid or disorganised to vote earlier were denied access to the polls. The Liberal democrat polling surge turned out to be a surge in responses amongst the 39% of the electorate who think a General Election is an episode of X Factor and can’t be bothered to find out where their polling station is. My greatest dissapointment of the result was the pathetic turnout, for which the British People should be ashamed. We do not deserve to live in a democracy.

Generally the message is “they’re all as bad as each other, innit”, and as a result, not voting is seen as in a typically nihilistic and cynical British way, as the correct option. The truth is that we, the lazy, spoon-fed and ignorant electorate have the Government we deserve. 20 years of Labour lies have left the electorate immune to savage assaults on their civil liberties and willfully ignorant of the real differences between the parties. The Lib-Dems and the Tories share a commitment to civil liberties that goes beyond the labour approach of treating everyone equally as a criminal/terrorist/potential paedophile, whilst using group “rights” as a crowbar in their policy of divide and conquer. Both reasonable parties deplore 42-day detention, ID cards, databases and the creation of the British Democratic Republic of omnipresent CCTV and surveillance by council prod-noses and state-sponsored informants. They are not “all as bad as each other” and I will violently assault the next person to make that assertion for it is merely Labour’s most pernicious and corrupting lie.

For if the Low turnouts of the past few years can be blamed on anything it is this childish attitude. It stems from the New Labour approach in the 1990s to turn a few back-benchers’ misdemeanours (for next to the appalling corruption at the heart of Labour, shagging one’s secretary in a Chelsea shirt, or ‘cash for questions’ has an almost comic innocence) into a belief that the entire Conservative Government was corrupt: the lie that started the rot. Rather than excoriating the stupid, corrupt individuals, the reputation of the Tory party and the entire political system was dragged through the mud for Labour’s base party political ends. Then the Labour party started to Govern. Cash for policies – the ecclestone affair, purchase of honours, the abuse of the immigration system to import Labour voters to “rub the right’s nose in it”, the lies, the incompetence, the constitutional vandalism, the fiscal diarrhoea and the slovenly abuse doled out to political opponents both outside and within the party finally destroyed the reputation of the Labour party too. Of course the dashed hopes of 1997 made this a more painful betrayal for the electorate.

Of course, whilst the Labour party destroyed the country, the smearathon on the motives of the Tory party continued to be effective.

They may have been politically successful, but the failure of the New Labour machine to govern effectively was total. Despite the biggest rise in peace-time taxation in history which occurred during one of its longest booms, Labour was running a massive budget deficit even BEFORE the crash of 2008. The achievements with all this money boils down to reduced productivity, overmanning and public sector waste. Of course there have been improvements, it would be hard to spend that much money (that we don’t have) and there not be, but the gains are not commensurate with the cost.

It is no wonder the people have turned off politics.

Which meant that when the Tories unveiled the most optimistic, decentralising, yes… Libertarian manifesto (I am ignoring the Daily Hail-courting ‘National Service’ plans as a silly dog-whistle) I could have hoped for from a mainstream political party, no-one was listening. Because the Labour party had managed to frame the debate around £6bn of “cuts” as a result of not raising tax which is, apparently, “taking money out of the economy”. This is economic double-think, and the only reason I can think of that it is taken seriously is that the party spouting this nonsense is ACTUALLY IN GOVERNMENT. Had they been talking this piffle from opposition, they would have been rightly derided: just another advantage of incumbency abused by Labour.

Finally, the the fear-mongering amongst public-sector workers, who thanks to Gordon Brown’s decade of fiscal incontinence now make up 50% of the electorate, that the Tories would fire them instantly they won, meant that Labour managed to secure a face-saving and totally undeserved rear-guard defence of seats.

This profoundly negative campaign contrasted with the rather optimistic and naive campaign of the Tories who assumed that the people would take radical policies in Education, taxation, benefits, policing and the Constitution as CHANGE. Cameron relentlessly focused on his policies,though you wouldn’t have guessed from the coverage, which focused entirely on personality. They didn’t believe in Cameron as an agent of “change” because they’ve been looking at Cameron for 4 years, which is a long time in X-factor Britain. And, of course because, so the other Labour lie goes, no-one who went to Eton can be trusted to run a Bath because they’re evil. Talking about policies is “boring, and they’re all the same, and nothing changes, innit”. The lesson: in New Labour’s Britain, only viciously negative campaigning works. Never, ever mention policy.

Because the Tories, who are “just as bad as Labour, innit”, cannot represent “change” another Young public schoolboy of whom the electorate were only dimly aware popped up halfway through the campaign. Nick Clegg did well in the debates and has an interesting set of Policies. The media had decided that Vince Cable, instead of being a self-righteous superannuated socialist, proposing more of the same failed “tax the rich” nonsense, was in-fact something of a Guru. Now they could paint Nick Clegg as “Change” too even though on the manifesto, his offering looked more like “the same old politics” than the Tories’. Under the lib-dems Westminster would become a regional assembly in the EUSSR. He even disagreed with the electorate on the only policy they seem to care about: Immigration.

Never let the facts get in the way of a Media Narrative.

Despite their x-factorisation of politics, the truth is the election debates are the only good thing about this whole sorry campaign. At least they caused the electorate to sit up and take notice to the extent they’d indicate to the pollsters that they’d been paying attention. However the end result was an election in which the people have demonstrated that by Apathy they can be persuaded to accept the hellish Benthamite Panopticon that New Labour’s Britain has become, and that If you repeat a lie often enough, the people will accept it. They may tell the Pollsters that they’re going to vote for someone, but in reality they can’t be arsed because “they’re all the same, innit”. The lie factory that is all that remains of New Labour has destroyed British democracy to such an extent that even in the midst of a fiscal crisis caused by reckless Government spending for more than a decade, one and a half hot wars and the most unpopular Government since records began, little over half the electorate can be bothered to vote, because they’ve been persuaded to blame the present crisis on “the banks”, and can’t be bothered to remember the rest.

So what happens now? Parties will have to work together. Cameron will be PM with Lib-Dem help. Despite my support for First Past the Post, some form of electoral reform is now inevitable, if not now, then as soon as the Left next get their hands on the tiller. I would rather the Tories make something lasting, in tune with what is left of the British constitution. So I hope the Tories get into bed with the Liberal Democrats even at the price of some form of PR, in return for their support in getting a Conservative budget and Queen’s speech through and undo some of the Savage assault on civil liberties. I am sure I could be persuaded by multi-member constituencies, so long as they were small enough, and individuals rather than parties remain what you vote for. Counties and equivalent seem the obvious choice for constituencies.

As I write this from a sunny bar in Cyprus, I understand negotiations are ongoing between the Tories and the Lib-dems. Labour cannot be allowed back into Government. That means the Liberal democrats may just get their greatest wish. A Very British Dude reluctantly concedes electoral reform as inevitable, in order that the Tories can start to undo the damage of 13 years of New Labour’s national scat-party. A small price to repay for National renewal.

The Tories must seize the opportunity to mitigate the lunacy of some of the PR proposals as the price of shutting the Labour party out of power for a very, very long time. Conceding defeat to a silly proposal because the electorate however nihilistic and ill-informed have been persuaded of its necessity is a price of Democracy. Electoral defeat is not what Brown and Co. deserve; New Labour deserve to be hanged for treason, not let off with pensions. However forgoing bloodthirsty revenge is another price of democracy.

The people have spoken’ damn them.

Oh. And for the record, I’m in the 39%, because of an almighty fuck-up by my proxy who might get forgiven, if they’re really, really nice to me. This is the first election, local or national since 1997 in which I have failed to vote.