13 February 2007

It is the 'Tory-like' policies of this Labour government that is causing it problems.

More casinos, longer jail sentences, sucking up to big business and President Bush, getting into reckless imperial wars, ignoring badly needed constitutional and electoral reform, being 'relaxed about the filthy rich' and disappointing on environmental policy.

Yet none of these right-wing failings of this Labour government is going to be solved by a Tory Government which is even more right wing. The Tories are more 'gung ho' about Bush and the Republicans, more pro-war, more pro-jail, pro-big business, more anti-reform of the constitution and electoral system, even more 'relaxed about the filthy rich' (lauding 'flatter taxes') and described by Friends of the Earth as the 'most environmentally unfriendly party in the EU'. You cannot be 'for' the environment and also be in favour of a massive expansion in roadbuilding like Cameron is. Cameron is a fraud.

The opinion polls show that although Labour has lost support, there is no enthusiasm for the Tories either (despite the best efforts of the Tory press). Yet under this system that is the only choice we have (the Tories won most of their gains at the last election because of the increased split in left of centre votes, not because of a big increase in the Tory vote).

What we have under this electoral system is a political monopoly and this is leading to corruption. Both main parties have been corrupted by the longevity of complete power provided by this system on a minority of the vote. This corruption is even more on show in local government where a minority of the vote can give you absolute power for 50 years or even longer.

Over the years, the Labour leadership have been content with a much smaller share of power than the Tories under this unfair system (and the Labour membership have had to put up with a more right wing Labour leadership than we should have). It is time we woke up. The public are to the left of Labour. Under PR we could have a truly representative Labour party listening to its membership and doing more for the disadvantaged in society. No one party would dominate and like Germany and Scandanavia we could have more equality, more political engagement, better environmental policies, better funded public services and more sensible policies on crime. Not only that, we could be more electorally successful.

What short memories we in the Labour Party have and how we all will pay if the Tories make sweeping gains in May and gain Westminster in 2009/10 on a minority of the vote. Tax cuts will mean cuts in public services. No party can magic away this basic fact no matter how pretty their rhetoric.

As I have written before there are only a couple of thousand 'politicos' running this country (as little as fifty people could be deciding policy for a council). These are also the people who have a limited say on what this government does. Democracy in the Labour party may not be what it should be, but for all those millions of people out there who moan about this government, it is the most effective way of having an influence. Remember it would take just 50 to a 100 of these people in a constituency, that are not happy with the ruling Labour party to join it and they could change it. The Lib Dems and Greens could have the most democratic constitutions in the world but as irrelevant parties with no power it means nothing. And we all know the Tories are Napoleonic, their members have never had a say and that is how they like it, so there is no point joining them.

The Labour party is the only party worth fighting for, the only party worth voting for and the one party we should all join. Together we can achieve more and change the electoral system back in favour of the majority of people who are left of centre. If this doesn't persuade you, remember if you join Labour now, you also get to vote for the next PM.

With the Tories proposals at the last election about boundary enlargements and changes, it is clear they would rig the electoral system back in their favour and keep the left of centre majority of voters out of power for another generation and we will only have ourselves to blame.

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