22 August 2009

Prepare For The Tories

In a series of posts, Brighton Politics Blog is optimistically plying the anti-Tory tactical vote option to try and prevent the Tories taking power in 2010 - but he has one clear problem - he is asking people to vote Labour and the current awfulness of the Labour party makes that too much to ask for a lot of people.

The problem with tactical voting is that the party you are preferring over something worse (a inevitable situation with a system that allows no effective choice but Labour and Tory government) will never get the message about how unhappy you are with them until you vote elsewhere.

If it wasn't for those brave souls on the left risking a Tory MP by voting with their conscience we never would have anything other than Labour and Tory MPs and no chance of electing a Green in Brighton Pavilion.

I live in Hove - a 'super marginal' but no-one in the current anti-Labour climate could realistically expect Labour's Celia Barlow to hold on here with just a 500 vote majority. So which is the more wasted vote? Voting Labour in a forlorn attempt to stop the Tories or voting Green and building their base for a better chance of being in second place to challenge the Tory MP in 4 years?

BPB wants us to vote Labour in Hove and Brighton Kemptown, but both of these seats are already lost to the Tories. There is not a hope in hell that the awful Simon Burgess, who couldn't even hold his own council seat, can hold on with a 2,500 majority. A mass exodus of Labour voters to the Greens however could see them move into second place and be a real progressive challenger in 2014/15.

In Brighton Pavilion, a Green vote is the best way to stop the Tories, but this is only because a number of Labour voters switched to the Greens in 2005 despite risking a Tory MP.

The problem is the electoral system - we face another generation of Tory government - not because they are popular, but just because they are less unpopular than a despised Labour government.

People's memories are short - they cannot remember just how bad the Tory years were, or maybe they are not old enough to remember. But in 13 years the Tory brand is not as toxic as it once was, and Labour's has been destroyed by the stalinist leadership of the party denying ordinary members a say in the direction of policy.

The slow process of removing the duopoly of Labour and Tory from perpetual power is going to be very painful under this electoral system. It will involve maybe 60% of voters who want to see a left-of-centre government facing another decade or more of hard-right Tory rule.

If Labour is not going to offer electoral reform this time when it gave a categorical guarantee in its manifesto, then when will it ever?

Of course another left-of-centre party - be it the Greens or whoever will fall to the charlatans and sabateurs that have plenty of time to inviltrate any party that looks like achieving power and turning their policies into mush.

To win power under this system you need to appeal to the large section of the electorate that is politically ignorant, you need to have vague policies that 'all things to all people' and any party that has honest internal debate (like the Greens still do) will come a cropper under that system. Appointing a leader instead of dual speakers was a small step, but one which destroyed a key principle of being absolute in expressing equality over hierachy and was done in a search for the mass vote. Expect more key principles of the Greens to be dropped as their vote increases.

Only parties that suppress their internal democracy and present a vague superficial image and few real policies have a chance of winnning under this electoral farce of a system.

Look at the Tories, does anybody know what they are going to do after the election? They have not ruled out tax rises or public service cuts - but are totally vague about where, when and how these will be implemented. Ask any Tory voter for a clear policy of the Tories and most could not offer one.

And people have the wherewithall to say that PR does not let people vote for the government policies they want because two or more parties have to join a coalition.

At least under PR people can vote for the policies they want and their parties policies are more likely to be outlined in detail - the negotiation is open not decided amongst a few Tories or Labour leaders and their secret funders. Rather than a system where you have to vote for a party that won't tell you anything in detail until it is elected, PR gives you a real say over which detail of policy you would like to see argued for. Not perfect, but much better than the blind choice of two corrupt parties we have now.


  1. I share you condemnation of the present tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum system, and remember when labour abandoned its commitment to a referendum on PR, which I believed at the time would condemn us to a tory return to power, which now seems close at hand. Unfortunately, I'm not sure any of us have time to plan for 2014/15, at the rate that the world government is growing. What with the consolidating power of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, OECD and all the other globalist institutions, democracy, never a reality in this monarch-ruled nation, may well have ceased even to be an aspiration.

  2. TT: What are you suggesting as an alternative? Violent revolution? I don't think that gets us anywhere either!

  3. "People's memories are short - they cannot remember just how bad the Tory years were, or maybe they are not old enough to remember. But in 13 years the Tory brand is not as toxic as it once was, and Labour's has been destroyed by the stalinist leadership of the party denying ordinary members a say in the direction of policy."

    Yep, just like those who voted Labour in 1997 had forgotten how crap the Labour governments in the 1970's had been. (And the Tories of that period ie Heath had also been shit as well)

  4. I'm not suggesting a violent revolution, Neil, I'm just pointing out that it is increasingly irrelevant who's sitting in Parliament, because it has sold, bartered and given away the nation's sovereignty to the globalist institutions I mention. That's why the Labour government has carried on the policies where the tories left off, with privatisations, PFIs etc.

    What I would like to see is a viable new party rising up to challenge the big three, all of which I despise. The only way such a thing could happen would be if leftwing and rightwing people could leave that punch-and-judy bollocks behind and find some kind of common platform to unite around. No easy thing to achieve I know.

  5. 150 years ago the Chartists in Britain had a mass campaign for democracy in Britain.Over 10 people were killed by the militia in Newport,the world had its first general strike,and the movement helped lay the basis for the modern Labour Party and trade union movement.
    Eventually,all their demands were met - universal suffrage,secret ballots,no property qulification for MPs,Payment for MPs(!not expenses!) - except one.
    If we had a chance to boot our MPs out once a year,instead of giving them 5 years to lie & steal,before chucking us a few coppers just before an election,voters wouldn't be so cynical & we'd all remember who screwed us before the last election.
    So why are our MPs so scared of being truly ACCOUNTABLE to voters.
    Lets give the democratic Chartists their one unmet demand!

  6. dj, thats a good point! In NZ its every 3 years. I used to think that new govts need time for their policies to show fruit, but maybe you are right. Whats your position on proportional representation?

  7. My position on PR is that it is more democratic than first past the post in many ways,though the giant constituencies of the EEC elections make our MEPs so far removed from voters that accountability goes out of the window.
    I always likes Tony Benn's last question to those with power : "how can we get rid of you?".
    This is the most important question for all democrats.If our representatives have the right to NOT represent us,because we can do nothing about it,then democracy is a farce.
    I also think democracy needs to be more local,and we need lots more of it.
    Local areas should have more power over their areas via elected,recallable representatives.
    And why can't we elect those in society with real power over our lives : bosses,judges,police chiefs,polluters,media execs......?

  8. dj, your last point is very important - we need workplace democracy etc.

    Also agree entirely that local democracy has been emasculated - it is all where revenue is raised and not being 'cap in hand' to central govt for everything. As Ken Livingstone put it - 'we are more centralised than Stalin's Soviet Union'.

    As for EU elections; even with fptp, the 78 MEPS would require massive constituencies. A system of PR is far more suited to Westminster where there are 650 MPs.

  9. Work place democracy the first thing you need is the work place, with New labour we have massive unemployment and that was before the dam recession, the bull shit and lies that have been used to hide the real unemployment is shocking. I cannot say I care for the Tories, but New labour sorry it's over 40 odd years in the Labour party was wasted.

  10. Happy new year, Neil. You and I finally have something in common - we want the Tories to fail. In my case, it's because I want them to collapse so a real conservative party can replace them. You probably have other motives but we can work together.

    Please, please, people, don't vote Tory! Vote Green, vote UKIP, vote Monster Raving Loony. Just don't vote Tory!

  11. People's memories are short - they cannot remember just how bad the Tory years were, or maybe they are not old enough to remember. But in 13 years the Tory brand is not as toxic as it once was, and Labour's has been destroyed by the stalinist leadership of the party denying ordinary members a say in the direction of policy."

    Yeah people memories are short. Never forget how bad this Labour government have been since 1997. I'm old enough to remember how bad the present government have have been and will never forget.