Would Britain benefit from more political parties? — July 17, 2012

Would Britain benefit from more political parties?

[EDIT: Consider this argument post-electoral reform, not under FPTP ~ Cheers for this guys!]

We’re at a stand-still in British politics, cynics will call it the “mid-term blues” but I think it goes further than that. There is huge political apathy in Britain, voter turnout is continuously falling and the expenses scandal, combined with nearly every other scandal since has done nothing to disprove that all MPs are as “bad as each other.”

Britain has been a two-Party state now for long over 70 years, with many scholars and authors talking about a post-War consensus between the Labour Party and the Conservatives. You can debate the validity of such an idea until the cows come home (I know, I wrote 3,000 words on it easily!) The undeniable fact is that we live in a two-Party state, with no other Party seemingly able to make a significant impact. This is exasperated by the fact that the main Parties have rushed to the centre-ground in recent years, not really daring to be radical (seen as a dirty word) or too different from their opponents, in fear of losing votes. The 2010 General Election threw up an anomaly, allowing the Liberal Democrats to hold the key to power, but it was far from an election victory for the Party in the grand scheme of things. So, just how do we break the two Party stranglehold on power?

Split them up.

There are obvious divides with in all three major parties, with MPs and grassroots members forever moaning at their executive or backbenchers. The Labour Party remains divided and has been since 1994, even his name irks the Left of the Party. Tony Blair and his Blairite followers have been sidelined by Ed Miliband and the Unions, perfectly demonstrated by the attack on Progress (a “Blairite” think tank). So the Labour Party could easily split, with David Miliband leading a Blairite Labour movement. Allowing Ed Miliband to revive the Left and take his Party back to electoral abyss (or not, who knows what the electorate want)!

In the Tories the divide is as glaringly obvious. Cameron has attempted to modernise the Tories, and people within the Party don’t like it. Let Cameron start the New Conservatives, a more socially liberal Tory Party. Nadine Dorries and her socially backward friends can continue to conserve society, heck she might even bring back Feudal law or make Priests all powerful. We will call this Party the Dinosaur Party, complete with socially conservative members, incapable of moving on from 1872.

There is of course a split in the Liberal Democrats too. We’re far too often accused of “infighting” and not focusing on the other two Parties, but I’d say we’re guilty of it no more than other Parties. The Social Liberal Forum exists to promote just that, social liberal society, but for some (including me) that isn’t enough. They are happy to allow for the state to grow and support higher taxation and Keynesian policies. The “Orange Book” liberals, or classical liberals ‘run the Party executive’ and annoy the SLF with our all-round liberalness, including our economic liberalness (smaller state, lower taxes). The SLF could continue as the Liberal Democrats, headed by Tim Farron (the epitome of a “Lefty-Liberal”) and the [Classical] Liberal Party could be spear-headed by David Laws/Jeremy Browne.

Heck, even UKIP are divided. Their older, (slightly) xenophobic wing exist solely to leave the EU and berate life in general. They have a more socially liberal, even libertarian wing in the YI. They want an even smaller state than many of the “classic liberals.”

So instead of a two-Party state, we could have a real democracy with 6/8 smaller Parties. The great benefit is that people can choose a Party that really fits with their views, rather than having to settle into a Party that often conflicts with their ideals. Nobody agrees with every decision their Party makes, if you do, you are either a loyal MP, or a moron, incapable of engaging your own brain.

Here’s a (wild) estimation of where the Parties would exist on Political Compass.

Two quick polls:

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Unimportant. Unelectable. Uncertain? — March 6, 2012

Unimportant. Unelectable. Uncertain?

Today’s car crash interview on BBC Radio 5 Live was just the latest domino in a sequence of embarrassing, cringe-worthy moments for Ed Miliband’s leadership. How long does this floundering leader realistically have left, if Labour truly want to contest the General Election in 2015?

Charles from Wakefield hits the nail on the head. He calls Ed “unelectable” and says he “lacks gravitas and importance”, as well as suggesting that the country needs “a credible Opposition.”

Today’s speech entitled Made in Britain that he made sums Ed Miliband up. It’s an old, useless, feel good rhetoric that politicians of all creeds have been spouting out for years.

Ed sadly lacks any real innovation. He is weak, opportunistic and out of touch with the gravity of the situation that the economic crisis has left us in. He consistently polls badly, falling behind Nick Clegg in many areas. He is seen as the worst leader and  the person least likely to make tough decisions. People mock him, but even worse, they feel sorry for him.

So, who do they turn to? Unsurprisingly, Labour should turn to David Miliband. They should have elected him leader in the first place, but such is the perverse nature of the Labour Party, the Unions vote ultimately swung the election narrowly Ed’s way. David received more nominations from his fellow MPs (81-63) and then received over 10,000 more votes from Labour Party members.

David is seen as the anti-Christ by the Left of the Labour Party, because he is a Blairite. He would move the Party even nearer to a new centre, consensus that is forming in British Politics. Personally I don’t see a problem with this, people come to a consensus if they agree, if people agree in politics, it’s usually because they are doing something right. I’m not suggesting that David would roll over and let the Government do what it wants, far from it. He clearly had his own ideas in his campaign for Leader of the Labour Party. To me, it seems that he would offer more constructive criticism and engage in real politics, not opportunistic point scoring.

Now I know they’ll be Labour/Ed Miliband supporters who will tell me all Opposition leaders do the same. If that’s the best you can come up with, you need to take a hard look at yourself.