- CRITTER TALK
Only ‘technically’ you understand. The Conservatives are in government, Labour is the main opposition, The Liberal Democrats are sort of still around and Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their regional governments where The Scottish Nationists, Plaid Cymru, and The Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Fein, etc tend to rule the roost.
However, the central government in Westminster is not only dominated by the Conservatives with an 80 seat majority, current polls suggest that there is about as much chance of the Conservatives losing power at the next General Election as there is of me being on the first manned mission to Mars.
Oi! Who just muttered, “We should be so lucky?” 🙂
Anyway. Labor has become such a lamentable opposition that, given they are the only credible alternative to a Conservative government, the UK is, at the moment, to all intents and purposes a one-party state.
That is distinctly unhealthy for democracy.
The UK’s ‘first past the post system’ (FPTP) is irretrievably broken.
To be honest, an increasing number have been getting fed up with the FPTP system. It basically disenfranchised millions. A General Election was going to end with either a Conservative or Labour government. Voting for any other party was, frankly, pointless.
Oddly, when the country was given a referendum on changing the system it voted against it. I have an increasing feeling a lot of people might be regretting doing so now.
As it was, the Conservatives mostly won. The only time Labour gained power after the 1970s was when Tony Blair pretty much turned Labour into the Conservatives Mark II.
Proportional Representation (PR) would certainly be a good idea. At least the millions disenfranchised would gain a voice for the first time, but that’s a nonstarter.
The Conservatives would never agree to PR as they would never gain such a huge majority again. Labour would never agree to PR, mostly because they would be even worse off under it than they are now.
The Liberal Democrats, formerly The Liberal Party, have long been in favor of PR as they are fully aware, barring a hung parliament where they might get a sniff of power a la the 2010 General Election, that their chances of ever forming a government independently are zero.
The Liberal Democrats went oddly silent about PR though in 2015 when right-wing UKIP achieved almost 4 million votes. Probably as PR might well have seen a coalition Conservative/UKIP government. Still, apart from that ‘blip’, the Liberal Democrats have every reason to want PR.
As things stand, without PR – which won’t be happening any time soon, if ever – we have what could conceivably become a perpetual Conservative government. No democracy can withstand being a one-party state and continue to call itself a democracy, so whither the UK now?
I freely admit that I am not a Socialist. I wouldn’t have voted for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn if I’d been offered serious money to. No more would I vote Labour now. Yet neither am I a natural conservative. Frankly, they’ve been a great disappointment to me in so many ways.
I suppose, ultimately, that makes me one of the millions disenfranchised by our FPTP system which has currently created a one-party state.
I don’t want a Labour government more than I don’t want a Conservative government. Personally, I’d have loved a Nigel Farage-led UKIP government in 2015 but without PR it could never happen.
However, I would accept a Labour government democratically elected even by our no longer fit-for-purpose FPTP system. At least there would then be some trace of democracy still alive and kicking.
I would accept yet another Conservative government if Labour at least ‘closed the gap’ and, possibly with the assistance here and there of the Liberal Democrats, could actually ‘hold the government to account’, but based on current polls, there seems little likelihood of that happening.
So, the inherent danger of a FPTP system is fully exposed. One of the two main parties implodes, as Labour has currently done, and the country becomes a one-party state.
One-party states immediately make me think of China – there are plenty of parties in China of course, but all are sanctioned by the ruling party so that’s clearly no more than a ‘plastic’ democratic system. North Korea is a one-party state as is Russia and numerous other somewhat unpleasant countries.
‘Alarming’ is an understatement when you realize the UK is currently in danger of joining that motley crew.