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The United Kingdom Is Now A One Party State

Pic courtesy of Times of India.

by Neil Bamforth

I believe in democracy and most people in the UK believe in democracy. Admittedly there are those who only believe in democracy if it works for them, but on the whole, most people in the UK believe in and value democracy. Given that fact, how then has the UK become a one-party state?

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.

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Posted by on April 7, 2021. Filed under COMMENTARY/NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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Neil Bamforth
Neil Bamforth
2 months ago

Mike : We’re actually doing fine in comparison to The EU with Covid vaccinations. Leaving the EU is looking more and more like a good move.

Our Conservative government aren’t right wing enough. Channel crossing migrants haven’t been kicked out. We didn’t close our borders to all (as New Zealand rightly did).

On the whole though, we’re doing fine outside the EU.

Bill : Well if they do they’re doing a lousy job of it over here 🤣🤣🤣

Michael John Scott
Reply to  Neil Bamforth
2 months ago

You are doing better but not too long ago you had the highest infection rate on the European Continent.

Bill Formby
Bill Formby
2 months ago

I think that the biggest problem is that far-right conservatives are that they want to control everything and everyone. Liberals would prefer a much less controlled environment for day to day life,

Michael John Scott
2 months ago

The problem is the Conservatives. They ushered in the disastrous Brexit plan, and, because of their lack of and flawed leadership your little island became the sick man of Europe with more Covid cases than anyone else in your part of the world. Part of the reason for this is Boris Johnson, a better-educated version of America’s former fool of a president. So, I agree with you. Conservatism in the UK needs to quietly leave out the back door, to usher in a more progressive, compassionate government.