Is it just me, or has the world gone a bit election mad? I’m getting fed up of the election to be honest. Part of the issue is that I genuinely can’t decide who to vote for. Not that my vote would make much difference: I live in a fairly safe lib dem constituency, so whichever way I vote it’s not likely to make much difference. That said, even if my vote did make a difference, I just don’t think I could decide.
The primary consideration I have when voting at the moment is “it can’t be labour”: one illegal, immoral war which well over 50% of the country were against would have been enough, and then there’s the small matter of the financial crisis (have we really done away with boom and bust Mr. Brown? Have we?). And then there’s ID cards, and so on. But apart from that, I’m pretty open.
That said, two things are annoying me about the way people are talking about the election. Firstly: what the heck is wrong with the Conservatives? Everyone I know seems to hold them up as being the joke party, i.e. “I’d never vote for them in a million years” kind of thing. Why? I just can’t see the reasons myself. Sure, OK, there was Margaret Thatcher. So what? It just seems that to look back at the past and say “I’m not voting for this party because of what happened in the 80s” is disingenious to say the least.
Especially given that someone who knew a lot more about politics than I did once explained to me how a lot of the issues of that era, i.e. the recession, were caused by factors either outside the government’s control, or would have happened even with a labour government. But I’ll come back to this in a minute.
The second thing that annoys me is people trumpeting the lib dems as the saviours of democracy. Now, I do agree with some of the Lib Dems’ policies… but they’re far from perfect. As far as I can tell, a lot of people are voting for them simply because “they’re not labour or the conservatives”. Which is probably a bit cynical on my part, but still.
The real issue here is this: politics is complicated. really complicated. Can you imagine what it takes to run a country? There are thousands of different things going on, and a government is responsible for all of them. To be honest, I don’t think labour have done a bad job over the past thirteen years. Yes, they did do some terrible things (Iraq War, finance crisis, ID Cards, police state etc), but as a country we’re still here, and I honestly think it’s debatable whether we would genuinely have been better off under another administration.
I don’t think this country needs another government. I feel this country needs accountability. If the people had a way of actually forcing the government to be accountable – while the government were still in power – that would actually make this country truly democratic. The current system is basically only a democracy once every four or five years – and the first past the post system means that even that is mockery!
Which is why I feel like saying “the tories are evil”, or “the lib dems are our saviours” is … well, ridiculous. It’s simply not true. Without a crystal ball you can’t see who would be best. I don’t know, you don’t know, no-one does. The factors are too complicated for even the most brilliant mind to understand it all. These quizzes that ask you to answer questions to be able to choose your political party – for the same reason, I find them bizarre. “What do you think is the best thing for the financial crisis? Increase spending now, etc.”… I don’t know! I’m a programmer for goodness’ sake, not an economist. This is why we have a government, so they can consult people who understand this stuff and make the best decisions. I’m not qualified to do it.
So, to bring this rambling mess to some sort of point, this is what I’m trying to say:
I don’t think any one political party is the “best” option. Because I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to really know that information. The days of people believing in a political party such as labour or conservative because they represent their outlook on life are gone.
So I honestly believe the best option for this country is:
- A hung parliament. A coalition government will be forced to work together for the good of the country. At the moment I feel too much that politicians work for the good of the party. Would ID cards have survived with a coalition government? Perhaps, but I think it would have had a much tougher ride. Would the Iraq war have happened under a coalition government? Again, I think that’s even more doubtful.
- Electoral reform. We need to be able, as a democracy, to ensure that our government is accountable. This can’t be done at present to any meaningful degree. This needs to change.
Just a few thoughts, it’s getting late so they may not make very much sense 😉