Wednesday 10 July 2024

Final Thoughts on the Election and Political System


Now that the election is over, this blog is going back into cold storage. However, before I get back to enjoying my retirement, I want to make some comments about political parties in general and the future of ours in particular.

Parties serve a variety of purposes, with one of the main ones being that they allow people to participate in the political process without having to be political anoraks. Voters can choose a party that they by and large identify with and then leave the intricacies of policy to that party. Every five years or so, these voters will turn out to vote for one party or the other, and for the rest of the time they will just get on with their lives.

The problem occurs when the parties no longer represent the views of their voters, a situation we are in with both Labour and the Tories at the moment. When that happens, we can expect to see turnout at elections fall alarmingly, as many people just give up participating in a process that they no longer indentify with. Others will start to vote for small, insurgent parties, such as the Greens or Reform. We also have in the British context the Islamic independents who managed to win a clutch of seats last week. 

The Tories are split between the liberal, upper-middle-class types who tend to live in the leafy southern counties and the aspirational arsewipe element with their petty grievances and small town mentality. The former group switched to the Lib-Dems last week and gave that party 72 seats in the Commons: a message that the Tory leadership would do well to heed. It is possible that the Tories may manage to repair their split by becoming sounder on immigration and this time actually meaning it. If they did then they should be able to take back the anti-immigrant element in their old voting core that switched to Reform.

Labour's problems are more pronounced. In the first place because the party at local level is pretty much dominated by the local government nomenklatura, with their unproductive non-jobs that are paid for out of the taxes of those in productive employment. For many people when they meet a Labour activist must be reminded of the people who intefere in their lives and make those lives difficult. The somewhat overweight woman with her frizzy hair and weird glasses who reminds them of the social worker who gave their cousin grief. The small man who looks as if he has never had a girlfriend is the spitting image of the teacher who has it in for their sons and the gaggle of white-collar wallahs could very well be the same wallahs who fail to sort out their problems with the council.

To make matters worse, those core Labour people were ignored for many years by a Labour Party that wanted the votes of ethnic minorities and the middle-class progressives. The Pakistani element was pandered to even to the extent of ignoring the abuse of young British girls by Pakistani men in the mill towns. Now, those Pakistani voters are jumping ship to Islamic based elements, leaving the British voters to smile coldly at their former party's misfortunes.

The progressive element is moving behind the Greens and Jeremy Corbyn in London. If Corbyn sets up a Progressive Party it could do well in the big cities, or he could throw in his lot behind the Greens who already seem to be making common cause with the Islamists. A Progressive-Islamic front may very well be on the cards and if that happens it would tear a massive hole in the Labour line.

However, the main threat to Labour comes from Reform. Nigel Farage has already realised that Labour provides his party with a better hunting ground than the Tories since almost 100 of the seats were Reform came second last week are held by Labour. Immigration is Labour's weak spot, since the party wants more of it and the voters want a lot less. The party seems to be in favour of an amnesty for illegal migrants and the voters want who them slung out of the country. 

Labour's massive majority is based on a level of support that is a mile wide and an inch deep. Being in government should hold the party together but the divisions are enormous and it will only take a couple of by-election losses to widen those divisions. If the Tories can get their act together and unite around agreed policies which must include a sound immigration one, then they could return to government sooner than anyone expects.

As for me, thanks to the pledge from both parties to respect the pension triple-lock, I plan to enjoy the evening of my life by growing potatoes in my garden pots and watching Netflix from the seriously comfortable chair that I bought yesterday.

Goodbye for now and good luck.

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