by John Ward
Changing the way we vote is, like sensible House of Lords reform, another way to give The People back some of the power they have lost
The 21st century has produced an increasingly odd mix of ideological alignments. Who’d have thought, in the 1960s, that the anti-Israel fanatical wing of Islam and the political leader of Israel would both write stuff indistinguishable from the Landsberg ramblings of former Corporal 1st Class Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf?
Would anyone in 1975 have predicted that, by the year 2018, the British Labour Party might accuse the Conservatives of being phobic about Muslims, the Tories in turn would be arguing that Labour is an anti-Semitic Party, and feminists would be supporting a misogynist religion?
In that same year, was there anyone out there in the British media writing fiction about a bizarre future in which the British Left would be far more pro the European Union than the Tory Party?
I’ve beaten this drum before, but it bears a repeat percussion riff: the Conservative Party follows the economic writings of a world trade liberal born before the French Revolution. Not far behind in terms of philosphical relevance is the Labour Party….now more than ever inspired by a thinker born just three years after the final defeat of French Napoleonic revolutionary forces.
The reason why there is no reason at all to be heard in the utterances of Britain’s two “main” Parties has a lot to do with both of the buggers being the spawn of men who wore powdered wigs, and thought trousers to be the Satanic invention of Beau Brummel. But it has even more to do with our electoral system of counting votes – a First Past the Post system last reformed 130 years ago. At the time, it was seen as a great advance on the previous approach, which had largely involved a weighting of votes based on ‘so that’s twenty votes for the Earl of Fondlebum, and minus fifty-six for the LibLab candidate’. (Allow a little there for satirical licence).
The problem with FPTP is that it favours Old over New, Ideology over empirically-based Philosophy, and Might over Right.
Above all, it offers an easy route to power for those who don’t deserve it. Real proportional representation wastes far fewer votes, and gives a genuine lift-off power to new Parties with new ideas.
Little wonder, then, that the only thing Thearse May and Corbyn of Nazareth have in common is a desire to keep the existing system at all costs.
Just as with sensible House of Lords reform, the adoption of a PR system would begin the process of head-to-foot Constitutional guarantees that United Kingdom citizens need more than anything else.
But ‘Tory’ and ‘Labour’ have become Party brands that enforce habit……which is why they can change position and direction on almost anything, and still survive. And the bad news for Us is that such voltes faces are rarely if ever in our interests.