In any functioning democracy there will always be a conservative party i.e. a party that represents the interests of the rich and powerful. I don’t have a problem with this. But the reason democracy works is that it provides a space within the interests of the non-rich and powerful can also be represented and debated. Thus we have balance.
What I do have a problem with is that democracy in this country, as well as our economy, has become unbalanced. We don’t have a mainstream party that is representing the interests of the non-rich and powerful. The party that was meant to be doing this (i.e the Labour Party) abandoned its patch 20 years ago. It did this because it recognised that it is much easier to get into power with the support of the rich and powerful. It covered the tracks of its desertion with lots of rhetoric about the end of political ideology and the importance of pragmatism over principle. It called itself a ‘new’ Labour Party and justified its actions on account of the fact that a Labour party being in power should, in and of itself, ensure that the interests of the non-rich and powerful should be represented. Being in power became more important than the political debate about how that power should be used and thus that debate basically died.
“They are all the same, there is no difference.” This is the single biggest message coming back from the electorate. And the electorate is right. One party is telling us that it will now cost £9,000 per year to go to university. And the party that is presenting a “radically different vision for the future of the country” is saying, “tell you what, I’ll give it to you for six grand, can’t say fairer than that Guv, now give me your vote.”
That is not an alternative, that is simply a discount.
And that is why I am voting Green. The Green Party is the only party which has a set of politics which genuinely represent an alternative. Some of their policies may me a little rough around the edges, but that doesn’t matter, because what they are trying to do is clear the weeds that have grown up in the space that Labour deserted and put some balance back into democracy.
I, and I suspect the majority of people in this country, believe that the role of government and the public sector is to provide the investment, infrastructure and support that a sustainable, balanced, private sector needs to be successful. This isn’t a left-wing or socialist idea – it is just common bloody sense. But it is not being debated. Access to education is no longer something limited by ability, it is limited by access to money – and this is not being debated. We are only allowed a ‘choice’ on how much money this shall be. The Prime Minister has described public services as state monopolies to be broken-up. Do the majority of people in this country see the NHS as a state monopoly? But this is not being debated. We are only allowed a choice on how much money won’t be spent on it.
Will Hutton recent put this more succinctly when he said “the role of democracy is to ensure that capitalism delivers on its promises.” Democracy isn’t working because capitalism isn’t delivering on its promises.
It is clear this this election will produce a result most people in this country are not happy with. Dissatisfaction, rather than any groupings of political parties, will have achieved a majority. But the reason for that is very simple. It is because we haven’t been allowed to debate the things we want to debate. We haven’t been given a choice.