One party, three wings.
In Britain these days there is only a theoretical choice between main parties. Plenty of people have observed that the battle for the centre ground has reached the point where in many policy areas, e.g. Europe and the referendum that everyone promised but which never happened and now never will, there really isn’t a lot of difference, and an MP on the edge – not necessarily an extreme edge – of his party’s views could conceivably cross the floor to join another party without actually having to change his opinions. There really might as well be one party with two main wings on the left and right respectively, and a smaller one that is slightly left of centre, but only slightly.
Unfortunatelt and to my ever lasting annoyance there are plenty of people who will vote along party lines even even the candidate was a fungus ridden lump of wood with the right colour rosette nailed on. But it’s a relief to see that generation whatever-letter-we’re-on-now is bucking the trend, and not by simply being contrarian and voting for whoever would most annoy their parents (urrrm, guilty on one count, your honours). They want to be political, but not with those politicians.
Disillusioned class of 2010 have no idea which party to support.
Can’t think why, unless it’s because the centrist similarity and the behaviour of politicians from all three main parties makes it like choosing between three almost identical flavours of
cake shit sandwich?
Unburdened by ideology and bored by Iraq, they sit in coffee bars to fret about tuition fees and their chances of finding a job.
More than 70 students shared their political views this week during interviews in libraries, student union buildings and lecture rooms at four universities: Durham, Bradford, Leicester and Bristol. With a few exceptions, they were interested in political issues but cynical about politicians and had little patience for arguments along traditional party lines. The majority intended to vote but almost half had no idea which party they would support.
I really hope that it occurs to them that if no main party appeals then voting for a minority party makes as much sense. One vote so rarely makes a difference that it’s as much a waste to give it to someone who’s likely to win by twenty thousand as it is to someone who’ll only get a few dozen – the former needs one more vote like Mr Creosote needs a wafer thin mint (unfortunately even the really fat ones are unlikely to explode) and for the latter it’s still not remotely near enough. For a while afterwards it might feel nice to have backed the winner but that’ll soon fade when he’s joined the rest of the bastards queueing up behind you while you’re gripping your ankles and trying to breathe past the ball gag. Seriously, you may as well just vote for whoever’s policies are closest to what you actually think. If that means you vote Tory, Labour, LibDem or even BNP then fair enough. I might think you’re a twat but I’ll have to concede that you’ll be an honest twat. Doesn’t change the fact that what you’re doing is voting Centrist.
Among [the students] were an Asian girl worried about levels of immigration, a self-proclaimed Marxist who may vote Tory and another student who said he would vote Conservative because he believed passionately in social justice and equality.
Ignoring the obvious strawman about the Asian girl concerned about immigrants (she could be fourth generation and talking about Eastern Europeans for all we know) the fact that the Tories hare now tempting for a Marxist and someone else who likes them for the position on social justice and equality means one of two things: either both of them haven’t a clue what the fucking words mean or the Tory party has moved far enough to the left in it’s desire to steal as many of Labour’s clothes as NuLab stole from them that the blogosphere taunt of Blue Labour is looking more accurate by the day.
What might change all this is money. Not who out of Dave and Gordon can offer the most money back to the people they’re going to forcibly take it from, but where the Labour party is going to get the money to stay in business.
The Labour Party is struggling to make ends meet. It is planning a general election with a skeletal staff. Its spring conference has been cancelled. The National Policy Forum, which, in theory at least, was supposed to sign off the election manifesto, is too expensive to stage. The Labour Party is heading into the next election contest with debts of £11.5 million, an overwhelming reliance on the trade unions for funding and the very real prospect that the coming campaign will tip it into bankruptcy. What does this mean?
There’ll be dancing in the streets of Cheltenham if they do go tits up?
First, it means that the rich and powerful have deserted the party. Notwithstanding its recent flirtation with a class critique of the Opposition and higher taxes on the well-off, this is not really a comment on the Labour Party’s policies. It is a verdict on its prospects. Most donors are weather vanes rather than ideologues; they look for winners to back. Fundraising is a form of political future and the desertion of its donors is a telling indictment of the Labour party. Those monied men and women who flocked to new Labour in the mid-1990s have disappeared.
Second, the party’s parlous financial state tells us how badly Labour has managed its own machine. The great promise of new Labour, attractive enough to win three elections, was that it offered a party freed from reliance on the trade unions. It was to be a party of the nation, not just a pressure group for a sectional interest. For a long while, the promise was kept.
No wonder. They fucked up the country so why should we be surprised that they were shit at managing their own finances.
And now, if you’re an undergraduate wondering how to decide who to vote for, here comes the important bit.
The irony, at the end of the new Labour period, is that the party has wound up more reliant on trade union finance than ever before.
The piper’s paymaster calls the tune, and the main paymasters are about to be the unions again. It might not be a choice of New Labour or Blue Labour with LibDems to place. We could see something more like Old Labour, which would create a bit of daylight between them and Blue Labour despite DING’s step to the left (in the event of a jump to the right let’s do the Timewarp again – there’s bound to be pelvic thrusts still going on in Westminster). They’ll all still be fucking awful, which is why my vote will go to the Libertarian Party (if they have a candidate standing – I’ve pretty much decided that the only other option is to spoil the ballot paper), but at least they’ll be awful for different reasons.