Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

A “Contract” with the Parties

The Conservatives have published “A contract between the Conservative Party and you”.

We go into the general election on 6 May with trust in politics and politicians at an all-time low. And I can understand why: the years of broken promises, the expenses scandal, the feeling that politicians have become too remote from the people – they’ve all taken their toll.

That’s why I’m making this contract with you.

For too long, you’ve been lied to by politicians saying they can sort out all your problems. But it doesn’t work like that. Real change is not just about what the government does. Real change only comes when we understand that we are all in this together; that we all have a responsibility to help make our country better. This contract sets out my side of the bargain: the things I want to do to change Britain. But it also makes clear that I cannot do it on my own. We will only get our economy moving, mend our broken society and reform our rotten political system if we all get involved, take responsibility, and work together.

The analysis is not bad:

  • trust in politics and politicians at an all-time low
  • politicians have become too remote from the people
  • we all have a responsibility to help make our country better
  • mend our broken society
  • reform our rotten political system

The conclusions are a bit lacking.  If we have a responsibility to help make our country better, let’s make sure everyone’s vote counts – as voting, genuine voting, should be a fundamental responsibility.  But outside the marginals, we do not have genuine voting.  In my constituency:

  • If I vote Conservative, I get a Conservative
  • If I vote Labour, I get a Conservative
  • If I vote Liberal, I get a Conservative
  • If I don’t vote, I still get a Conservative

If fact I live in a modern day “rotten borough”.  This (and similar situations in most constituencies) contributes to politicians becoming “remote from the people”.  We don’t matter, and I doubt it will change until we can genuinely choose our representatives. The pledge to enable us to “get rid of politicians who are guilty of misconduct”, is not the same as being able to choose our representative in the first place.  I suppose I ought to thank the Conservative Selection Committee in my constituency for choosing my next MP, it saves us all the bother of voting (and keeps our new MP from actually having to get our support).  As long as he keeps in with the Selection Committee (and is not “guilty of misconduct”), he is in for as long as he wants.

We don’t trust politicians and until they have to ask us for our trust (and give us the option to refuse to give it), the situation will not change.

If Cameron wants to mend the broken society so that we are “all in it together”, perhaps he should extend his “manifesto invitation” to “join the government of Britain”, to those of us who are disenfranchised. He could do this by signing up and committing to genuine electoral reform.  Until then he is still peddling lies, and does not deserve our trust and will belong in a “different society” to the rest of us.

Our political system needs to change. Politicians must be made more accountable, and we must take power away from Westminster and put it in the hands of people

I could not put it better “Dave”, put power back in our hands by giving us a voting system that allows us to express genuine preferences between candidates.  That would be “line one” of my contract with you or any other Party.  You can play with the economy (and continue to lie to us about it), but until you fix the system to make you accountable to us any other promise (contractual or otherwise) is worthless.

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3 thoughts on “A “Contract” with the Parties

  1. It is a cleverly worded way of saying “I’m a Thatcherite, and when you need support the most, I wont give it to you, and neither should anyone else, you’re on your own f***er!!!”

    • The “***” in the above are my edit – my mother might read this blog! Those who know will understand exactly what Jamie meant; those who don’t know will not be offended – but still left in no doubt about the strength of his feelings.

  2. Pingback: The Aftermath II (of ?) « Outside the marginals

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