Monday, May 25, 2015

A worrying direction for politics

After the results of the general election I was pretty dismayed, and since then have been wondering how I can do my bit to change British politics for the good.

Even though I fundamentally disagree with the choice of the majority, I respect the fact that the people have made a decision. That is democracy after all.

Many, however, are calling for electoral reform.

Both the Green and UKIP parties have said they want Britain to move to Proportional Representation or something similar, a petition is doing the rounds at the moment trying to spark the conversation about changing how we vote and the Electoral Reform Society bemoans the fact that we have are a digital nation with a steam-age voting system.

In principle, I am all for doing something about the way we do politics in this country. Unfortunately, the current set-up is heavily geared in favour of those who benefit from it, so any change will be an uphill struggle against the powerful who are happy with the status quo. What worries me, however, is what things would look like if we do change the voting system, especially to PR. This is mainly because, with PR, UKIP would have 82 seats and that's a lot of seats for a quasi-nationalist party.
Farage looking distinctly European dictator-ish
I don't have to list in great details all the problems with UKIP (for there are many). Of course, the main thrust of their message is directed toward Europe, and the issue of whether or not we should remain within the EU is a matter of opinion. Some will be for Europe and some will be against it, and I can see pros and cons to both sides. I think the main problem with UKIP is its fascist undertones, mainly the hatred directed toward immigrants. Yes, we have immigrants coming into our country and exploiting the system, but they are a tiny minority and we also have huge amounts of Brits doing the same. To blame a country's woes on a handful of 'foreigners', rather than banking institutions that caused a worldwide economic disaster, is moronic to say the least.

Yes, parliament needs a kick up the backside, but I think we have a deeper and more immediate problem to deal with where a party like UKIP receives almost 4 millions votes, more than the Liberal Democrats.

This, I feel, is the more immediate challenge. For 'loony lefties' like me, armchair politics isn't enough (I, like many others, have shared a good deal of anti-UKIP articles on social media and it doesn't seem to have done much). Laughing at all the Nigel Farage jokes (plenty of material there) might be fun, but they only reach a limited audience – you're effectively preaching to the converted. Plus, making jokes about people or their politics isn't going to win them over.

Unfortunately for those of us who have a lazy disposition, the only thing that's going to stop UKIP from becoming more powerful is direct action: talking to people that will or might vote UKIP in the future and trying to convince them that there's a better way, and that things can only improve by showing compassion to all for the good of humanity.

One ray of hope is the fallout from the election with infighting, resignations and sackings within UKIP. It could be that the party implodes in on itself and is no longer here by the time the next election comes around – which can only be a good thing!

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