Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Waste Of A Vote?

The following letter appeared in my local paper in the last week:
Sir, After Liberal Democrat Evan Harris’s third term in office as MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, a few of us felt that it was time to get an MP who would challenge their party occasionally and vote by their conscience and their constituents’ best interests and not toe the party line.
I am afraid to point out to those who made the same mistake as I did that his Conservative successor Nicola Blackwood has followed the line of so many before and voted to keep her party happy and not her constituents.

On February 22, the following motion was put before Parliament: “That this House calls on the Government to respect the ruling by the Information Commissioner and to publish the risk register associated with the Health and Social Care Bill in order to ensure that it informs public and parliamentary debate”.
The motion was put before MPs because the Information Commissioner thought that it was in the public interest for people to know what the Conservatives were trying to do with the Health and Social Care Bill. Nicola Blackwood voted against it.
So she is saying that the public should not know the facts about this Bill, which will affect every person in her constituency. How condescending. This seems too stupid and hard to believe, doesn’t it?

Since June 2010, she has never voted against her party once.If we wanted her to vote the party line, we would have asked for that. In fact, I have sent her letters saying that the only reason I voted for her was to bring a bit of youth into Parliament, who would vote for her constituents and follow logic. Some things never change and this waste of a vote will be out at the next election.
While I share some of his sentiments, there's depressing sense of naivety about them, which adds to the problem of our broken (and lack of) democracy.

It was pretty obvious from the outset that Ms Blackwood would toe the party line; she was on the Tory A-list, the constituency is next door to her boss's and at under 30 years old she has a greasy pole to climb first. Not even the fact that the constituency is a marginal is enough to concentrate her mind to put her constituencies wishes first, as demonstrated in the letter above.

Yet despite the letter writer's exasperation at a 'wasted vote' he takes comfort in the knowledge that; "...this waste of a vote will be out at the next election" - the implication being that he will partake in the election to vote against Ms Blackwood. But what's the point, who would she be replaced by? Dr Evan Harris probably and then the whole silly charade continues all over again.

The problem is that it's not Ms Blackwood that needs replacing but, as Richard North illustrates, the whole damn rotten system.



  2. There aren't many ways to change a political system that is loaded against the people and in favour of the elite.

    1. Revolution.
    2. A sustained campaign of dissent and refusal to accept the status quo (ie the Suffrage Movement)
    3. Work with the current system to slowly effect change

    We don't have a habit of Revolution in the UK and to be honest, people are too apathetic and lazy. Things simply are nowhere near bad enough for sufficient people to revolt. Most people such little understanding of our Constitution and the way it has/is being abused. They may not like the way the country is being run, but they have no idea what or who is causing it.

    The same applies to a sustained campaign of dissent. There is no large popular campaign to challenge our MPs, the Political Parties or Parliament. Bearing in mind that it can take years for this kind of campaign to achieve its objectives, involving personal hardship, jail and possibly death, once again the British electorate simply isn't sufficiently angry.

    The third option is the only one that stands any chance in today's UK. That means refusing to vote LibLabCON: instead choose UKIP, an Independent or the BNP. It means writing to your MP letting him know that he is not representing your wishes. It means joining campaigns like the Tax Payers Alliance, the Fair Fuel Campaign and the Referendum campaign.

    But this all takes time and progress (if any) is very very slow.

    The Establishment is determined to retain its iron grip on the country, government policy and OUR money. It won't give up any of its power without a massive campaign by the people - and quite honestly, the people simply don't care and can't be bothered.

    I wish it were otherwise; but it isn't. We have become a cowed, lazy and apathetic nation. Which is just how they like it.

  3. @DeeDee99 I agree with many of your points particularly the apathy.

    There is one thing worth bearing in mind however. Despite all the hoo-haa over the granny tax, one element of the budget has largely been overlooked - another rise in fuel tax. Blogger Political Betting has a poll that shows public concerns have suddenly made a very large jump.

    Fuel affects us all, and in these difficult times the price is hurting... a lot. Polling is showing we're saying 'enough' and as the fuel crisis showed about 10 years ago - it only takes a relatively small number of people and a couple of weeks and the Government is in real trouble.

  4. Hi FB.

    Yes, the continual rise in fuel and fuel duty may just trigger a reaction, like the protests in 2000 (or thereabouts) under Blair.

    The trouble is that since that display of popular dissent and a demonstration of just how easy it was to bring the country to a halt, the Govt has put in place contingency plans to ensure that any future blockades won't work.

    I am amazed that Osborne didn't do something on fuel duty - bearing in mind the Fair Fuel Campaign. But perhaps Cameron is confident that his discussions with Obama about releasing US oil reserves will bring prices back down quite quickly.

    What would focus the Govt is if instead of blockading fuel distribution depots, a significant number of protestors blockaded a major route - say the M25 - when the Olympic BigWigs start arriving at Heathrow.

    But you can bet that they would deal VERY harshly with anyone who participated. So I come back to what I wrote the first time around - people may be angry, but they simply aren't angry ENOUGH.