Political Promise

The New Era of Politics?

In Pav Sandhu on September 14, 2010 at 9:15 am

Pav Sandhu talks coalition politics and the aftermath of the 2010 election.

The last time the British government was made up of a coalition was during the Second World War. Who would have thought that there would be one in the 21st Century? More importantly who would have thought that a Liberal Party would shake hands with the Conservative Party?

From the period of 1945 to 1979, we saw a safe balance of power between Labour and the Tories. These were the consensus years after the Conservatives accepted Atlee’s Welfare State.

However from the years of 1979-1997 we saw the New Right movement whereby Margaret Thatcher believed that the ills of socialism created a welfare dependency and that it began to drain British initiative and therefore attempted to “roll back the state.” Some capitalised from this, others perished from this.

From 1997 to 2010, we saw New Labour attempt to bring the best of both worlds with “welfare to work” as opposed to Old Labours “cradle to the grave” welfare. Labour as a working-class, trade union party has changed into a part for all classes of society.

During the election, we saw history with live televised debates with not only the leaders of the mainstream parties, but also a debate between the hopeful chancellors. More importantly, teenagers recognised that this election would determine their future and began to question the parties for their votes.

Now British politics has become more “style over substance”, where those that look the part get the job rather then those that deserve the job.

If we look at the surprising turn of events from the first leader’s debate; Nick Clegg had been given a political lifeline. When the presenters asked the leaders about their future policies, Nick Clegg was allowed to answer first, and then Gordon Brown had similar policies, but reduced himself to say “I agree with Nick” a slogan which transformed the 2010 election which saw the apparent Clegg-O-Mania sweep the nation. During the next two debates we saw Nick being torn apart by his policies upon the European Union, Trident and Immigration, the potential “vote winning” policies. Obviously the nation didn’t agree with Nick as much as the media thought. This was soon to be seen in the polls and then in the election result, whereby the likely underdog lost more seats to the Conservatives.

In contrast, if we look at New Labour’s landslide victory in 1997, Blair had his own personal advisors and spin doctors (particularly Alistair Campbell) in efforts to look good in front of the camera by jumping on bandwagons and socialising in front of popular celebrities at that time. Unfortunately he forgot to keep them when he was elected into office for which he could have used them for the scandals over Iraq.

At the front of the petty and pathetic never-ending expenses scandal, Gordon Brown in attempts to salvage himself and his government had to resort “humanise” himself to the British public. He had to prove that he had “style over substance” with the “U-tube if u want to” gaffe with the Prime Minister reassuring the public that the road to recovery is coming and then spoiling it all with that infamous smile.

As a result of Brown not having style over substance particularly with a “bigoted Gillian Duffy”, Labour lost the election and there was a Hung Parliament. Talks between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats commenced and Britain had the first post-1945 coalition government.

Nick Clegg’s campaign consisted mainly of launching personal attacks on David Cameron whereby in every speech argued that the future Prime Minister was “already measuring up the curtains to Number 10” Not to worry Nick, David thought that you was the “biggest political joke that he ever witnessed.” At least David admitted the truth in front of the camera.

Again we are seeing the style over substance method to woo the voters. Now it will be taking over the traditional House of Lords with plans to make it fully elected chamber. Now there are a number of problems with this. Firstly more and more people have not been voting, partly due to disillusion with mainstream politics.

Secondly if the voting system for it will be a proportional method, than the Lords won’t represent and be accountable to the public. Thirdly an elected House of Lords will simply be another whipped two-partied chamber. The former leader of the Labour Party, the late Michael Foot termed this as “A seraglio of eunuchs.”

Fourthly the government is formed by the majority party in the Commons, what would happen if the Conservatives formed a majority in the Commons but Labour formed a majority in the Lords?

Isn’t whole purpose of becoming a Lord is that you have the substance over style,

The Lord is experienced in public matters, like Lord Sebastian Coe who is currently involved in set up of the 2012 London Olympics. Lord Coe has been appointed simply to get a job done. Do we really want to see more politicians lying to us, making promises that they can’t keep just to become a Lord?

With the AV referendum set to take place next year, we may see the biggest constitutional change, elections will be more proportional, giving a fairer chance to the minor parties, the House of Commons will no longer be a two horse race between the Government and the Opposition, we may have the situation in Australia where both the Government and the opposition will be forced to form a coalition. Britain is now on the way to becoming a multi-party system, the last European Nation to do so.

We’ve had New Labour, now it seems that we’ll soon have New Politics.

The main figures in the previous governments, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson have released their memoirs both attacking Gordon Brown, yet they had no public objection against his leadership. It seems that party loyalty will soon be in decline and politics will be all about the individual. No longer will a party be responsible for the success of legislation for each government department, it will be down to the Prime Minister who is meant to be the “brains”, but then a party won’t be responsible for its downfall, which will be blamed on the minister of whichever department.

Soon we may have David Cameron and George Osbourne arguing that they couldn’t work with Nick Clegg and Vince Cable. Then they may release their memoirs and arrange TV interviews, making millions in the process. It seems from this that politicians only enter mainstream politics in order to profit from it, rather than to serve their constituents, in doing so leaking scandals and government damaging revelations.

All I can say is bring it on! I am more than happy to give my take on those stories!

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