Friday, November 22, 2019
Home News Kevin Lee: The two-party system is broken. We need voting reform

Kevin Lee: The two-party system is broken. We need voting reform

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So Russell Brand is now an election player, having seen the light (unfortunately a red one except in Brighton) and urged the people to engage. God help us. Could there be a starker indictment of the traditional parties than that a political nonentity such as Brand has become so visible?

Nonetheless we should be grateful for the intervention because it highlights the fundamental problem underlying this election, namely the lack of gravity, competence and credibility of the current political class. Sadly, Brand makes the important point that our politicians are self-serving and that they, together with large corporate bodies (of various flavours), are in control. The punters know it and perhaps we should just hold our breath, hope for an illegitimate Labour/SNP “win” and then brace ourselves for the bloody revolution that may well ensue.

How did we come to this mess? The fault lies with the two main parties who have, perhaps irreparably, lost their way. Labour currently serve no one and have been floundering around for identity since the Clause Four moment (Blair simply created a temporary and opportunistic smokescreen that also happened to bankrupt the country, both financially and morally).

Labour’s schoolboy economics remain a danger to all and their current socialism inhabits only the intellectual realm (pledge stone notwithstanding!) and never benefits the intended target. The victims of Labour’s enforced multiculturalism were not the Right but rather those disadvantaged people who Labour purport to hold dear, many living in Scotland, who now struggle to find viable employment.

The Conservatives are not much better and, regretfully, if they had been they would have won handily in 2010 and would also win again now.

Firstly there is the simple matter of competence and pledging (no ifs no buts) to lower immigration in 2010 when we did not control our borders was a fantasy (even Clegg realised this!).

Similarly, renegotiation of our EU membership, a crucial plank in the Conservative platform, is a pipe dream already discounted by our continental masters.

More fundamentally, the Conservatives are still riven by fear of the nasty party badge, disastrously pinned to their own lapel by a senior insider, Theresa May, who despite her woeful track record may yet achieve even higher office.

And are we seriously supposed to be emboldened by Cameron¹s eleventh hour, sleeves up, fist pumping support of traditional conservative values? More likely, Conservative defector’s abiding memories of Cameron will be his touchy feely agenda on green issues, gay marriage and foreign aid, together with his neglect of core conservative interests, encompassing national security, traditional marriage and selective education.

So, neither Conservative or Labour can win an overall majority. The electorate must therefore necessarily (in the marginal seats where most elections are decided) to put aside their true beliefs and vote tactically to avoid total disaster (Labour/SNP) or to achieve the least worst option (another Con/Lib coalition).

Even in the Churchillian view of democracy (the worst system except all the others) the current situation is dire. Political opportunists are salivating, party manifestos are holed below the water line and voters are left to take nothing more than a punt.

Death of the first past the post system must now surely follow the demise of two-party politics. Alternative votes (or something else) will be needed to restore a healthy, functioning democracy that engages the people and restores their power.

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Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee is a former Professor of Life Sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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