If many people in the UK vote for the Lib Dems in this year’s election, it’s fair that they should be involved: it would mean more representative government. It would also send an important signal to the two dominant parties that would challenge their sense of entitlement to power: an entitlement that led to the expenses scandal and actually disempowered the electorate.
I fail to see how we can say that only Labour and the Conservative Parties are “credible”. There are smart people everywhere and we should give people a chance to govern, especially if we are totally fed up with the “politics as usual” attitude of the so-called credible parties. Getting a coalition government, with the Lib Dems participating, would be a great way to allow a third party to show what they can do for the country. Maybe that will get us out of this two-party state that is pretending to be multi-party.
Remember that when New Labour came to power in 1997, virtually none of the MPs had experience of being in power. The same will be true of the Conservatives should they win this time.
What woud make a party a “credible party”? Being voted in to power, failing to satisfy the public and consequently being voted out? Sure that makes a party “uncredible” due to its failure. I would say a credible party is one that has demonstrated its ability to govern effectively. There are many examples of successful local governments run with a majority Lib Dem council, e.g. Cambridge City council.
A recent poll by YouGov showed that if voters thought the Lib Dems had a chance at power, nearly half of them would vote Lib Dem on May 6th. The highest either of the Big Two have reached at any point in recent polls is 36%. The lack of credibility here should be squarely aimed at the parliamentary system that allows the party with the most votes to get the fewest seats.
Response: Many Lib Dem candidates have experience in local government across the UK – controlling budgets in the billions, consulting with local people, and setting policy that already affects millions of people.
It’s just not the British way of running a country. (Ed Balls said this).
Disillusionment with British politics is at an all-time high. We need to show politicians of all parties that business as usual isn’t working by making a break from the recent past. We should be very aware that that disillusionment is causing a larger number of people to vote for extremist parties such as BNP, because they see no credible option in a first past the post system. If people think their vote will actually count we will see much more representation of the views of the electorate. We could add here that the country was successfully governed by coalition during the first and second world war. This statement simply is not true – both Wales and Scotland have had coalition governments for at least some of the last decade. The experience in both countries has been positive with decisions taken on ‘tricky’ issues that have yet to be tackled by Westminster. For example, decisions have been made by the Scottish Parliament on long-term care, while the latest proposal from Government in Westminster is to set up a commission to look at the issue.
The ruling establishment is a tiny minority who, among other undemocratic practices, control the right wing press. They do not want things to change and are therefore using the press to peddle their lies in order to distort democracy. Nick Clegg said as much yesterday. A vote that helps to bring about a coalition government is therefore a vote for genuine change.
I think that the current system of government needs to be looked at very carefully to determine where the power really lies. The Prime Minister is not voted in by the people, and just happens to be in place because he/she is the leader of the majority party. This reduces accountability and literally gives the PM a “blank cheque” to make decisions – take the case of the way the country was dragged into wars that the people did not want to get into. There was nothing the people could do to stop it. I think that the “British way of running a country” needs to change to make it more democratic and have the politicians all be accountable to the people who voted for them.
A ‘Hung’ Parliament means weak Government
Where has ‘strong’ Government got us? Poll Tax riots and people opting out the political system to avoid tax; participation in an illegal war against the wishes of half the population with half of those who supported it now saying if they’d known the truth at the time they would not have; in a financial mess exacerbated by combining steady high street banks with volatile gambling institutions and then removing effective scrutiny; and so on. A balanced Parliament which made root & branch administrative & electoral reform a priority would mean more people had meaningful votes in future. Also worth pointing out how a ‘strong’ government resulted in the Digital Economy Bill being forced through in the least democratic way in recent memory.
We have an electoral system that tend to create Parliamentary majorities that do not reflect the actual views of the electorate. This encourages politicians to be careless of the views of the electorate: consider both the Poll Tax and the war in Iraq that the Government of the day pressed on with in the face of huge popular disagreement and protest. A balanced Parliament will force MPs to the more thoughtful of and responsive to public opinion. (It’s worth noting that it entirely possible that, in the forthcoming election, Labour could poll the fewest votes overall and still end up with the largest number of MPs — scarcely in keeping with the British tradition of fairness! See the BBC’s “Election Seat Calculator” on http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8609989.stm.)
In short, a strong Government means a Government with no accountability to its people and no reason to take public protest or reasoned objection into account.