Saturday, May 08, 2010

Where To Go Now?

Well it’s all over and done with and we are stuck with a hung Parliament. It seems the only way to break the deadlock is to win the Lib Dems over with a promise to change the voting system to one that will almost always ensure a coalition is needed. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are similar enough that they could probably find enough common ground to govern for a time.

I hope that FPTP can be preserved for the Commons, but there needs to be an urgent review of the constituency sizes and perhaps even boundaries which have benefitted Labour so greatly. This is not this first election in recent history where Labour has benefitted from the status quo. Cameron has got about the same share of the vote as Blair in 2005 and has fallen short in term seats; all parties and candidates should be on a level playing field; the electoral commission has some questions to answer on why it has not moved to take more corrective action.  We only need to look to this election where the third party is now dictating to the winner about what they want for there to be a functioning government to get a sense of how all future governments under PR would be formed.

For Cameron perhaps a wholly elected Lords using PR will allow him to seal the deal with the Lib Dems?

I am left wondering where I personally should go now? As regulars will know I am one of those disgruntled Tories who no longer wishes to support them because of the direction Mr Cameron is taking them. My objection is mostly on the Conservative position on continued membership of the EU. I do not believe the UK is benefitting from membership, in my heart I loathe the fact that 85% of our laws are made in a fashion I believe to be undemocratic. Furthermore I am tired of more and more powers being handed over.

I describe the EU as undemocratic but the truth is it is more anti-democratic in nature. One only has to look at how the EU is set up to be undemocratic despite the presence of a “parliament” which is unable to propose or initiate laws; it is a facade conceived so as to give the appearance of a democratic centre. The ruthless pursuit of it’s agenda and it’s willingness to break it’s own laws when it suits the Euro project makes the EU project a dangerous one for freedom loving democrats like myself. It is a totalitarian construct. It has achieved, or is still working to achieve every single aim it has set out for; you cannot defeat the will of the EU ruling classes; rare defeats in the past has been temporary as the EU ALWAYS eventually gets it way.

So which party does somebody of a right wing political agenda but it dead set in the idea that we must no longer participate in the EU but leave amicably but with great expedience? Well realistically the Conservatives are not an option. David Cameron will never give us a referendum on the EU, and he will likely re-ratify the Lisbon Treaty this year; he see’s Britain’s future in the EU but like all the others will not give that direction the democratic legitimacy and extend to us the voters a referendum. Had David Cameron not gone back on his Lisbon Referendum pledge last year he would likely have a majority today. A commenter on the DT Site has helpfully compiled this list showing what Dr North would describe as the UKIP effect. That is, these are the seats the Conservatives lost, where the UKIP vote is greater than the Tory losing margin.

Somerton and Frome
Plymouth Moor View
Morley & Outward
Bolton West
Great Grimsby
Walsall North
Walsall South
Southampton Itchen
Dorset Mid & Poole North
Wirral South
Wells (LD gain from Con)
St Austell & Newquay
Derby North
Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East
St Ives
Dudley North

( Note: Most of this post was written yesterday, Dr North today lists 41 seats where the anti-EU vote cost the Tories )

I was one of those voices on the internet that warned that that the UKIP vote would in some seats cost the Conservatives; and it has done more it has denied them an Parliamentary majority. UKIP stood down in seats where the incumbent candidates were sufficiently vocal about the need for an EU referendum; I believe that with a commitment to a referendum on EU membership UKIP would have stood down in many more seats. When most Conservatives when polled tend to agree to either a referendum on membership or a degree of return of powers (unclear how that would happen) why have Cameron, Clarke and Osborne denied us this option?

So, I voted UKIP, but it would seem that I am one of only 3% or so that did. I have no regrets as I voted with my conscience and on the issues that I most care about; UKIP was the only option for me; in this election at least.

However, it is a little disappointing that UKIP were fairly disorganised in some areas; it seems there is little central help and candidates were left to fend for themselves – or at least that would be my assessment. Financially this is a big commitment to take on for UKIP candidates, if it were me I simply could not afford to stand. Despite some good policies and a compelling line that the three big parties are conspiring not to discuss openly how bad our debt crisis really is, it was clear that UKIP are really still a single issue party and that if only the blue team would accept that UKIP are right about EU membership they and the Tories could go back down the pub and get along together again. UKIP would probably disband if the EU membership question was finally settled. The entire UKIP campaign really came down to Buckingham with Nigel Farage being their star performer on TV not really coming close in the end to unseating the Speaker.

In my opinion, I hope UKIP do a little bit of soul searching and maybe take a look at a few things. There is a very real vacuum now on the right of the modern Conservative Party. And though the formula has clearly worked for them in terms of the EU elections, the UKIP formula does not work for UK elections; and a bigger presence in Westminster is exactly what they need to achieve their ultimate aim. I must also declare that I think their £ sign logo makes their literature and sites look dated, and reinforces the idea that they are a single issue party.

I want a party to fill this vacuum and I want that party to be able to win seats in Westminster. If UKIP in their hearts only see themselves as existing until the Conservatives change their point of view then I say we need another party in that void to cater for disenchanted Tories. If UKIP can recognise that for some they now represent more than they initially set themselves up to deliver and recognise that some minor tweaks would help sell them as an alternative to the conservatives on so much more than just Europe then I really truly believe that there is success to be had, and many, many more votes to be won.

Where exactly is my party of the right? In the next five years which party is going to raise the debate and fight for an end to the BBC tax? How about cutting welfare and socialist payments which create dependency and arguing that work should always be more rewarding than welfare? Who will speak out against the encroachment upon our civil liberties? Who on the right is advocating personal tax cuts for the coping classes? Who is going to cut through the bureaucracy and health and safety regulations which are stiffling small business start ups? Who is advocating Parliamentary oversight of judges? Where is the opposition to the new Supreme Court for the UK which cannot rule on devolved matters? Where on the right is advocating more Private Schools and Grammar schools which would allow more kids to get a better standard of education? Who is pointing out how illiberal it is to be a member of the CAP or to tell people how many hours they may work in a week? Who on the right dare question if we should continue as the United Kingdom or separate back to the component nations? Who is going to cut the cost and reach of the state? Who is arguing to an end to QUANGO’s and a minister in Parliament responsible for every penny that is spent of taxpayer’s money? I want a party who agree that life in prison means life in prison for people who commit the most vicious and serious of crimes.

The next few days it will be interesting and I will cheer from the very moment Gordon Brown is finally dragged out of Downing Street. However I am completely disenfranchised now by the major parties and struggling to find a political home and I don’t think I am alone. So what are we going to do?


James Higham said...

I am left wondering where I personally should go now?

Join AA. We were talking about you today. :)

The Boiling Frog said...

A pretty fair and accurate assessment, Daniel. Also a lost opportunity by UKIP to do even better. I was certainly left to fend for myself, and the election ended costing me about £2,000.

UKIP had to its credit a full manifesto this year and was very well received by those who read it but a combination of a shambles at the top and being squeezed by the TV debates (plus a desire by the electorate just to get rid of Brown) meant that the results were a little disappointing.

That said I was pleased with my result - doubled the previous one, though I didn't quite deprive Nicola of winning, damm close though

James Higham said...

Daniel - where's your Gordo resigning post? :)