Tired of Election Politics

It is said that we get the politics we deserve. Don’t vote and you are ruled by the party that others choose for you.

Of course that’s not quite true. Our ‘first past the post’ system means that most votes count for nothing as they are for candidates that have no chance of getting elected. As the saying goes ‘put a red [or blue or yellow] rosette on a donkey here, and he will get elected.

That has made it difficult for smaller parties to get a seat – at least until now. The inclination in the past for people to follow traditions, like miners voting labour and aspiring managers preferring the blue rosette, is under attack. It seems that no longer do so many of us follow the old tribes.

I’ll come clean and declare that for decades I have been a Liberal; and then Liberal Democrat when the party merged with the Social Democrats. I have canvassed in two constituencies and been to conference – well I did in 1974. And whilst my allegiance remains there I am less dogmatic these days and more critical of policies; I could be wooed away if I found a better option.

The 2010-15 government showed that we can get better politics when parties of very different colours work together. Sure, there had to be policy compromises and I am saddened that Nick Clegg appears so unpopular over tuition fees. The price to pay for coalition can be painful. He is a very honest politician who, despite the fees issue, cares so much about education.

This year we will still have Labour or Tory as the largest parties but now there is the option to vote for ‘king makers’. For the first time every vote can count. Even in dominant constituencies where there has been a clear winner in the past the incumbent must feel the challenge of the trend in British politics.

Having gone through the possibility of losing Scotland from the Union we find ourselves with the possibility that the Scottish Nationalists will hold considerable power in the next UK Government.

But as we enter the 2015 hustings and I am utterly dismayed. [tweetthis]Utterly dismayed with election campaigning[/tweetthis]

On the one hand I am delighted and excited that it is likely we will get another minority government. I have seen the dominance of either left or right in the past as a form of dictatorship.

Firstly I admit to being worried about the popularity of UKIP. I guess I should not be surprised after the years of being dictated to by the current main parties. But UKIP is just a populist gang that has a series of mantras that appeal in the way politicians have learned the dark art of sound bites. It’s easy when you have never had to prove your policies to sound the answer to all our problems – real or imagined.

But what frustrates me far more is how this election is becoming so negative. I saw the front page of the Daily Mail that said ‘Queen of Scots – the Most Dangerous Woman in the UK‘ referring, of course to Nicola Sturgeon.  And the same style pervades others with Cameron and Milliband striking out at each other and Farage finding problems in everyone and everything.

If I want to decide how to vote I want to know all about the parties’ policies and how they plan to govern. I want to know what to vote for – not why other parties are such a bunch or stupid people which, of course , they are not.

Politicians get a bad press and are low on public appeal but, contrary to what I hear, so many people saying, most of them care passionately about serving there constituencies and work very hard. The minority of crooks and self-severs get the publicity. But, then, every profession and occupation has its minority of bad eggs. Politicians are just the same so why do we spend so much time and energy getting upset by them?

So – if you are campaigning and want my vote this time – tell me who you are, what you care about, what you policies are, and how you will make Britain a better place for everyone.