Friday 29th December
What a couple of years. And democracy is the trouble. In America they elected Donald Trump – the less said the better. In the UK they voted for Brexit, and many (according to the pollsters) are now regretting that decision, or at the very least are amazed that nobody explained to them just how much it would cost, how long it would take and how difficult it would be to negotiate a reasonable exit. And the trouble is Democracy, And not as you might expect in the general population. Ordinary people are not to blame. The issues around Brexit have always been complex. That is the very reason that people should never have been given the decision. We elect M.P.s to make these very difficult decisions, to listen to the arguments and to decide on our behalf. The real trouble is Democracy within Parties themselves.
It started with the LibDems – one member one vote. And they elected Clegg. Who has almost single-handedly destroyed them as a Political force. Then the Tories, who used to be elected solely by the M.P.s decided to give their members the final choice, once the M.P.s had whittled the contenders down to just two. And what did we get? Twice, the best candidate Ken Clarke was beaten by mavericks.
Labour, in a fit of ‘not to be left out-ism’ decided too on one member one vote. And Jeremy was the result.
The reason is simple. The membership is far more radical in their Politics than most M.P.s who have sat for hours listening to debates where the arguments are thrashed out in detail, and by and large, decisions agreed on which most of the electorate are reasonably happy with. The membership of both the Tories and Labour are far more right and left wing in their views than most voters. Consequently we are faced with more and more extreme policies at election time. The Tories opting for more and more Privatisation at the expense of a shrinking state – this is extremely popular with the only electorate which matters – the Tory party itself, which will elect the next Leader. Likewise – the Labour party leadership and Shadow Cabinet has one eye fixed on the membership who will be electing the next Leader.
So for the next few elections I think we will be presented with more and more radical ideas. Pity the poor public who will have to decide which to choose. At least it isn’t boring anymore.