Getting New Labour Out of Office
Disenchantment with the New Labour Project is growing by the day in most areas of society and it's reflected by an increasing number of bloggers looking for ways to get Bliar and chums evicted from the House.
Over at Great Britain, not Little England, MatGB sums his concerns about PukeLabor up as follows:
The New Labour project started as a method of making Labour electable again, by bringing under control their less, shall we say, thoughtful, elements. In government, it has taken that controlling tendency further. It is taking control of our lives.
1. We are to be tagged, numbered and categorised; [by means of an] "unhackable" database?
2. Businesses are to be regulated out of allowing their customers choices with legitimate products.
3. We are to be subject to summary confiscations and surveillance
4. Our right to protest has been restricted
5. If they could, they'd ban us from mocking religion
6. But they don't want us to "glorify" Bad Things
7. The vaunted change of leadership is being set as a coronation
So much for democracy and individual freedom.
To MatGB's concerns, I'd like to add the two utterly unnecessary and costly (in more than one way) invasions of countries that never fired a single shot at us, in the name of the "war on terror".
So, how is the miracle of toppling Poobah Bliar to be achieved then? Well, proposed tactics vary, so no surprise there. My own fear is that replacing New Labour brings its own dangers: replace it with what? What we're seeing on the Conservative side is hardly encouraging: Cameblairon's scramble for the centre ground means getting the Conservatives in could be no more than jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. And prospects for a Lib Dem victory remain bleak.
So I don't have a short term solution. But in the long term proportional representation is the only form of Government that can avoid another Bliar debacle, or another Thatcherite epoch for that matter. To many, even progressive bloggers the idea of coalition governments will sound like anathema, profoundly un-British and a purely continental form of government.
But we should look at the facts.
1. We have a winner-takes-all electoral system and as a result, provided the winning party has a clear majority, the latter can do exactly as they please. You can call that democracy or you can call it mob rule.
2. The system invariably leads to a de facto two party system: a stalemate as it were. Relatively few voters are interested in giving their vote to a party that has little chance of achieving executive power (for that party read: Lib Dems).
3. The system leads invariably to a scramble for the centre ground, the lowest common denominator: that's where the majority of the votes are. As a result voters effectively choose between almost identical manifestos. This is certainly true today.
Of course a two-party system can work but it relies heavily on a strong opposition. With a Conservative party in total disarray after the 1997 landslide, such a strong opposition is (possibly) only now starting to re-emerge. And as incumbent governments always have an easier time of holding onto power, that's exactly what we've seen happening with New Labour, resulting in the current hubris (to quote Clare Short).
Let's look at proportional representation. In this system, political parties present a clear and distinguishable programme for government, each appealing to their slice of the electorate. They don't need to appeal the whole of the electorate because they won't need a majority of the vote to be part of government.
After the election has been held, two or more parties agree on a common government agreement and form a majority government. The agreement will reflect voters' preferences.
The criticism that's perhaps most often levelled at the system of coalition government is that such governments are inherently less stable. To some extent that's true: compromises can be tricky to reach and prone to fractures. But it's also a common misconception that fallen coalition governments automatically require new elections. In most cases a new government agreement can be reached, perhaps involving a new government partner, based on the same election results.
Don't dismiss the idea out of hand, just think about it...
Keywords: Blair, New Labour, government, Tories, Lib Dem, coalition, UK