An end to Vanilla Politics?

In post Brexit times parties are ripping themselves apart.

Some say it is in response to the electorate voting to leave the EU, but the window of opportunity for democracy opened by Brexit seems to be closing fast.

Some of us argued that Brexit was needed because of the lack of democratic representation in Brussels, what the UK parliament calls a ‘democratic deficit‘. However the post Brexit coup in the Labour Party has shown a democratic deficit in the UK.

There is an old idea that the MP is meant to represent the views of the people in their constituency & the members of the party to which they belong. Jeremy Corbyn does both and yet the members of parliament want to remove him because they believe he wont win them power. Whilst they are I am sure right, he occupies the position through the principles of democracy and is right not to resign. He has a democratic mandate and it is, at this moment, likely to be reinforced in the coming weeks by any vote of the membership for leader. The only thing that is likely to change that is if the membership numbers of the Labour party is swollen by new members who wish to vote for someone else. David Cameron calling for Jeremy Corbyn to leave is about as undemocratic, unbecoming and ill advised as promising the end of the world if Britain voted for Brexit.

What this coup really epitomises is the lack of respect MP’s have for the views of the party. Brexit on the other hand illustrated that the Labour politicians are also out of touch with the views of the electorate, so who do they represent? The simple conclusion is ‘themselves’.

Over post thatcher years politics has become bland. Both the main parties, the different colours of left and right are just nuances that  cover a centrist core of ‘vanilla’.  Rhetoric in the media, policy alignment behind the scenes.  As a result the electorate has become bored. How many times do you hear the comment ‘it makes no difference who I vote for they are all the same’? In this blandification of politics the only winners are the career politicians who as a result can do as they like because the electorate aren’t watching. OK, so the media have jumped into the gap, but whilst it may make for entertaining headlines and Punch and Judy TV not many of the electorate care.

At least not until Brexit. Brexit has woken us up: well  72% of us! The crucial thing is that we don’t go back to sleep and we don’t allow our representatives to represent themselves but force them to represent us. The secret to that is getting involved. No point complaining that you don’t have a voice in electing the leader of the party if all you have to do is join it.

This applies equally to the conservatives who in only a slightly more orderly fashion are having their own coup. Already people are complaining that the new Prime Minister will be elected by 150,000 conservative party members, but the answer is to stop moaning and join the party.

 

 

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