real change

It’s always interesting to see the swing in elections.  This election has seen a general swing from the centre left parties like Labour and the Liberal Democrats to the centre right Conservative party.

There wasn’t much of a swing from the left to other left leaning parties.  I find that odd.

My friend Leo uses a great illustration of the oddness of switching from labour to tory:

Imagine a future in which many of the Roman Catholics in the world decide that they want to show how annoyed they are with the Pope (and, let’s face it, there’s much to be disappointed with).

How do they register their dissatisfaction? Well, in my future scenario, they all leave the Catholic Church and convert to Islam.  ”Hold on a minute,” I hear you say, “That would never happen .. surely they would join a denomination that holds many of the same principles of Catholicism but is different enough to be, well, different?”  Maybe the United Reformed Church or one of the other nonconformist denominations, perhaps … but no, they all convert to Islam.

Too far fetched, d’you reckon? Apparently not. When the people of this green and septic, I mean, sceptered, Isle wished to show their displeasure with the current government they didn’t change their allegiance to a party that holds some of the same basic principles as the incumbent government, no, they went to the party that was diametrically opposite!

He’s right.

To switch from Labour to Tory or Lib Dem to Tory or the other way makes no sense and might even show a real lack of understanding of the core values of our political parties.

I’m sure that our electoral system has a huge part to play in this switching.  People have so few options that in our first past the post two horse race the only way people can imagine change is to back the other big party.

Electoral reform is crucial.  The Lib Dems got 23% of the vote and got 8% of the seats.  That’s just not right.

Perhaps the real electoral reform required is for us, the electorate, to become more politically aware, more engaged and to vote our conscience rather than out of fear or lack of choice.

2 thoughts on “real change”

  1. The illustration is potentially flawed. It assumes that people change their vote rather than not vote and for those who didn’t vote (in protest) to begin voting again. That said, it’s only one possibility. I’d be curious to know just how many people actually change their vote.
    But yes, either way, electoral reform is overdue.

  2. Unfortunately, I think that a lot of voting these days is on personality rather than policies. I blame the media for quite a bit of it, but also people themselves who just don’t take the time to understand what the various parties stand for.

    I look forward to some electoral reform in Canada, although I don’t see it happening too soon. Good luck with the minority government thing. We’ve had that for a few years now and it seems that all it brings is more fighting and posturing. i haven’t seen too much working together yet. Of course when it looks like something is about to happen, the Pm just prorogues parliament, but that’s a whole other story altogether!

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