A former banker’s disillusionment with British politics Politics
As we enter the final run up to the General election we were not supposed to have, the outcome – widely predicted as a Conservative walkover – may not be straight forward.
Called under Brexit’s cloud, this election offers the possibility that people might resort to tactical voting, breaking free from tribal politics and marking a watershed in the nation’s political evolution.
I will make my own contribution by doing something I have never done before. I have resolved to make a protest vote and break with the habit of a lifetime. Having been an avowedly right of centre blue party follower and sometime activist, on this occasion I will be voting for the Lib Dems. Perhaps this is out of a sense of desperation, maybe frustration, possibly confusion. Will others like me be doing the same thing throwing up unexpected results, or will people simply not vote? How on earth did it come to this?
It might be easy to pin my decision on the resolute determination of the current administration to drive the UK out of Europe no matter on what terms if indeed any. My own track record as vice-Chair of a national Anti-Brexit activist organisation (‘Britain for Europe’) may be reason enough. But there are other issues.
The Labour party’s recent poor performance as an opposition party is undermining Britain’s unique version of parliamentary democracy. The hope that the Prime Minister might come away with no effective opposition at all will have been a key reason for the British people being thrown into another vote. Labour party policy on a range of issues including Brexit and business remains confused. It is not clear from the campaign that the Lib Dems, though crystal clear on their Brexit stance, can win back substantial public support where it matters, notwithstanding my own upcoming support. Hence the unpredictable lurch of the British political mood.
Cynicism is on the rise as politicians fluff their carefully rehearsed lines, invent facts or figures and give new meaning to the whole idea of the ‘U-turn’. Various episodes seem to confirm that the process of policy formulation appears increasingly to be taking place in back rooms, cobbled together by shadowy ideologues and rolled out in a way that surprises the political class as much as the great British public. Indeed, the current standard operating procedure across the main parties appears to be to spare the public the details so they can all be changed later. All policies are deniable and should be viewed as reversible. A complete lack of any detail over the government’s central immigration plans with no minister willing to comment recently is further proof of a troubling trend.
The election debate has also confirmed just how far all parties appear to have drifted away from a constructive dialogue with business. The key processes of making investment decisions and creating employment have traditionally been respected by at least the centre-ground of British politics. Now even the ostensibly business-friendly Conservative party gives a little sign that practical business policies matter. Moreover, the City with its own specific interests and needs has increasingly watched from the sidelines as government policy unfolds in various potentially unhelpful ways. This is troubling at a time when the British economy is likely to require some radical re-engineering in the post Brexit world.
Prior to this election, notable politicians of yesteryear were holding out the possibility of a new political movement to fill the perceived vacuum at the heart of British politics. As pundits pore over the voting statistics in the coming weeks, and various politicians claim real or imagined victories, perhaps the time has come again for a redefinition and reoccupation of the centre-ground of British politics.
Thus, it is against this background that I aim to exercise my right to break with tradition and make a tactical vote. Our electoral system may not be conducive to respecting this act of defiance, but at least I feel I will be voting for business, the City and for a coherent Europe policy.
Courtesy: By Tim Skeet, S0urce link