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UK Election: Manifesto Analysis

By codemonkey_uk in MLP
Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 04:44:00 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

With less than two weeks to go till the UK elections, the question on everyone's mind is, who should I vote for - or more likely - how can I sound informed when emailing my British friends?

With campaigns consisting of little more than empty rhetoric, and television focusing on personality and scandal rather than policy the only place to get a real story is the manifesto documents. But who, in this busy world, has the time to read them?

Well, Francis Irving, apparently. And he's been kind enough to post a Manifesto Analysis of the three main parties on his homepage.


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Poll
If I where a UK voter I'd:
o vote Tory 11%
o vote New Labor 22%
o vote Lib Dem 25%
o vote Other 18%
o spoil my ballot 22%

Votes: 54
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Manifesto Analysis
o Also by codemonkey_uk


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UK Election: Manifesto Analysis | 16 comments (8 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Party Representative Democracy is flawed (4.22 / 9) (#1)
by loaf on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:18:00 AM EST

And fundamentally so.

By nature I'm Conservative (and conservative). But at the last two elections I've not voted for their candidate because I objected to the person, not his policies.

This page typifies my feelings: no matter which party reflects your general views, you might disagree with it on some points, and its candidate might disagree with it - and if your choice is unlikely to be part of the winning party, does it matter, but does you voting for that candidate on that basis matter because you're just voting for the party that wins, not the one you're actually following.

On both occasions I've voted for my second choice, the LibDem, but on neither occasion have they won, so my choice is irrelevant. But that's the price you pay in an election, the loser's votes are lost. But your representative is still bound to listen to you - but unlikely to ever reflect your views in parliament.

The UK's House of Commons (the "lower" house, but the one where all the decisions are made) is made up of 657 MPs (plus the elected, but independent speaker). Each represents approx. 80-90,000 people. But the number of swing seats is (usually) at most 30-40 (last time round was exceptional). In these seats around 10-15,000 are the real floating voters. So, realistically, the government (Labour or Conservative as the LibDems are unlikely to ever manage enough until we get genuine PR) is going to be chosen by 300-600,000 people. Or 0.5-1.0% of the population.

Yes folks, democracy is alive and well and living in the UK.

As Winston Churchill said (I paraphrase), "Democracy is the worst form of government, but it's the best we've got"

I can't honestly vote for my representative. I want to be involved in every decision myself. Party politics is a mug's game, but in a constituency of over a few thousand, it's the only way.

I'm with Richard Pryor ("Brewster's Millions") "None of the Above!!"

do it right & there'll be nothing but blue skies (5.00 / 2) (#6)
by eLuddite on Tue May 29, 2001 at 04:16:52 PM EST

(At least in comparison to ivory tower theories.)

As Winston Churchill said (I paraphrase), "Democracy is the worst form of government, but it's the best we've got"

Govt is only as good as it approaches anarchism. Representative democracy, a socialized economy for some degree of socialism that need not be specified in advance (economic haves to go with political haves -- 2 faces of the same coin), massive voter participation and an electorate that opposes its elected govt at every turn is as close to the ideal of anarchy as we are likely to get in a system that promises to be for, by and of the people. The ingredient of active citizenship in modern democracies is simply missing; there is too much voter apathy and not nearly enough political dissent. Not only are people not voting, they are confusing civil disobedience with terrorism. School teaches you to read and write, it prepares you for a career. Why cant it drill the duties of active citizenship?

It doesnt matter if you dissent against liberals or conservatives, all that matters is that you dissent, long and hard. The dynamics of such a system may not be elegant but they consistently work wherever they have been allowed to survive the opportunity. Unfortunately, everytime right succeeds over might, the righteous fall asleep or become overly mighty themselves. Why? Because they arent perceived as a force of opposition that will deserve its own opposition sooner rather than later.

I can't honestly vote for my representative. I want to be involved in every decision myself. Party politics is a mug's game, but in a constituency of over a few thousand, it's the only way.

If we are resigned to simply choosing between a few rulers in waiting, democracy approaches an election of princes, figuratively if not literally (consider the royal Kennedy and Bush families, for example.) If you listen to the talk of party pundits, you cannot help but be struck at how machiavellian the exercise of democracy has become. "I'm not voting, they're all the same" does nothing to oppose a drift towards despotism, it makes it inevitable.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Compromise (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by ambrosen on Wed May 30, 2001 at 07:03:51 AM EST

From my gloating position of being able to make a genuine choice between my two preferred candidates/parties, and have that make a genuine effect on which candidate will actually get in, and whether that increases the governmental majority or helps create a useful opposition party, I have to say just deal with it.

As a voter you'll get on average a fifty millionth of the say in how the country is governed. You can increase this by voting (only a 60-70% turn out), voting in local elections (down as low as 10% turn out in some areas), talking to all your friends about it and galvanizing their opinions into ones similar to yours, helping a political party distribute leaflets, standing as a local councillor, and so on, as your energy and free time and desire to change things permits. So, the amount of influence you get is slightly random according to where you live, but everyone does have plenty of opportunity to increase their influence: it's a democracy of effort, as well as a democracy of right.

Ambrose

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]

More interactively (4.00 / 3) (#3)
by imperium on Tue May 29, 2001 at 11:25:24 AM EST

Try whodoivotefor. This has two main advantages: it allows you to find out more about how the parties fit with your position, rather than Francis's politics.

Also, it includes the Green Party, whose views correspond more closely with those of the British people than the main parties (when polled on the issues), even if they get only about 2% in direct voting intention polls..

x.
imperium

I'm confused (1.00 / 2) (#13)
by Jack Wagner on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 05:05:30 PM EST

What does this have to do with the United States?

Wagner LLC Consulting - Getting it right the first time
Er .... why? (none / 0) (#16)
by amanset on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 09:14:41 AM EST

Why, pray tell, should it have anything to do with the United States? News is news and discussion is discussion. We do not limit reporting and discussion just because it doesn't directly affect our own lives.

[ Parent ]
What about... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by asreal on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 06:58:33 PM EST

...Margaret Thatcher? She has been popping up on the campaign trail for the Conservatives, since it looks like they're going to lose to Labour anyway. But it looks like it might be hurting more than anything. Labour is running some hilarious ads showing Hague with Thatcher's hair, with the caption "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

To me the biggest issue is the Euro, and if the Brits will finally come on board with the continent. Thatcher seems to think it's a bad idea.

i trust i can rely on your vote
-asreal

Not really. (4.50 / 2) (#15)
by pwhysall on Wed Jun 06, 2001 at 07:38:38 AM EST

The Conservatives *wish* the biggest issue was the euro, but it isn't. "Save the pound!" yell the Torys. "Who gives a shit!" yells the public.

"It's the economy, stupid!"

Still as true as ever, and Labour's economic record is impressive. Additionally we Brits don't take kindly to anyone threatening to cut public spending and that's exactly what the Torys have done. Hence their current poll ratings.

Of course the fact that most of the Tory front bench is a bunch of uncharismatic buffoons (with the notable exception of Michael Portillo) doesn't help matters.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

UK Election: Manifesto Analysis | 16 comments (8 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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