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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Casting a vote rather than a shadow

I have always enjoyed general elections.

I try to ensure I have watched a good selection of party political broadcasts as well as the debates on Newsnight and so on.

Just try breathing easily. Sit down if you must. It's all going to be fine.

I admit, politics in this country could be a lot more interesting than it is. That's why I urge you all to consider carefully before you cast your vote for one of the main two parties, especially if you vote that way because you always have, your dad or mum (or both) did or because the paper you read have pointed out all the reasons you should.

There has been a lot of nonsense written (and said) about why coalition politics don't work. The people who have said this most loudly have always been from those two main parties.

So consider this. If someone asked you which government(s) in Europe would you consider to (probably) be more advanced than ours how would you answer?  Which society in Europe you would consider (probably) looks after its people better than we do?  If you weren't British, which country would you prefer to have been born in?

Did you answer with any Scandinavian states?  Perhaps to more than one of those questions?

Many of our European neighbours and particularly the Scandinavians know a great deal about coalition politics because it is rare for one party to have a workable majority.

So, as  certain elements of our two main parties would have you believe, do they spend their time in unproductive deadlock, unable to function or be progressive?
Well, oddly, not. In fact, we probably regard some of the Scandinavians as the most progressive societies in Europe. They also have very strong economies. Go and see how much it costs you to buy a beer in Denmark and Sweden if you don't believe me. Their average workers have a higher expectation than ours.

The truth about coalition is that it involves compromise and compromise involves sensible negotiations.  In the end, the parties find enough common ground to do what is best for their country and people.  The result is that the politics are a lot more grown up.

I find the level of arguement that we see trotted out, here, to be largely disappointing. To watch Ed Milliband in particular, waving his finger and filling the air with insubstantial rhetoric reminds me of David Cameron at the last election. They behave like schoolboys and when you see some of the behaviour in Parliament, our Parliament, held up by so many to be an example to the world, don't you cringe? Howling each other down, shouting and booing. It only needs the hurling of bread rolls and we are back at high tea in Cambs or Oxon, Eton or Harrow, ragging some of the other fellows.

So, if you want adult politics, if you want to hear thoughtful propositions that differ on key points and if you would like a government where we get compromise on bills to replace the dogma, perhaps you will think longer before you put your cross in the box.

Read the flyers, at least. Decide which party actually sounds like it best matches your current thoughts on what should be done and vote for them. Or vote for a local MP because you actually like what he/she does for the local community.

I have alway loved watching the returns coming in from our elections. The only thing that has saddened me over the years has been people's cowardice in voting to retain the two party system when they could have brought a third and a fourth into a stronger position with others returning a handful not just one mp.  The swing is artificial. The reality is at each election, there is a blank slate. If the majority came out and voted for whoever they wanted, how different might it look?  

So don't afraid to show your True Colours.   (They might be beautiful like a rainbow)