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Politics Is Failing

271

“MPs are often proud of their records in government and their roles in parliament, and many will be hurt that I have criticised things which they valued deeply. Some will feel I am unfair, bitter and ungrateful. To which I can only answer that our government and Parliament, which one had a reasonable claim to be the best in the world, is now in a shameful state. And this is in part because other insiders - whether concerned for their friendships, their reputations and their future careers, or simply more tactful than myself - continue to conceal its horrifying decline.”

143

As a regular Labour voter, I have watched and worried about the state of our (UK) democratic processes. I have felt that the problems is partially the result of a Parliamentary voting system which fails, almost completely, to accurately reflect the wishes of the electorate as exemplified by the significant proportion of the population who fail to vote in both national and local elections. In a supposed free and democratic system the authorities have few answers (with little apparent concern) to this low level of democratic participation. With the new identification voting rules the level of voting is likely to decrease even further (following the USA trend). As in the USA, Britain has, due to its first-past-the-post voting system, a two-party system and usually domination by a single political party.

424

For several years now, or maybe even longer, politics has emphatically ruled over what’s best for the country and its people. Thatcher’s policy of selling council homes (social housing) at a substantial discount without replacing them is one of the primary reasons for the British social housing crisis, with its critical shortage of affordable rental council homes - a policy sustained by both later Conservative and Labour legislators. Amongst the many problems plaguing the UK, housing is amongst the most serious and life-changing (and especially for the young).

108

“‘Forget the MPs, and spend more time in Cumbria,’ said my father who had served in government for thirty-five years, ‘Parliament is a talking shop, darling, full of windbags. The constituency is where you’ll get job satisfaction. Get things done. Be the district commissioner for Cumbria and bugger the whips.’ I was tempted to agree. The more inert, depressing and shallow Parliament and government seemed, the more I was drawn to the potential of communities.”

192

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