Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Least Worst Option


Democracy in Britain is not a free choice. The candidates are limited by custom and opportunity. Experience tells us that even the most idealistic and dedicated elected representative is often effectively controlled, sidelined and silenced by the establishment. Political parties, civil servants, powerful interest groups and, too often, self interest and ambition prevail over the welfare of the individual voter and their community. No wonder that voting is so often a minority pastime.

In England the United Kingdom Independence Party has become that least worst option for a quarter of voters in the English Shires. UKIP has chosen popular scapegoats to attack. The ills of the economy, they say, are due to the mad ravages of the European Union, foreigners who march forward relentlessly to impose a United states of Europe on an unsuspecting continent. The lack of housing, decent schools and weekly rubbish collection in your neighbourhood, they claim, is a result of your council spending wildly on the immigrants from all over the world who flock here to take our benefits and council houses. Importantly, UKIP can promise to represent your wishes and your community without the impressive record of disappointment and failure of the others on your ballot paper.

In Wales the council elections in Anglesey show another aspect of democracy. Problems in that council led to Welsh government commissioners being brought in to run the council. The problem was assumed to be due to the council being run by Independent Councillors who were unable to provide “stability”.The election was intended to produce “real” political party councillors who apparently could be trusted to run a council. Despite changing the ward boundaries, having multi-member wards and reducing the number of councillors, the Independent councillors still came out tops and promptly formed a coalition with the tiny group of Labour councillors to run the show. Another example of the least worst option for some voters not being the standard fare of the old, failed political parties.

In Anglesey overall, UKIP came "4th" with over 7%, Conservatives 5th  and Liberals 6th, both with a little over 5%.. The Old Guard has a credibility problem. Perhaps they should look at Bell's Principles for inspiration on how it should be done?