Politics Week, 3: System
The British way of doing politics in a “two party system” with a First Past The Post voting system is what keeps the masses in abeyance. We are told that our individual political act (our “duty,” making that a moral imperative in order to compel us) is voting once every few years. Politicians don’t want us to think that any other act might be political – recycling, for instance. They want politics kept away from people. We elect our representatives, who then do their thing for a while, having been given a mandate as they put it. That’s not representation, that’s exclusion.
(Note for today: yesterday’s new session of Parliament described junking the five year term act, a 2021 change specifically designed for one winning party to keep power for as long as possible regardless of the state of the nation.)
In fact, we don’t have a two party system, we have a one party system. A general election is two sides of boys slugging it out for the right to wield power through a vast hierarchy. Politics, like monarchy, is about the exercise of the thing and the thing itself. It’s about imposition of will – as with monarchy. It’s about a sole leader who triumphs over all; just like monarchy. Unlike the Greens, no major British political party would dare have joint male and female leaders. That’s not how tradition works. In Britain we give the Opposition a capital O in order to conceal how meaningless it is, not just how toothless. Meanwhile, we don’t even dignify the third party or any others with such an appellation. Politics in Britain is swaddled in glory.
We would have a two party system if there was Proportional Representation voting, since that would not only be a fair system right across the nation (no “safe” seats and no “marginal” seats) it would bring about coalitions, in which both sides got to act. Coalitions, I hear you ask? Aren’t they all about compromise and suchlike? Yes. Compromise. The accommodation of two or more sides in a just manner in the national interest. Politics, in other words.
In a safe seat, any vote not for the winning candidate is worthless. It literally cannot act. Only in marginal seats is there a direct correlation between the act of voting and the possible outcome. That system disenfranchises about two thirds of British voters. Not that they care.
Of course, the main obstacle to reform is the British national conservative character. We love our monarch. We can’t understand a party with two leaders. We focus on the apex. We think about tradition. We do what we’re told. As they say in Japan, the nail which stands out is hammered down.
And this is a predominantly male view. Spitting Image put Thatcher in a suit and had her smoking a cigar because she was effectively a man, playing their game according to their rules. Politics will continue to be a man’s world for as long as the male view is the only view – and that includes women masquerading as men.
The British system is broken. But that is the case because it has remained located somewhere in the eighteenth century in a country moving forward at a rate of one year per year. When I look at Parliament, it’s hard to reconcile with today’s date. All I see is the dead hand of history, founded in dark stones and the hides of dead animals dyed mouldy green. All I see is 1821: Tories still in power and somebody with lots of money sitting on a throne, cushioned by the admiring oohs and aahs of the hierarchy-loving masses.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. There can be no true revolution until British innate conservatism has been exposed, left to wither, then discarded.