Thursday, 6 May 2010

However you vote today, demonstrate on Saturday

Many readers of Next Left will already know about the planned Demo for Democracy this coming Saturday at 2pm in Trafalgar Square, but just in case....

Details of the event and supporting Facebook page are at OurKingdom.

If the votes and seats stack up anything like the polls are suggesting, this election will be one more indication of just how fundamentally our political system is broken.

On the one hand, we have Labour die-hards seriously suggesting Gordon Brown should soldier on without a parliamentary majority and regardless of how well Labour does in the popular vote, 'daring' the Lib Dems to vote him down.

On the other, we have the Conservatives - with far more support from their friends and masters in the press - arguing that they are entitled to govern the country even without a parliamentary majority and on barely more than a third of the popular vote.

And already the Conservative commentators are starting to float the line that the country needs now to put all this silliness about constitutional reform to one side and get back to the 'serious' matter of the budget deficit.

Its only habit, and the way custom dulls our senses, that makes this state of affairs seem anything other than scandalous.

It is scandalous.

And we have a choice. We can sit passively in the next few days and weeks hoping that somehow, out of the confused wrestling match of the post-election period, the political elite will gradually find its way to a programme of reform....

Or we can decide that, as members of a sovereign citizen body, as citizens, it is our right and duty to stand up against the scandal of the British political system and pressure the politicians to do the right thing.

A key to success here, I think, is how the membership organizations of the left respond. Will groups like Compass, Progress and the Fabians come out in support of this demonstration and the further demos that will surely need to follow?

Its not just things like electoral reform that are at stake here. Its also about how far Labour can start to engage with the new democratic politics or remain locked outside of it.

Stuart White teaches politics at Oxford University. He writes at Next Left in a personal capacity and is not a spokesperson for the Fabian Society.


Roger Thornhill said...

The media loved Blair and you could have heard a pin drop from the Left.

Now you think it is not for you, it MUST be against you.

I am not Left, I am not Right and I am not from the Authoritarian Lib/SocDem centre.

"Democracy" is not what we need, it is Rule of Law. Democracy is just the least bad way of maintaining it, and recently it has failed.

Newmania said...

PR would be the thousand year Reich of the consolidated centre left.
We will join with the Angels in marble and defeat your plan to reduce us from pro-active citizens to a fucking focus group.

Come to the protest "reason for it tba" ...sums it up