Politics Just Became More Interesting

There’s a lot of soul searching going on in the UK over the European Election results. Here’s my take on it all…

  • Those complaining most about the low turnout need to think about what they want to do in order to stop low turnout. The best thing to do is to join a political party and work to get people to the ballot box to vote for what you believe in.
  • Trouble is, I don’t find a party I want to belong to.
  • The above 2 points are the problem.  (Or at least, they are my problem with politics at the moment).
  • The media coverage from the BBC seemed particularly biased. I don’t like criticising the Beeb because I love it but it really did seem to have become the UKIP Broadcasting Corperation and I still can’t quite fathom why.
  • I don’t think I know a single person who has told me they were supporting UKIP. Now – is that because I’m in a little bubble and I genuinely don’t know anyone who votes that way or is it because voting that way is not socially acceptable?
  • Nick Clegg made a number of strategic errors in taking on Nigel Farrage in TV debates. Firstly it got Farrage even more coverage and allowed him to appear to be an equal when he wasn’t. Secondly Clegg failed to merge the UKIP and Tory brand. (People like me wonder whether he is opposed to the Tories at all – he just doesn’t come across as disliking what they stand for and someone in his position needs to be able to convey something a little stronger than dislike). Thirdly, he didn’t really do it well enough – die-hard party members were impressed by him but that’s not what the exercise is all about. Keep it Simple is still effective. (One of the posts that I had up recently which got lots of traction was about why I’m supportive of the EU because of mobile phone roaming, oh yes, and because we don’t tend to go to war in Western Europe with one another as once we did).
  • Policywise I hope that political parties concentrate on those who didn’t vote rather than those who voted UKIP.
  • I fear they won’t.
  • I was surprised that the SNP did not increase their share of the vote.
  • I wasn’t surprised that the Lib Dem vote collapsed.
  • I feel for the Greens who were struggling to get a word in edgeways. I kind of wish that I could vote Green but the trouble is, they’ve got their policies.
  • The Liberal Democrats are not going to do better until they have a change in leader and until there is obvious contrition. It is going to get worse before it gets better.
  • I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but I can’t take the leadership of the Labour Party in Scotland seriously.
  • Thank God there was no “Christian” party on the ballot paper.
  • Politics just got more interesting because people don’t know what it all means and don’t know what comes next.
  • That’s the best politics in the world.

You got your own take? Share it in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Eric Stoddart says

    Good points Kelvin.
    On the BBC issue it’s worth thinking about it as a long term blurring of boundaries of news and entertainment. Infotainment loves the human interest dimension – Farage and UKIP are strong characters – but can lose sight of content. Nuanced discussion of content, not just political, is deemed to be boring.
    On the misperceptions of the British public around many issues the KCL and Ipsos Mori study last year ‘Perils of Perception’ is deeply worrying. There’s a summary at http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3188/Perceptions-are-not-reality-the-top-10-we-get-wrong.aspx. This runs a feedback loop within the press which reinforces misperceptions for political reasons that the public then imbibe and so on.

    Matthew Parris had a good piece in The Times the other day about politicians being frightened to tell the public that they, the public that is, are wrong.

  2. I’ve never had a problem telling the public that they, they public, are wrong myself…

  3. Neil Oliver says

    Your first two points have been made today on a number of occasions, as such I have joined the Green Party. I suspect that I don’t necessarily agree with all the policies, but it feels the best fit to me. So challenge accepted, as you’re right things did just get more interesting. I’d prefer people to vote left / left of centre, but I’d at the least I hope people just voted for whatever they believed in.

  4. Gilly Charters says

    ‘They’ve got their policies’? The Green Party certainly does have policies- I couldn’t support a party that didn’t!
    There’s no way anyone could agree with everything in a manifesto but the Green Party definitely provides the ‘best fit’ for me. And I am deeply saddened that the BBC didn’t provide more even-handed coverage for a party that does have an MP.

    • The trouble is, I don’t like the Green Party’s policies. On energy they seem naive, on independence I’m just not persuaded and I’ve not a clue what they think about the economy.

      And I need more than one word (“green”) to persuade me.

  5. Charlie Hill says

    In south east England there was a Christian party of the ballot: The Christian People’s Alliance who polled about 15,000 votes

  6. David Kenvyn says

    I am now wondering about a possible scenario, as follows:-

    1. Scotland votes “Yes” in September.
    2. Scotland opts to retain the pound as its currency.
    3. Scotland opts for EU membership.
    4. England votes “No” in the EU referendum. And I choose my words here carefully. Wales and Northern Ireland could vote “Yes” but if England votes to quit the EU, that settles the matter.
    5. Scotland could be in the EU but without a currency that is within the EU.

    What happens next? I have no idea, and it will not affect the way that anyone votes in the referendum in September. But Kelvin is right, politics have just become more interesting and “May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse.

  7. Allan Ronald says

    I feel very much the same as you do, Kelvin, especially about the need for greater involvement [though I did vote—65 year olds tend to!] and the lack of any party to which one can give an enthusiastic adherence. If the Lib Dems were more like the Liberal party of Jo Grimond, to which I belonged as a 1960s Young Liberal, they would have my support. Question is, do I want to join them now and work for change from within? I hae ma doots.

  8. Randal Oulton says

    People are very passionate about political ideas and topics these days; far less so than they are about parties.

    I’m wondering if this is the start of the post-party era, where we should start pondering direct votes on issues, by-passing elected reps who may no longer be needed. In a hundred years, having someone vote for you on a particular issue when you can do it yourself from your phone may seem like a very expensive anachronism.

    • Press 1 to re-introduce the death penalty, press 2 to oppose it, press 3 if you don’t know…

    • Eric Stoddart says

      Representative democracy needs all the support it can get. Direct democracy can sound attractive but is deeply problematic. Few issues can be boiled down to a binary yes or no. We elect representatives to engage in sophisticated debate and analysis because issues are complex. Just a few minutes watching a parliamentary committee at work can be salutary. Of course the quality of debate and of the representatives varies greatly but, in principle, it has to be made to work.
      The alternative is single-issue decision-making that ignores, or simply is unable to understand, the ramifications and interconnected nature of decisions.
      Politicians need our support especially when they become targets for vilification in the media. This fosters a dangerous feedback loop that favours those who have vested interests in so-called direct ‘democracy’.
      I’m not denying that some politicians have been corrupt and some are foolish. But improving the quality of our representatives is much more important than bypassing them.

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