Damien on… Referenda
As I type, the U.K. election fiasco appears to be entering its fourth quarter – and the air is thick with talk of referenda, on the electorial system.
The Labour party had it in their MANIFESTO. But as a realist/cynic, I find myself wondering if they were simply playing The Long Game.
I mean, knowing what the figures were, they could easily have been PREPARING for the scenario which has in fact unfolded.
While the arrogant Tories simply assumed they would win an outright majority.
Either way, NEITHER of the two “main” parties WANTS electoral reform – they have spent the last ninety years moving the borough boundaries around, to ensure no third party can UNSEAT them.
But now along comes CLEGGY. And it is evident that he is not about to be talked out of the ONLY chance he is ever likely to get to UPSET the ninety-year-old FIX that has kept his party and its predecessors out of government all that time.
After all, it will take MONTHS to extract Britain from the financial crapper she is in – so what difference will a few days taken repairing her electoral system make?
And as for referenda – FORGET it!
Imagine if Britain had referenda on EVERYTHING. Her people would immediately vote to bring back hanging, organise death-squads to hunt down suspected paedophiles and introduce castration (actual, not chemical) for rapists.
Then they would double the budget for health and education – while halving income tax.
Finally, they would pay for it all by cutting the defence budget to ten pounds a year.
The result of which would be that in three months, Britain would have a criminal justice system whose barbarity would make the Middle Ages look liberal in comparison – within six, she would go broke – and within nine, be run by the Russian Mafia.
In short, running a democracy along referendal (is that even a word?) lines DOES NOT WORK. Why? Because most of the population of ANY country are IDIOTS – that’s why!
The thing is, while politicians are corrupt, sleazy and evil – and pretty stupid too – they at least know how to run a country.
While… okay – do YOU think we should give Antarctica independence? Should Britain supply arms to Mgaliland? How about converting all cars to run on cow-sh*t?
Of course, all three of those questions are ridiculous (and I made UP the name Mgaliland). But then, politicians would KNOW that.
The fact is, the job of running a country has to be done by people who have SOME idea of how to DO it. While having referenda on EMOTIONAL issues that do not affect the smooth running of said country is fine, having them on political issues is SUICIDE.
If Blair had not insisted on one over the Pound, Britain would now be INFINITELY better off on the EURO – like every OTHER country in Europe (okay, right now the Euro is in the dumper too – but it is STILL better off than the POUND).
And of course, both the Tories and Labour KNOW a referendum on the electoral system is silly – but then, THIS observer suspects the only reason they are OFFERING one is that they both figure the British voters will REJECT the notion.
You see, the British have always MOANED about The System – but apart from a handful of ACTIVISTS (who the British also REJECT, as nut-jobs) they do not DO anything. They are AFRAID of anything different – anything that is outside of the familiar.
This is evidenced by the fact that in ’88 and this election, the third party were doing well – right up to election night. Whereupon, many of their supporters suddenly CHICKENED OUT and voted for one of the main parties after all.
So while Brown and Cameron are perfectly happy to OFFER Cleggy a referendum – knowing they can accuse him of anti-democracy if he refuses it – if he wants to be SURE of change, he will accept nothing less than GUARANTEED change. Through PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE.
Good luck, Cleggy.
(For more on this, hit – http://corneliusatloppers.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/cornelius-on-britains-corrupt-electoral-system/)