Every five years, or thereabouts, British people are allowed to vote for Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) put up by different political parties, choosing the one they wish to represent them in parliament until the next General Election.
PPCs stand for election in Parliamentary Constituencies - the country is divided up into parcels so that, as far as is possible, each elected Member of Parliament (MP) represents the same number of constituents (people living in a constituency who are entitled to vote). Thus a city may have one MP and a large, mainly rural constituency (such as Barrow and Furness) will also just have one MP even though this MP has a much greater geographical area to cover than the city MP. All registered voters are allowed to cast their ballot (put a cross against the name of their favoured candidate on the ballot paper and post it into the ballot box) in total secrecy....except the number on the ballot paper is the same as that against their name on the Electoral Register.
Under our present electoral system there are (in England) really only three main contenders: Conservative Party, New Labour Party and the Liberal Democratic Party. Smaller Parties also stand candidates with varying degrees of success.
At one time it was generally accepted that the Conservatives looked after the interests of the nobs, the mega-rich (the Boss class) and the Upper Middleclass whilst Labour served the interests of the Workingclass and the Lower Middleclass. The Liberal Democrats try to be all things to everyone but, when push comes to shove, invariably come down on the side of the nobs and the Boss class.
Nowadays, however, there is no such distinction as NEW Labour also looks after the nobs, Boss class and Upper Middleclass to the disadvantage of the Workingclass and the Lower Middleclass whose members now feel they have no one who will represent them in government. A few radical MPs may be elected but their numbers are never great enough to be of any significant influence on government decision making. Furthermore, democracy is supposed to be about choice but where is the choice when presented with a Conservative CAPITALIST Party, New Labour CAPITALIST Party and Liberal Democratic CAPITALIST Party?
When a large section of the population feels its interests are being ignored there are several courses open to it. The people can either engage in extra-parliamentary activity (demonstrate, as in the picture above) or join a political party that will genuinely look after their interests, seriously address their concerns and stay true to its progressive principles.
Today, sections of British people choose to demonstrate rather than take a definite political step beyond 'the familiar' (Tories, New Labour, LibDem) or to opt out of voting altogether.
But, of course, things are not as clear cut as they seem for there are a myriad reasons why people believe and act in the way they do. And that's not surprising given the forces that are brought to bear upon them - influences of culture, family, life/work experiences, the barrage of opinions/propaganda delivered daily by the press, magazines, radio, TV and the internet. Only a strongminded person can take what is delivered with a pinch of salt, see through the lies and deceptions and, by further reading, arrive at a sensible and balanced conclusion - just the sort of person it is hoped will follow (and maybe comment upon) the issues raised in this and future postings.
It is expected the 2010 General Election will be held on Thursday 6th May. The New Labour government has dished out loads of dosh (hundreds of billions of pounds of tax-payers' money) to irresponsible bankers, who caused the huge economic collapse, so that these same irresponsible bankers can carry on in the same old way and award themselves personal bonuses of millions of pounds.
The bankers have got our money - what do we get? Well, nothing, actually. There's nothing left, they tell us, to invest in British industry and commerce to protect jobs or to create new work opportunities. But there's still a goodly sum for continuing the illegal occupation of Afghanistan (an extra FOUR BILLION POUNDS for 2011 no less) and anything from 25 to 100 billion for a new fleet of (now obsolete) subs to carry American Trident nuclear missiles. According to several surveys and opinion polls, a majority of the British public would rather these funds be spent on improving the domestic situation here at home. Surely, in a democracy, the government is the servant of the people and not a dictatorship that just serves the interests of a very wealthy minority to the detriment of everyone else?
Other things the government wishes to do (like getting the country out of debt) require the government to raise more money. Whichever Party (Tories, New Labour or LibDem) heads the next government it will implement savage cuts in public services (meaning job losses and poorer services), impose pay restraints (freeze wages and salaries) whist allowing the private sector to raise prices and charges and grab the lucrative bits of health care.
The Tory, New Labour and LibDem axes are being sharpened and readied for use against YOU as this blog is being composed. Are you ready for the trials and tribulations ahead? Will you be comforted in your misery by knowing you live in a democratic country in which the rich get even richer and the poor get even poorer? You make the choice and you pay the price.
Boss class? Middleclass? Workingclass? What's all this class stuff?