Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Liberal Democrats as an alternative, don't make me laugh

For Craig Murray's tastes there was "too much prepared soundbite and especially anecdote" in the debate" between Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron,  On the whole there is much to be admired in Mr Murray's politics and his stance on human rights has always, or at least since his days as British Ambassador in Uzbekistan, been worthy of our praise. Nevertheless, one still gets the impression that Mr Murray puts faith in a system that is most anything but democratic and which, therefore, cannot be reformed through democratic means. Did he really expect the television debate between the leaders of Britain's three main political parties to be anything other than "soundbite and anecdote"?

It is not important to discuss here what  Mr Murray now hopes Nick Clegg will do although we might agree with him and hope that the Liberal Democrat leader goes on the offensive, stands firm in his demand that that absurd British nuclear "deterrent" be scrapped, that he attacks the government for its stance on human rights and that he demand an investigation into corruption in government circles. However, that is not what is important here, after all, it is what comes after more rhetoric and polemic from Mr Clegg that we should look and it is the real implications of his "victory" in the first of three television debate that must be the subject of our attentions.

The very real implication, according to one poll by the 'Sun' newspaper is that the Liberal Democrats would have 30% of the vote if the election were tomorrow, which would, in fact, mean that they would be the United Kingdom's second most popular party after the Conservatives who would get 35% and Labour who would get 28% of the vote. Now, if the Liberal Democrats were to actually offer a real alternative this might perhaps look interesting. However, it is absurd to think that this party, led by a man who relies on "soundbite and anecdote", is actually going to change the system. Furthermore, a closer study of what those percentage figures actually mean, along with the fact that the Liberal Democrats is as much a part of the system as the other two parties, nips any of our hopes for change in the bud.

Firstly, the 28% of the vote for Labour would still mean that Labour would win more of the 646 seats than either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats and, more importantly, the Liberal Democrats would only win some 100 seats with 30% of the vote because of the ridiculously undemocratic system that British elections are subjected to, along with the myriad of undemocratic practices mentioned elsewhere by, among others, Mr Murray himself.  Of course, this still might mean that things could indeed become interesting for, with a hung parliament, we might just see one of the two main players, probably the Labour Party, enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, which if the Liberal Democrats were to actually offer a real alternative, as Mr Murray seems to hope, could lead to Nick Clegg's "victory" being of some significance.

That, however, brings me onto the second point and my claim that Mr Murray appears to still put at least some faith in a system, which he himself says is "no better than Uzbekistan's". The sad thing, of course, is that Mr Murray as a member of the Liberal Democrats, fails to appreciate that his own party is as much a part of this farce as either of the two other main parties and that should Mr Clegg become Chancellor of the Exchequer or Foreign Minister it will very much be business as usual for the corporate buccaneers, finance capital, the oil industry and "Blighty" jingoism Indeed, to think anything else is just as absurd as that thoroughly undemocratic system, which claims to be a democracy par excellence. Or will the three "leaders" be debating the war in Afghanistan next time round?

No comments: