After a week of mourning and aggressive outbursts, combined with the removal of several friends on my Facebook, I have finally calmed down over Brexit; but the political dust storm certainly has not settled in this country, let alone the rest of the world.
I did tell a lot of people to get stuffed, and am still considering leaving a political passion for the birds, it’s consumed my parents for their entire lives, I’m not sure If I want it to do the same to me.
But now I’ve picked up my toys I threw out of the pram, and the dummy is back in place, I think now it’s important to acknowledge – in my opinion – the elephant in the room.
First let’s look at what do we know at the moment?
- Remain campaigners are passionately marching in London
- A majority of Leave voters are sticking to their guns, although 1.2 million according to Opinium online market researcher have now changed their minds.
- The Conservatives have begun their search for a new Prime Minister, the choice is now the far right nutter, or the far far right nutter. I think we may even miss David Cameron if either May or Gove get elected. They’ve already stabbed Boris in the back, whom I sense was actually relieved to not clean up the mess he significantly helped create.
- Labour moderates have rebelled on mass, 170 to 40 voted a no confidence motion. But this is in stark contrast to the grass-roots, where Corbyn holds a mandate from 60% of the labour membership.
- And the Lib-Dems who are united, are not trying to build a progressive alliance with anyone who is “left” of the Tories, but tactically only looking to persuade Labour moderates to join their party instead. Despite the fact that Labour moderates tend to have a more authoritarian stance then liberal, which would undoubtedly create rifts with left-leaning Liberals, or radicals as they like to be known.
- Greens are in disarray but loosely backing Corbyn
- UKIP are resting on their laurels, and look a little perplexed at what to do next. Other than Farage, who is actively shouting at anyone European, and making any future negotiations increasingly difficult.
The parallels between this and HBO’s Game of Thrones is incredible, despite the lack of mythical creatures, magic, violence and incest – Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if Farage had predicted hordes of Wildlings and White Walkers were poised to invade our country during the referendum, if we didn’t vote leave.
Everyone is hopelessly divided, but all are trying to playing their cards right to gain power. I find myself completely lost on who to believe in (although this may still be post-Brexit shock). I’ve yet to understand what it feels like to get over leaving an international democracy, mainly because we haven’t bloody left it yet. Unfortunately I think we have too; not because we may want to in the end, but because the Europeans have had enough of us faffing around, whilst there are serious global issues to address.
I’m not tribal with political parties, I believe more in principles like a publically run education system, nationalised healthcare, and energy. I like the idea of a basic income, a fair taxation system (which doesn’t only benefit the super-rich), and a high minimum wage. Despite these socialist ideals, I believe absolutely in the liberal values of privacy, competitive free markets outside of what I’ve stated, and the ability to work towards higher paid work. I chose Corbyn’s labour because this is the closest to me realizing what I believe in, although I’m increasingly disenfranchised from all parties who talk little about their belief systems, and more about electability.
The “elephant in the room” I’ve alluded to earlier is about devolving power, and allowing us a proportional democracy, rather than the archaic voting system we have at the moment. This isn’t a system that enough people, and most importantly politicians, are talking about at the moment. The Conservatives know that they cannot rule as a majority in this system, this is their secret weapon to keep power, and why they called a referendum in the first place – for fear of UKIP taking votes off them in a general election. The problems with Labour are the same; they can never form a majority without First-Past-The-Post, and this is why they fear Jeremy Corbyn, who has rallied a significant left wing movement in the country, but not enough to win a majority either.
Although I think a lot of our problems with inequality, poverty, and austerity started with Thatcher in the 80’s, I would like to take aim at Blair’s government. They had a chance to bring in proportional representation whilst in power, and they didn’t to try to keep power to themselves. Under this system, less than 30% of the electorate are ever happy with their parliament representatives. I believe this is fundamentally why people voted to Leave the European Union, not because they had any genuine, tangible issues with international democracy, but because they thought for once their vote would count for something.
The media and the public talk about the rise in the radical left wing, and right wing politics in the world – Corbyn and Farage in the UK, Trump and Sanders in the States for example. But what do these “democracies” have in common? They both have a system which only represents a small minority of voters; people are forced to vote for the least, worst option; the lesser of two evils. This system quite often leads to a concentration of power. And this concentration of power allows big business and the ultra-wealthy to dictate government policies using their financial influence.
What people fundamentally don’t understand about the European Union, is that the system was proportional. Our (proportionally) elected MEP’s, formed coalitions with other MEP’s across the union, parties had to compromise on their views to put through legislations created by the Commission. Our system in the British national government is more like an elected monarchy – the Cabinet decide legislations and policies, and the whip makes sure every MP in the party votes with them. Those that rebel have to gamble whether their decision will hold them back from any promotion. You may cite Corbyn as being a contradiction to this (the man who rebelled 428 times since being elected as an MP) but look what his own party currently think of his values. Tory rebels also tend to be ousted quickly, disloyalty is punished without mercy. Those that follow the whip, fearing retribution, don’t even have to turn up to any debates or meetings. You ever wonder why the chambers always seem so empty?. Despite the fact we elect 650 MP’s who are meant to campaign on our behalf?
Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but what is clear from the referendum is not whether being a member of the European Union is an issue, but more that our own national government just isn’t working. I was shocked to hear a prominent Labour representative of the South West, that I needed to put my principles in a box, that I and many others were sacrificing power, and we didn’t believe in a Labour government. He was right in one thing; I don’t necessarily believe that this country needs a Labour government, it really isn’t about which party is in power. What this country needs is a redistribution of wealth, well-funded public services, social mobility and the liberty to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life; and I will support a party, whether Labour or someone else, that is dedicated to this
We need to talk less about the people we put in power, and more about how we can further empower people.
*If you want more information about Proportional Representation, check out this awesome video.