ConDeming Us To A Generation Of Misery
I try not to air my political preferences. I choose not to tell people how and why I vote unless I’m sure that they want to know, and that they will respect the reasoning behind my decisions. After the events of the past few days I feel that I need to put aside my privacy – for now at least – and share my beliefs.
Friends of mine will tell you, if asked, that I stated quite clearly before the last general election “there is no political party who I wish to see in government”. In May, when the election occurred, I listed my criticisms for the various parties and one by one ruled out everyone who I would not vote for in order to leave only the candidate who I would receive my vote. To start off let us look at the candidates that were available to me then; in my constituency we had a disappointingly low number of candidates – the big three, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, followed by Green Party, UKIP and Plaid Cymru.
I had already decided a few criteria before knowing precisely which parties would be putting candidates forward for my area; I would not vote for anybody who wished to take us out of the Eurozone – our economy would be too greatly affected, I would not vote for anybody affiliated or associated with racism, and I would not vote for any single-issue parties. Those ruled out UKIP and the Green Party immediately. Having witnessed the mess that Labour have caused over the past 13 years I had no desire to allow them another five years to complete the job of dismantling the country – so they were out. With them went Plaid Cymru, their Welsh sister party.
That left me with two; the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Despite protestations by friends that the Conservatives are a reformed bunch now, and nothing like the party that held power through the 80s and early 90s, I felt that I could not trust them to not repeat the actions of their predecessors… so they were out too. That left me with only the Liberal Democrats. In theory I had nothing against them; they had not harmed nor improved the situation of the country… in fact they have done very little at all for the past fifty years. They were the proverbial blank slate – but that in itself is a double-edged sword. Though they had done no wrong, they have also never had the chance to show that they can do right. In the end I chose to vote for the Liberal Democrats on the basis that I could not in good conscience vote for any other party and did not wish to spoil my vote entirely.
On 6th May I stayed up all night watching the results come in. From the pre-election coverage it had seemed likely that results would be split in new and unprecedented ways; the older generation still rankled at the treatment they had received under Conservative rule and with the distinctly uncharismatic Mr Brown in control of the widely despised Labour party they were unlikely to win either. The result, as predicted was a hung parliament. By now you will all know what that means, so I shall skip to my next point – why that was bad news for Britain.
When one party holds an absolute majority it has the capacity to push through any plans and laws it wishes (it’s not quite that simple, but that’s the general gist of it). A large portion of people may not agree with measures that are implemented but they pass anyway. In a hung parliament, and particularly in minority or coalition governments, the radical difference between the ways in which parties wish to achieve their goals can render a situation whereby no progress can be made because nobody has sufficient support to pass laws and legislation. After the last years of Labour rule decisive action was required in order to turn this country around – so an ineffective hung parliament would be disastrous.
This is where the Liberal Democrats became key players. On their own neither Labour nor Conservatives controlled enough seats to form a government. They had already excluded the possibility of working together (aware of course that it would lead to the kind of stymied situation I described above) however either party, with the support of the Liberal Democrats, would be capable of forming a functioning parliament. All of a sudden Nick Clegg became a very powerful man indeed. Forming a shrewd alliance with the Conservative party, he became Deputy Prime Minister – a position that should allow him to temper the excesses of Conservative rule, a stop-plug if you will to protect the populace in case of political extremity.
At first I welcomed Nick Clegg to this role. In many ways he possessed even more power than David Cameron because at any time, he could force the dissolution of government if the Conservative regime grew too harsh. This was a power that Cameron should fear and respect; he could push through any legislation he wished, but he had to toe the line. One step too far and we would all return to the voting booths.
Since then months have passed, people have grown less and less pleased at the direction that this government has taken; direction that any person over fifty could have warned us about… and Clegg has done nothing. Worse than that, evidence is mounting that he wilfully misled the public over key issues. Issues that earned him a huge student vote and placed him in the position of power that he now holds. If he exercises his power now and dissolves the government then neither the Liberal Democrats nor the Conservatives are likely to be voted back to power – which leaves only Labour. It is a no-win situation: accept the increasingly hated government that we have, or return to the government that caused the problems that the Conservatives now seek to remedy.
Throughout the election, and from my experiences since, I have trusted the Conservatives to do one thing and one thing only: to ensure that Britain as a country survives. This is not a good thing for the denizens of Britain however. I trust the Conservatives to make the hard choices, to do the things that no other party dares… but the reason I could not vote for them in the first place is the sheer severity of the actions by which they achieve their goals. Hindsight has demonstrated that the actions and policies of the last Conservative government allowed Britain to enter into a period of unprecedented economic and social growth. In that respect their government was a huge success – but for the people? Riots, starvation, mass unemployment, poverty and misery. And now it begins again.
As with Thatcher’s government, we are now seeing a growing dissatisfaction towards the actions of Cameron’s government. This month has witnessed demonstration after demonstration against proposed cuts and changes to ‘the system’. All of which are undoubtedly necessary for the future economic survival of this country – but which directly harm us now. Other articles exist, too many to mention, describing the student protests, the campaigns and petitions. Search them out. Inform yourself. Learn of the situation and how you will be affected. I fear that it is too late now, that we are past the point from which there can be an easy and painless way out.
I believe that we are heading towards one of the hardest years endured in Britain for a generation. I believe that in coming months we will see repeats of the peaceful – and violent – demonstrations held this week. I believe that this will escalate – and though I fervently hope it does not happen, I believe that we may soon see mass civil disobedience towards the government on a scale that will not be easily contained.
To ensure the survival of our country as a political and financial entity we must endure the coming years of misery. To do otherwise is to invite our own destruction.
Sub-Editor note: As with everything on theSprout, this article represents the personal views of the author and not necessarily those of theSprout. If this article has riled you, please comment below or submit an article, but don’t get all sniffy and ask for its removal. We are living in interesting times and we could do with a bit of debate. Chocks away!