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By Elliot Ball
We can all see the problems in British Society and it seems glaringly obvious to me that our current political class by and large are simply not addressing them. Public services are starved of critical funding and currently operating at breaking point. Public sector workers have accepted successive pay freezes and cuts. A housing crisis on an unprecedented scale. Austerity measures chipping away our social safety net whilst billions of pounds is pumped into the very financial sector that caused the crisis of 2008. Stagnation of working class wages. Continued tax evasion by multinational corporations. A cost of living crisis. Child poverty. Social exclusion. Political disillusion. Youth unemployment. Benefit sanctions. A political and electoral system which protects its own interest. If these are signs of a functioning democracy, then I want out!
The 2015 election is predicted to be the least predictable election of a generation. No-body really knows what the outcome will be. Yet, to me, the outcome is obvious. Come May the 8th when the results are in, the counts completed; one of two men wearing a blue or red tie will either have a governing mandate, or more likely make a backroom deal with another man to form a coalition. Promises will be made, public speeches given and it’ll be business as usual. By May the 9th, allowing time for the dust to settle and the party machines to polish their marching boots, we ‘the electorate’ will marvel at the promise of the most cohesive, fair and transparent government this country has ever seen, because at the end of the day; What choice do we have?
I contend that the current organising paradigm for politics is inherently a party system perpetuated by the first past the post electoral process and it is the party system for which I take issue. Whilst the party system of government has its obvious benefits, from its ability to form stable governments to its organisational capabilities, when the electorate come to exercise their democratic right to vote, can we really consider the process to be truly democratic when the choice of candidates for whom we wish to represent us offer little more than more of the same. In the pursuit of capturing each and every haloed vote, the diversity along the political spectrum where the leading political parties operate has all but vanished. For example both the Labour and Conservative parties have begun their election campaigns, and the questions they are answering are ‘how’ we continue with austerity measures, not should we. We the electorate are offered to decide between two sides of the same coin as the electoral system favours a party approach to politics, where marginal and minority views are inevitably ignored in the pursuit of the swing voters ‘x’. Is it not time for change? Can we the electorate not expect to be given a better choice for whom we vote and the policies we want to see implemented? The simple answer is yes!
Independent candidates represent a broad range of issues and are often the voice of the marginalised members of society. They are able to inject a diversity into the political spectrum from the far right to the far left and whether you agree in principle with their ideology, there inclusion within the political sphere is in itself an expression of liberty and the freedom to speak. Independent candidates reflect the cultural and social makeup of society far better than the disproportionally white, male, privately educated MPs we have currently and provide a political outlet for the issues that directly impact the day to day lives of the communities they represent. However the current electoral process, offers little chance for independent candidates to achieve success in amassing political support and becoming an MP, with the lack of resources, money, man-power and media biases that will favour the parties that maintain the status-quo cited as some of the obstacles they have to overcome.
Constitutional and electoral reform offers us the greatest chance to change the fabric of politics for good and provide new dimensions to exercise our democratic right. With a wider choice of non-partisan candidates who have a real opportunity to win in elections, real social change will be possible and that is a democracy I want to be a part of. It is for this reason, I am standing on behalf of the 30-50 coalition in the May General election. The 30-50 coalition propose that 12 non-partisan MPs be elected by statue in order to diversify the political debate and to break the monopoly the large parties have enjoyed on defining the political agenda for at least the last 5 decades which has ultimately led to the disillusionment of many of the electorate today. I believe it is time that we the electorate are given a real choice in deciding the leaders of our nation and provide an outlet for the members of society this democracy has purposely forgotten. If you do to and want to help with the campaign then please contact me via email on: Elliotball3050@gmail.com.