Thursday 23 September 2021

UK Labour is incapable of reforming democracy


The problems with any so-called ‘progressive alliance’ are many and varied, and have been discussed here before. There is, though, one worthwhile prize which could result from a temporary alliance in a single election for a short-lived government with no other major objective, and that is the sort of electoral reform which would end forever the UK’s system of giving absolute and almost unchallenged power to a single party on the basis of a minority of votes. The problem with that as a proposal is that, in realistic practical terms as politics stands today, such an alliance could only be led by the Labour Party, and the leadership of that party remains opposed, apparently implacably, to the sort of reform required.

It’s not that there’s no-one in the Labour Party who understands the need for such reform. Quite the opposite; there are a number who actively campaign for such a change and involve themselves in cross-party campaigns to that end. Their reasoning is, however, lost on the leadership. The leadership is willing, in effect, to allow the Tories untrammelled power for most of the time as long as Labour get their turn at the same sort of untrammelled power for some of the time. Coupled with a hopelessly over-optimistic assumption about the likelihood of them winning an election any time soon, and the usually implicit, sometimes explicit, but always arrogant, demand that any other non-Tory party should stand aside to allow Labour their crack at government, it’s a recipe for the semi-permanent Tory government which the English electorate are forcing not just onto England itself, but onto Wales and Scotland as well.

Those who think that Labour can be brought round to their way of thinking have only to look for a moment at yesterday’s proposals for reversing the Labour Party’s own internal democratic progress to take power back out of the hands of the ordinary members and give it instead to MPs and union bosses. Can anyone honestly believe that a man who could seriously propose such a reversal of democratic progress is the man who is going to lead an electoral alliance aimed at electoral reform for the UK as a whole? It’s utterly unbelievable. Those who want us to cling to the wreckage of the UK in the hope of a reforming Labour government at some unspecified future date do us no favours; they merely condemn us to more of the same. Wales, like Scotland, has an alternative path open to us, should we decide to take it, which would enable us to create a system in which we get a government by people we vote for, not just on an occasional basis, but every time. We need to have faith in ourselves rather than others, and take that path.

1 comment:

Spirit of BME said...

The Leader of the Labour Party, ’Mr Starman’ may well be thinking along these lines.
The Hard Left has never been in love with democracy and the Left in general have fallen out with the idea, as over the last five years the system has produced what might be called ‘disappointment’ in the Referendum and then Donald John, when in both events the great- unwashed came out and voted. He may also conclude that Labour is very comfortable with political bodies that operate on a lack of democratic legitimacy, such as the EU and NGO`s.
Another view that is being trailed by the Elite, is that those that stand in elections and win, have a far greater legitimacy that ‘mere members’ and therefore their views are paramount.
Plaid Cymru went down this path and as a result being a member or running a branch is now of no consequence. They sold the change on the argument of a lack of members to feed the original system and the old ‘Animal Farm ‘trick of ‘trust me, as decisions are far too difficult for you to deal with’.