Unless you violently turn off your telly, or bin your newspaper, what you will hear a lot about over the coming days is a detailed attempt at election dissection. You’ve probably already wondered if Nigel Farage would be crowned King-Emperor on the BBC after the results of the local elections were announced, and now it’s soon turn for the European elections.
To save you the bother, here’s one that you likely won’t read, which I – with great humility – think is the best one that will be written about this. There may, the likelihood is great, be symbolic gestures from the main parties about how tough they are on “issues which the electorate care about”. So, expect dog-whistle racism from labour, more racist vans from the Home Office in our traffic lanes, and more blather from the Liberal Democrats about whatever fire them up.
Parties will try to tea-leaf themselves into a “winning message”. They’re going to engage in a lot of symbolic acts to show that “they listen”. Ukippers will continue to blame problems originating in Whitehall and Westminster on immigrants and the EU, and they’ll be even more smug about it.
What you will not hear, or read, during the endless debate about this election are suggestions for constitutional reforms to fix the problems that increasingly plague our democracy. There will be no recognition that the UK needs federal structures which devolves power to the countries that make up our United Kingdom. Wales won’t get more say over its own affairs, and Scotland may even be more convinced to go at it alone in September.
Also, the awful centralisation that plague this country will not be broken. Ministers will still be personally responsible for each school and hospital in the country, so that when things inevitably go wrong somewhere you’ll hear strong language and ‘muscular efforts’ from Whitehall and Downing Street to fix things.
Whereas the citizens of Hull would know far better how to run their local schools, they won’t be allowed to. Parents and teachers must petition a faraway London for change and not the local council – which will add to the sense of alienation and disenfranchisement that exist everywhere.
And we’ll still not be any closer to getting a democratic system of selecting our leaders. We’ll still be plagued by the First Past the Post system which, as the last local elections showed us, can have the obscene result that a party who loses twenty per cent of its vote can gain seats. Last year Ukip got 22 per cent of the vote in the local elections, and didn’t win many seats. This year they got 17 per cent of the votes, but gained 163 seats.
In a system where the winner is the one who gets one more vote than the other guy, a race of four can mean that a minority of 25 per cent + one vote can deny a majority of 75 per cent minus one vote their democratic influence. We tried to get a somewhat more fair election system, but since people acutely dislike Nick Clegg they voted against that, and it’s unlikely that a proper Proportional Representational system will be introduced any time soon.