Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The UK's government does not represent its people

The core idea of democracy is "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" - that is, representative of the people and reflecting its views. But it turns out that that's not the case in the UK, where the people are well to the left of the Labour Party:

If David Cameron genuinely believes "Red" Ed Miliband is a socialist then a new poll suggesting the public are far to the left of Labour and want state control of key sectors of the economy, will be enough to provoke nightmares of a Marxist revolution in Downing Street.

According to the poll, voters support state-imposed price controls on the utilities, re-nationalisation of the railways and Royal Mail, an end to private cash in the public sector and even state power to regulate rents.

But perhaps more worrying for the Tories is that, when asked, voters said they didn't believe either party was on the side of working people, suggesting they want to see even more radical policies.

This isn't really news - polls have been showing similar results for years. But it again highlights the near-complete disconnect between the UK's ruling class (educated at private schools, Oxford and Cambridge) and the people they purport to represent. As for how they get away with it, there are two reasons. The first of course is the country's unfair voting system, which reduces political "choice" to one between two (three if you live in a marginal university town) unrepresentative, elite parties, while limiting the ability of any representative party to break in. The second, in part driven by the first, is low voter turnout. People don't vote, because the parties don't represent them - and the parties don't care about them, because they don't vote. Its a vicious cycle of elite isolation and political disengagement feeding on one another. The question is how long it can go on before either the government give sup the charade, or the people grow angry enough to sweep the entire rotten system away.