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2010 General Election


John Simkin
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Since the split in the Liberal Party during the First World War the UK has been a two-party state. The “first past the post” electoral system has reinforced this idea and the Conservative-Labour Pact has meant that they could maintain this very unfair system. It has been impossible for other parties to gain ground has it has always been said that to vote for the Liberal Democrats, the Greens or any of the Socialist parties is to “waste your vote”.

The Liberal Democrats were the only major party which was totally opposed to the invasion of Iraq. It is also the only one of the three main parties that believed in a total reform of our electoral system, an introduction of a redistributive tax system and cancelling the Trident nuclear missile program. Therefore, since the invasion I have voted for the Liberal Democrats (up until then I had always voted Labour).

A couple of months ago Gordon Brown agreed that the next General Election should have three televised debates between the leaders of the Labour-Conservative-Liberal Democrats. The first debate took place last Thursday. The sight of the three party leaders together had a dramatic impact on the electorate. For the first time, the voting public saw the three men as potential prime ministers. The polls showed that as far as this debate was concerned, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats was the clear winner.

The latest poll on intended General Election voting shows that the 32% intended to vote for the Liberal Democrats whereas the Conservatives are on 31% with Labour on 28%. These polls are changing the consciousness of the electorate. They no longer see voting Liberal Democrats as wasting their vote. I believe these polls will convince more people to vote for the Liberals. A large percentage of the electorate intended to abstain because they were so disillusioned with the behaviour of the two main parties. Now they can vote in a positive way to punish the established parties.

The General Election result will also illustrate just how unfair our electoral system is. This is how the experts are saying that the latest polls will be reflected by seats in the House of Commons: Lib Dems: 32% = 120 seats; Conservative: 31% = 230 seats; Labour: 28% = 268 seats. If this is the result, will Gordon Brown have a mandate to govern?

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Interesting article by Johann Hari in The Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/comme...es-1939666.html

It is very hard for the British people to make a serious choice in this election without talking about one factor above all others – class. This isn't about David Cameron's background; it's about his policies. It is a provable fact that he will redistribute wealth – substantially – but in a strange direction: from everyone in the big wide middle and bottom of British society, to the very top.

Here are the facts. He will give a £1.2bn inheritance tax cut to the richest 2 per cent in Britain – with most going to the 3,000 wealthiest estates (including his wife's). Then he promises to end the 50p top rate of tax, giving another £2.4bn to the richest 1 per cent. Then he has pledged to cut taxes on the pensions of the richest, handing another £3.2bn to the same 1 per cent. Then his marriage tax relief policies will give 13 times more to the rich than the poor. To pay for this, he will slash programmes for the middle and the skint, like the Child Trust Fund, SureStart and state schools.

But this is not called "class war". No. The nasty "class warriors" are the people who try – with hard statistical facts – to point out this rip-off by the rich. This exposes the assumptions that underpin our politico-media debate. Money being endlessly shovelled up to the top by the state is considered the natural state of affairs; anybody trying to speak for the interests of the majority is considered a rude and irrational "warrior." These premises were best rebuffed by the billionaire Warren Buffett, who quipped: "Let's face it – if there's a class war, my side's winning."

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