In just over half a year, students of the University of York will be heading to the polls to cast their vote in the General Election of 2015. Marking their first involvement in the democratic process, this will be, according to the incumbent Prime Minister, the most important election in a generation.
A more worrying fact is that many residents cast their vote without much concern for who is elected. It’s baffling to think that such ideologically different parties can be so easily – and even willingly – confused and mixed. Surely the Labour Party stands for the advancement of socialism, nationalisation of industry and the rights of the common, working man; the Conservatives for the maintenance of tradition, Christian values, the monarchy and individual liberty; and the Liberal Democrats for federalism, civil liberties, the environment and high wages?
Those are the differences on paper; in reality, it couldn’t be more different. Each of the three main parties has committed cardinal sins against its own code and ideology, that the very nature of the party has been deformed beyond recognition.
You may ask yourself since when do Conservatives support the marriage of homosexuals? Ideologically the Conservatives have always opposed such a measure, arguing that the preservation of the institution of marriage is undermined by homosexual marriage, that traditional family values would be discarded in favour of pathetic liberalism. Historically there have been social, “scientific” (one uses that term reluctantly) and religious reasons, put forward by conservatives, to oppose same-sex marriage (or indeed, equality across sexualities). The odious notion that homosexuality was criminal was perpetuated until a Labour government decriminalised it in 1967.
And yet, who would have thought that the very man who said that, in promoting same-sex equality through the repeal of the infamous Section 28, the previous premier was ‘anti-family’ and guilty of intending to ‘promote homosexuality in schools’, would lead the government that legalised same-sex marriage?
The Labour Party has over the last few years moved away from its socialist principles. Tony Blair promoted the ‘Third Way’, in which he sought to maintain social justice while combining it with more right-wing economic policies. By the time Blair left office, he was considered the greatest example to date of Margaret Thatcher’s “legacy”.
And need I mention the greatest broken promise of the current government? Certainly, all students will recall it…
But let us suppose that we take an open mind, and we forgive our main parties of their ludicrous errors and obscure changes of heart (and policy) for a moment. How about a browse of their websites, to see what would happen if they were to be in office after May 2015?
According to the Labour website, a Labour government would “create jobs for young people” and would “balance the books in a fairer way”. The Liberal Democrats ask if the website reader “will help create opportunities for everyone”. For the Conservatives, one much search a little harder to find that they too wish to “create more jobs” through a “stronger” economy.
All in all, each of the three parties uses similar words and phrases to suggest that their ideological method of running the country will achieve the same goals. There is no indication of what that method is – there is only what “will” happen in a government run by that party. No wonder there is such disillusionment with politics today!
It is not surprising to see why UKIP (dreaded more by politicians than by the public) are acquiring so many so-called “protest votes”. People are tired of three mouths speaking with one voice. I don’t think extremes are a viable solution, but we require clearly distinguishable political sides who campaign firmly on the grounds of clear ideology, not on one-upmanship and petty rivalry.