Things that annoy me about… 2. Labour

So, following my criticism of LibDems (and it seems I’m the last person in the land not to like them), things that annoy me about the Labour Party.

This is a tough one to write, as it’s hard to know where to start.

For instance, there’s the war in Iraq and the way that the public were misled and lied to and taken to war with a shoddy pretext, scant international legitimacy and at the behest of the USA, in a way that has wrought havoc on much of the Middle East, recruited countless supporters of Jihadism and detracted from a previously successful and legitimate intervention in Afghanistan. Then there’s the shift from being a truly socialist party to one which is in the pocket of big business, bowing to their will in policy, access to government and peerage. The corruption at local and national level. Tuition fees for higher education students. The widening of the wealth gap and the increase in poverty, particularly in huge swathes of run-down post-industrial urban Britain. The selling off of further public services. The commitment to nuclear weapons and power. The admiration of and embracing of Thatcherite principles. The abandonment of its traditional support while remaining funded by the big trade unions. The spin. The terrible leader.

I could go on. But I’ll try to stick to the current time, and to things which are not just the usual issues that make Labour so poor.

Firstly, a topic that’s a big one for me: electoral reform. Labour were elected in 1997 (remember those days?) on a platform of, among other things, electoral reform.  The current voting system is a terrible one for open democracy, and perhaps I’ll blog another day on why.  Labour set up a commission.  It reported but the report was kicked into the long grass.  Nothing happened for around a decade, until Labour recently announced it would be holding a referendum in the first year of a new Labour government on introducing the Alternative Vote, not that which the commission had recommended.

Sadly for Labour, though, the Alternative Vote (in which you rank candidates by preference and eliminate losers until someone has 50%) is not proportional representation, and would fail to adequately reflect public preference in the national results.  Moreover, it’s relatively similar to the current system, so is really only a tweak.  So why hold a referendum on making a minor change, when it’s actually a major change that’s required?

Oh, and it comes hand-in-hand with a commitment to a referendum on creating an elected House of Lords.  Well, I’m sorry but Labour has had over a decade to introduce changes, and they’ve been imperceptible at best because our upper house is still unelected and unaccountable.  Plus, how come referendums on electoral reform and the Lords are okay, but one on independence for Scotland would be a distraction at this economic time?

It proves that Labour cannot be trusted with the way this country is governed, while the last thirteen years proved that they can’t be trusted to actually govern, either.

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