“The Fearful Void” is the title of Geoffrey Moorhouse’s memorable book about his solo attempt to cross the Sahara, without previous experience of deserts, or of camels, or how to navigate or local languages on a voyage of self-discovery. I recall that one critic described it as “sublime madness”!Strangely, this title came to mind as I’ve been pondering the turn of the year, with a UK General Election just over four months away! I’ve previously expressed my disillusionment with mainstream politics (here, for example, last September) and I’m now a proud member of the Green Party – the first time in my life that I’ve joined a political party.
Although I’ve been heartened by the number of other people who appear to have taken similar actions, I look ahead to the General Election FEARFUL of its potential outcome.
1. There are 650 parliamentary seats but, in reality, the results in perhaps 25-40 marginal seats will determine the overall election result. In other words, if you don’t live in one of these marginal seats, your vote won’t matter (don’t get me wrong – EVERYONE needs to vote!).
2. In Scotland, the SNPs are surging ahead in the polls - by being to the LEFT of the Labour Party. In England (I’m not sure about Wales+Northern Ireland), UKIP has made huge inroads by being the most RIGHT-wing party. Perhaps I need to move to Scotland!
3. According to the latest opinion polls, it seems likely that we could get another coalition government with the smaller parties having an increasing “say” in policies. Labour, Green, Lib-Dems(?) and even SNP forming the next government perhaps? My own fear would be a coalition of Tories+UKIP (moving to Scotland would become a REAL possibility!).
There clearly needs to be some sort of revolution in UK politics. Unfortunately, nothing will happen that will adversely affect the influence of the main political parties (they’re not stupid!). Like me, I suspect that the vast majority of the UK electorate are sick of Westminster politics – its greed, its over-centralisation and its London-centricity.
A real infection of despair, even hatred of Westminster politics… or is it just me?
PS: Depressingly, the older I get, the more I get to feel that democracy is overrated! That’s not QUITE the case, but I feel sure I’m in a minority when it comes to matters such as the EU, for example (I could have chosen "increasing taxes to pay for public services and the NHS", "immigration", "environment", "education" etc!) - I’ve no doubt (assuming people could be bothered to turn out to vote) that the UK electorate would opt to withdraw from the EU… which I think would be just an awful decision.
PPS: Largely as a result of the bombing of Iraq in 2003, I've come to despise Tony Blair. However, somewhat ironically, I couldn't resist the temptation to buy a brand new hardback version of his 700-page autobiography ("A Journey") for a knock-down £2.50 - published price £25 (don't get me wrong, I still despise him... it's all part of my political education!).