New(ish) Dress, New Era?

One of the nice things about my resolution this year not to buy any new clothes whatsoever (with the possible exception of knickers but I’ve not gone there yet) is that people keep giving me nice things to wear.  My friend Jayne gave me a fabulous dress last Friday – it’s pretty, purple and sparkly, fits perfectly and will go very nicely with my recently upcycled denim jacket.  There were also some jeans, that didn’t fit so well, but will certainly do for gardening services, there was also a pile of T-Shirts.  At the bottom of the pile was a stack of old ‘Clean Slate’ publications from CAT.  Obviously I won’t be attempting to wear these and I guess Jayne shoved them in the bag because she knew they would interest me. 

The magazines were full of wonderful articles about bio-diversity, debates on ‘clean coal’, and some nice stuff about veg growing, but what struck me most was the mood of the editorials.  The pile dated from Summer 2008 just as the Credit Crunch saga was beginning to unfold.  The Autumn 2008 editorial, written as the full implications of the crisis were becoming clear to us, was an urgent call from Paul Allen for a national investment programme akin to post WW2 reconstruction, based upon sound and sustainable principles.  As he said, we had “been partying on our natural and social capital for decades, rather than preparing for long-term challenges.”  It struck me then, as it does now, it would take a great deal of political will and bravery to put an end to that party and face up to our long-term challenges.  It’s not easy to envisage people willingly giving up the luxuries of the western consumer lifestyle, the short-termism of our current political system means it would be political suicide for an MP to suggest that they should.

Fast forward a couple of years and the main political parties earnestly tell us there will be hard times ahead and that cuts will have to be made somewhere at some point.  Now they want us to appreciate their ‘honesty’.   Interestingly neither Labour or Conservative want to cut the 97bn that renewing our commitment to Trident will cost.  I think the Lib Dems are doing some strange kind of fudge on that, I’ve not quite understood them to be honest, feel free to set the record straight in the comments.  

Nevertheless, my vote counts, doesn’t it?  Well not exactly.  We don’t have a Green Party candidate in our constituency, but even if we did my vote would probably be wasted and my views would find no representation in parliament.  At the same time I truly fear any move towards the right, so sadly voting tactically in our small, marginal constituency makes sense here.  I guess then, at least my vote does count for something.  The safer a constituency the less an individual vote counts.  Your voting power will also be compromised if you live in a larger than average constituency.  If you’d like to find out more about how much your vote counts in your constituency a visit to Voter Power  will be enlightening.  My voter power here is 0.729 of a vote, which sounds bad but compares very favourably to a national average of 0.253.  Nevertheless, over 60% of votes in our constituency in the 2005 election would have been, in essence, discarded. 

The best possible outcome this week might well be a hung parliament and a nationwide call for  electoral reform and a system in which every vote counts equally.  I would like to see all people’s views (even those I strongly disagree with) represented in a system of government that has a true and fair mandate.  Maybe then politicians can start being more honest about our futures and work for the changes we need to make.  

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2 comments to New(ish) Dress, New Era?

  • suegee

    Roll on a hung parliament-this might get us to a system of voting where every voice counts. They tell us it will make for slow decisions-hurray! No more rushing to invade other countries, no more quick-fix changes in our schools, no more instant decisions to mollify big business, no more cynical ‘improvements’ to appease ephemeral ratings. Like Slow Food, Slow Politics might enable us to savour what is good in life, to value thoughtful living and to appreciate goodness free from ideology.

  • goo

    Couldn’t have put it better myself, thanks!

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