Monday, September 24, 2007

Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem - what's the difference?? Where is principle, conviction and real engagement in today's political world?

Being a glutton for punishment I watched a fair bit of last week's Liberal Democrat Party Conference and today have been watching the Labour Party Conference, whilst working. One speech that struck me today was that by Quentin Davies MP. This man of apparently great principle (he defected from the Conservatives to Labour in June this yr after 30 yrs of membership and 19 yrs as an MP, including being a Conservative front bench spokesman....) said in his speech that David Cameron's Conservatives didn't believe in aything. As he was speaking the TV camera panned to left-winger Dennis Skinner MP, who I'm sure feels comfortably at home with his fellow 'socialist' Quentin.

This is today's Labour Party. Quention Davies MP, son of a GP, educated at Cambridge and Harvard, followed by Diplomatic Service and investment banking. Dennis Skinner MP, miner, NUM leader in Derbyshire, educated at grammar school and Ruskin College . I cant decide which one is chalk and which cheese though!!

I have to ask where principle and conviction resides in todays big political parties. They dont seem to care too much it seems, provided they can get into a position to win elections - this is 'principle' number one. Minds are very concentrated on attracting the support of floating voters in certain key seats, mostly in the south and east of the UK and far too little on enacting principles through policy to solve problems. This would require real debate, real engagement with people to persuade them of what is needed ie what I'd call real politics. Instead what we get is basically just marketing.

The public dont feel there is much difference between the three big parties. The figures support their perceptions. For at least the last few general elections the tax/spending plans of the three parties varied by less than 1% of national wealth for example. The result of this and the general tone of politics is a very limited, often rather dull debate.

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