This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Three dull political parties ?

With Spring Conference 2007 Ming Campbell completed his first year leader of the Liberal Democrats. I'm sure many have commented on this already, but am I unreasonably out-of-kilter in feeling uninspired 12 months on ? Frankly the difference in policy terms [where the Tories have or have signalled them] between the three main parties I believe is leaving the electorate feeling as bored as I am. Frankly if I'm bored as someone traditionally politically active, then what of those less engaged ?

Yes, maybe we have been more 'up front' and ideologically committed to the environment via Green Taxes, but all parties will offer up something on this issue at the next election. On crime our position is divergent and more nuanced than the authoritarianism of the other two parties, but hardly the stuff of political imagination to excite electoral passions. On Trident, conference went with the 'support Ming' position, as if supporting the leader is the raison d'etre of a democratic party.

Admittedly I didn't go to Conference as I'd pre-arranged to visit the East Midlands. The combination of a Forest home game [and 5-1 win] and the prospect of seeing US classic rock giants Journey in Nottingham sounded a far more exciting prospect. The latter, especially Neal Schon's incredible guitar work and new frontman Jeff Scott Soto's stage presence I lapped up. What I saw of Ming's speech was as always, worthy but unremarkable. As with his set-piece TV interviews, he came across as 'wooden' and lacking personal 'warmth'. Like it or not in a televisual age and focus on party leaders this does matter to the electorate, if not party political activists.

Sadly it could be that the lack of radicalism and the arguing at the narrow margins of policy difference makes the turgid and bigoted [and in parts still fascist influenced] BNP look like the 'radical alternative' to the ill-informed seeking easy answers. A scary thought.

Does no-one else see the poll tallies for 'others' rise and not wonder if / why the main parties, LD included, are failing to strike a chord with the electorate ? My crystal ball suggests that UKIP, Greens, BNP and alleged independents may all do quite well in local elections in England.

Of course, it could be that I'm just moody, difficult and a political 'contrarian' ! Oh well, I'd better turn my attentions to Torbay again. Locally the chasm in policy, attitudes and priorities between the Tories and LD's are reason enough to get 'stuck in' politically once more. Having suffered ill health, redundancy and experienced sub-standard housing in 2007 I have not offered much to the party in the local election campaign thus far. I apologise for that, but it is something I'll be striving to change over the coming weeks !


Blogger Tristan said...

I think one of the problems with the LibDems is inertia.

If we try to be radical liberals we get held back by the 'radicals' and would probably lose some of the soft labour voters who've switched to us.

We also wouldn't gain much from the soft Tory vote, as to be honest, they're not liberals either.

We should be working towards a distinct liberal agenda, but I think it will take time.

Of course, the other problem is getting what liberalism we do have over. We are still thought of as a collectivist, high tax party committed to an ever larger state, rather than as a liberal, individualist party which wants to use the state to set people free of the state and build community thus allowing reduction of the state.
Its difficult to get across though, especially when the other two parties have done so well at putting people off politics.

1:13 pm GMT


Post a Comment

<< Home