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Monday, 19 April 2010

The General Election: A Time for Real Change

Since the split in the Liberal Party during the First World War the UK has been a two-party state. The “first past the post” electoral system has reinforced this idea and the Conservative-Labour Pact has meant that they could maintain this very unfair system. It has been impossible for other parties to gain ground has it has always been said that to vote for the Liberal Democrats, the Greens or any of the Socialist parties is to “waste your vote”.

The Liberal Democrats were the only major party which was totally opposed to the invasion of Iraq. It is also the only one of the three main parties that believed in a total reform of our electoral system, an introduction of a redistributive tax system and cancelling the Trident nuclear missile program. Therefore, since the invasion I have voted for the Liberal Democrats (up until then I had always voted Labour).

A couple of months ago Gordon Brown agreed that the next General Election should have three televised debates between the leaders of the Labour-Conservative-Liberal Democrats. The first debate took place last Thursday. The sight of the three party leaders together had a dramatic impact on the electorate. For the first time, the voting public saw the three men as potential prime ministers. The polls showed that as far as this debate was concerned, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats was the clear winner.

The latest poll on intended General Election voting shows that the 32% intended to vote for the Liberal Democrats whereas the Conservatives are on 31% with Labour on 28%. These polls are changing the consciousness of the electorate. They no longer see voting Liberal Democrats as wasting their vote. I believe these polls will convince more people to vote for the Liberals. A large percentage of the electorate intended to abstain because they were so disillusioned with the behaviour of the two main parties. Now they can vote in a positive way to punish the established parties.

The General Election result will also illustrate just how unfair our electoral system is. This is how the experts are saying that the latest polls will be reflected by seats in the House of Commons: Lib Dems: 32% = 120 seats; Conservative: 31% = 230 seats; Labour: 28% = 268 seats. If this is the result, will Gordon Brown have a mandate to govern?

The result of the election may well do something to undermine the power of Rupert Murdoch. Here is an interesting article by David Yelland, the former editor of Murdoch’s Sun newspaper.

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