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The art of entrenched inadequacy

No system of government capable of being devised by humans will ever be perfect and yet after everything that has occurred in this sphere of life in the UK over the past fifty years – not least the unedifying ongoing mess we’ve been subjected to since 2015 and most particularly the progress of the 2019 General Election – this is surely the moment to conduct a wholesale review of ours.

Having spent most of the night with the BBC’s Election coverage accompanying me in the background, here are some thoughts that have sprung to mind:

Our current political structure may have been sufficient for 1900 but as each decade goes by its inadequacies become more glaring.

Why do we need 650 MPs, or the comfortable (to the main Parties) inconsistencies and illogicalities inherent of our existing constituency boundaries, sizes and population concentrations?

All they do these days is ensure that some 450 to 500 seats never change hands and that the true battleground for victory always plays out in about 75 marginal, or potentially marginal, equivalents.

The smaller Parties always complain about the inadequacies of the two-Party system and demand some form of proportional representation – a project last tested upon Lib-Dem insistence during the Tory/Lid-Dem coalition via a referendum that roundly rejected it.

One of the aspects in greatest need of being addressed is that of the whole process of media coverage of Elections, including that of ‘fair play’ (equal-access to the airwaves?) for every Party involved.

Based upon the overnight results – as I type I don’t have the means to compare or reference previous Elections but I’ll bet a penny to a pound they were no different – it’s a total farce that, in the interests of avoiding bias – every time there’s an Election debate or similar mounted – Parties and candidates with zero chance of forming a government are given similar opportunities and ostensible equal prominence to ‘get across’ their policies and/or arguments as those representing the main or only contenders.

To tune our televisions to such ‘events’ and see seven or eight lecterns with every party in the Election – plus Uncle Tom Cobley and all – represented only serves to ‘reduce’ their main Party equivalents to the rest of the pack and simultaneously thereby cause stupefying boredom and/or disinterest by association in all viewing members of the electorate.

Main Party in the dock in terms of over-indulgence in this respect is that of the Lib-Dems.

Presumably only because between about 1880 and 1930 their or their forebears were a genuine national political force, they still wallow proudly and determinedly in their ridiculous status of “Third Party” and – under the current impartiality rules – are afforded virtually equal prominence as Labour and the Tories at every Election-time.

What a farce is that?!

When it comes to other things rotten in the state of Denmark, someone also has to take a serious view of the internet, social media generally, “fake news”, the use of ‘viral’ videos and statements, ‘targeted’ marketing and/or advertising and the like.

Returning to the media to finish, one of the aspects that has repelled me more than many is that, of course, the ‘established’ media is de facto also one of the ‘insiders’ playing the existing liberal elite, political, Hampstead-set, Westminster-Bubble ‘Game’.

For all the bluster of its heavyweight commentators/interviewers/reporters and its blanket daily coverage of every new policy launch, factory photo-opportunity and supposed faux-forensic dissection of what each Party or candidate is peddling, they’re buried deep within the system – getting advance copies of touring schedules, policy announcements, speeches [all embargoed until an agreed set time, of course].

We need a thorough root and branch review of it all and then some really radical changes.





About Lavinia Thompson

A university lecturer for many years, both at home and abroad, Lavinia Thompson retired in 2008 and has since taken up freelance journalism. She is currently studying for a distant learning degree in geo-political science and lives in Norwich with her partner. More Posts