I haven’t posted on politics for a while, but recent events have prompted me to now. As a Labour party member and supporter, there is little to be encouraged about, and much to be frustrated by. Meanwhile UKIP’s success in the council elections last week, and some of the knee-jerk reactions to this by the coalition government, makes for the ‘ugly’ part of the landscape referred to in the title.
Starting with the council elections, there was some boundary reorganisation leading up to these elections, and my area became part of a new constituency (Keele, Silverdale and Knutton). Previously Silverdale and Knutton had returned a UKIP councillor, and Keele was part of a constituency that was represented by a Conservative councillor. For last week’s elections, we had an excellent local Labour candidate, and it was to be hoped that he might be elected, given the composition of the electorate at Keele. However, the turnout was appalling (21%), and the UKIP candidate won by two votes. When I went to our polling station to vote, I was the only one there, and I heard similar accounts from others. I suspect that the turnout from Keele students wasn’t high, although I don’t have the figures. So now Keele is represented by UKIP on the County Council, which is a pretty unbelievable situation!
No doubt related to the election results, we now have a chorus of right wing Conservatives calling for a referendum on our membership of the European Union to be held before the next General Election in 2 years time, and we have people like Nigel Lawson declaring that he will vote for us to leave. Thankfully the coalition government look unlikely to give in to this. David Cameron has said that there will be a referendum if he is Prime Minister in the next government; that’s bad enough but at least we can hope that he won’t be! And then we have immigration being mentioned in the Queen’s Speech today, which must surely be connected with the election results.
Turning to the Labour party, the shadow cabinet haven’t been having an easy time recently. I wasn’t a supporter of Ed Miliband originally (see earlier posts), but recently I feel he is doing a good job, and that his shadow cabinet team are similarly performing well. But they are being attacked from both sides. Recently Len McCluskey attacked Ed for having too many ‘Blairites’ in the shadow cabinet, only for Blair himself to warn them of the dangers of appearing not to be sufficiently fiscally responsible! They truly can’t win. In my view they should be bolder in saying that yes, they will spend more, but that this is necessary for growth. But I’ve talked at length about my views before!
In conclusion the political landscape I see is bleak. And at the moment even my own party are not providing me with any optimism. Depressing times indeed.