Elections matter. As someone who lives in Britain, this may sound like a heartless statement in the wake of a 100,000 Covid deaths and rising. Should I really be thinking about hustings and votes, as death stalks the land and people’s hearts are breaking? Should I really be focusing on criticising Britain’s First Past The Post electoral system, which has delivered Tory governments, election after election? Is this really the time to be thinking about electoral strategies, urging progressive alliances on centre-left parties and advocating a proportional representation system?
The answer is yes, yes and a hundred thousand times yes. Particularly as I deal with my own sorrow on the death of a family friend from Covid. A bright, vivacious woman, the mother of four children, blessed with a happy marriage; a hard-working woman who contributed to the family budget with her work in a local shop, never missing a day if she could help it. Although I knew she was in ICU and had been put into a coma, the news of her death hit me like a blow. If that’s how deeply I was affected, what terrible pain and grief has it inflicted on her family?
Deaths from Covid aren’t a statistic, they’re a catastrophe. For all the families of those 100,000 and more, who’ve died so far, often in hospital unable to say that final, sacred goodbye. Leaving behind an army of the grieving: thousands upon thousands of children, partners, parents, sisters and brothers, friends and relatives. Wage earners, whether singly or as part of a couple, who provided for the family’s needs, kept the roof over their heads, put food on the table and paid the bills. How many of those parents are now struggling on their own, how many are facing financial insecurity, how many are haunted by the fear of losing their homes?
Elections matter. Because the people in power are the ones who make the decisions about how to respond to emergencies, and in the current case, pandemics. Their decisions can create disaster or provide damage-control. In Britain’s case we have all-out, unmitigated, death-laden disaster. Because those in power come from a class which despises and disdains the people. Watching a documentary on Eton once, the young scion of some upper-class family, described us ‘ordinary’ folk as “not very intelligent.” A friend of Prince Charles complained about Meghan Markle’s family being “frightfully common;” A Tory politician once declared he couldn’t possibly use public transport because of the “great unwashed.”
Class and wealth generally go together: if class protects class, then wealth protects wealth. As we’re seeing in the immoral, unethical and reckless profiteering from Covid. Government contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds have been given to cronies and Tory party donors. The following, from The Good Law Project sums it up: The Government awarded a PPE contract worth £252 million to Ayanda Capital Limited, a ‘family office’ owned through a tax haven in Mauritius, with connections to Liz Truss(Secretary of State for International Trade)… The masks they supplied “will not be used in the NHS” because “there was concern as to whether the[y]… provided an adequate fixing.”
Another government contract, exemplifying corruption and ruthless profits, even at the expense of children: Of the million laptops Government ordered for remote learning during lockdown, more than three quarters have come from Computacenter. The total value of the contracts awarded to Computacenter is at least £198 million. Its founder, Sir Philip Hulme, has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party in recent years and Mr Hulme’s wife has also donated £100,000 as recently as the 2019 Election.
And now it transpires that some of the laptops supplied do not meet the minimum standards… and many contain malware. A school in Bradford which received 90 Geobook 1E laptops … found they had been handed devices infected with a malware virus. A letter from the school’s deputy head states: “Upon unboxing and preparing them it was discovered that a number of the laptops are infected with a self-propagating network worm (Gamarue.I). The network worm looks like it contacts Russian servers when active.”
An online forum used by school IT experts suggests this is far from an isolated incident – numerous schools have reported the virus to the DfE. Reports suggest laptops have arrived with no sound driver installed, causing access issues for pupils. …And, from what we can see, it appears that the price they’ve charged for some of their devices is almost twice what it should be.
Elections matter. Lives and democracy have to be protected. Britain needs to be freed from the greed and malice of the Tory party. The only way this can happen is for all center-left parties to stop being tribal, put aside their differences, form a progressive alliance, and once in power, change the electoral system to proportional representation, so that a variety of voices are represented. Center-left parties need to have some respect for their voters, particularly the young, who’ll be shouldering the burden of an economy punched to the ground by a Tory Brexit and a Tory-Corrupt Covid strategy.
In the last election, our electoral system rewarded older generations for their block support for a single party and punished younger generations for sharing their vote between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
The Tories won the last election with only 44% of the general vote, gifting them an 80 seat majority. Hardly the party to shy away from abusing their power, it’s no wonder they’re ransacking the treasury, and handing lucrative jobs to their chums like it’s Christmas everyday.
The might-have-been to haunt us all is the remaining 56% of the vote. If center-left parties had united, formed a pact, we’d now have a more people-centered government. Covid would’ve made things difficult, it would’ve been a struggle to deal with it, but the nature of a center-left government would have allowed for science and the protection of the people to be the basis of decision making. There would have been far greater effort made to ensure our doctors and nurses had the correct PPE, and I’m very sure, we wouldn’t have spent £22 Billion, that’s correct £22 Billion, on a Test and Trace programme which isn’t even fit for purpose. No other country has spent such a staggering amount on Test and Trace. So where did the money go?
The Biden/Harris win in the US didn’t happen by chance or luck. It was the result of alliances, strategy, disparate and special interest groups, all coming together and consolidating the vote.
Elections matter. As long as the centre-left parties continue to campaign individually and against each other, they’ll always be at a disadvantage, and centre-left voters will be as good as disenfranchised. Politics can never be about just one argument, just one way of doing things. Britain’s FPTP (First Past The Post) system fails to represent the majority of the country, and must be replaced by a system of proportional representation, thereby extending democracy and spreading power more fairly.
Corruption kills: If we didn’t have the Tory party in power right now, with their culture of corruption and racketeering, we wouldn’t have the highest death rate in Europe. The highest in the world per million people. It’s enough to make the stones weep.
I say to the Labour party, the LibDems and the Green Party, it’s already been proven, that if you worked together you could gain at least 56% of the vote. Build on that. Don’t waste our votes. We’ll only have one chance to beat the Tories. We’re truly in the last chance saloon.