Accident of birth

SHOCKING? So many waste their vote

AND THEN this happened. None of that or the proverbial other We’re talking about this, the ‘current’.

Complicated? In Britain we have an election coming up. We have a ‘representative parliamentary democracy’ which is not nearly as democratic as some, Members of Parliament in particular, would like to think. County or ‘shire’ seats, often with a much smaller electorate than urban seats, invariably elect Conservative party candidates. Oh my goodness, what a surprise! Heaven forbid that a national parliament should ‘represent’ how people have voted nationally.

Britain still has a ‘head of state’ who takes up their position based on an antiquated hereditary aristocratic accident of birth. Not very democratic really. The Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family changed their name to Windsor during WWI (1914-1918); a little embarrassing having a German family ‘on-the-British-throne’. PR wasn’t a late 20th century invention.

Let’s suppose — just for the sake of argument — British people were able to cast a vote in an election that actually counted. SHOCKING! So many voters waste their vote — voting for a candidate they generally agree with — knowing that there is little to no prospect of them being elected; or — Russell Brand style — just don’t bother.

Where do they go?

What to do? Local politics is one answer but not always such a constructive solution if it is not backed up by a national or even international organisation. A campaign to save a local community centre is important but where do those people, many of whom may have become politically active for the first time, go next?

The radical/revolutionary left has to meet this challenge; not just a challenge but an opportunity. Left Unity is by no means perfect but what it has achieved so far is a minor miracle. There are still too many who, in my humble opinion, have their heads stuck in early 20th century ‘text books’ or are looking to recreate the past, circa 1945. It ain’t going to happen. Socialists need to project a vision of the future. I’m not saying that everything that this or that revolutionary said or wrote in the early 20th century is anachronistic ‘codswallop’ but does it communicate to people today? We’re about building a radical, broadly based, socialist party — not just in Britain but on every continent — for the 21st century. Get real! What has been achieved in the past is not irrelevant but there are issues today that were unheard of in 1917 or 1938 ✮

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