As some of us celebrate an attempt to fully reform the House of Commons and Lords, our cousins over the water are breathing a sigh of relief following the end of the mid term elections to the Senate. One of my friends who is far from Political despite having a degree in International Law, was on Facebook a few days ago explaining how pleased she would be when the elections were over. Then we can stop hearing from people why we shouldn’t vote for the other side she wrote. One of the potentially positive outcomes of not having a two horse race her in the UK is that there will be a great deal less of ‘vote for me because I am not like the other side’ but nevertheless the already febrile campaigns have many elements of negative campaigning about them. It is much easier to find things wrong with someone elses arguments than to put up convincing ones yourself. The sense of fear which almost all of the parties are creating over immigration and the EU are a symptom of that sort of campaigning. The complexity of our electoral system is such that being told to vote for a party because their candidate for PM can eat bacon sandwiches, or looks after his children when visiting restaurant/pubs bears no relationship to either the party policies nor to the actual situation of which MP will I vote for in my constituency. Indeed the fact that somewhere between 85-110 constituencies could change party and the remaining 540-565 almost certainly won’t is part of the problem in this country. There are many people living in the 550 or so constituencies who feel full disenfranchised because their vote never changes the outcome locally. In that respect there are many similar states in the USA where predicting the outcome in the House and Senate is not difficult.
As some of us explode munitions in our garden and the Republicans set of fireworks in their celebrations we would all benefit from different ways of deciding how our nations will be run. However despite the best wishes of some people in this country, the search of the basement will once again ensure that Parliament is safe to carry on meeting. Last year on 5th November I was in Parliament for the launch of ‘Christians on the Left’. As we left the building the Occupy protestors outside the building seemed to have at least as much to offer as the sleepy debate taking place in the House of Lords, the MPs having already departed for their homes (or second homes).