A vigorous discussion was ranging from the deficiencies of our electoral system to the unhealthy nature of social media.
At our meeting on 4th May 2022 the following points were shared among the group, and a vigorous discussion ensued:
- The First Past the Post system prevents the rise of new parties with new ideas
- Recent MP’s behaviour in the HoC shows that standards and morality are as low as ever, with nothing being learnt from previous scandals. There is a general air of “the rules don’t apply to us, we are above the law”.
- The selection process feels flawed with unsuitable candidates parachuted into safe seats via secret lists. There is little local “ownership” or accountability.
- MPs found to have broken the rules/law cannot be recalled by their constituents.
- The HoL is an entirely undemocratic institution, filled with party appointed cronies.
- Devolution has been a disaster, pandering to separist movements has increased the calls for independence rather than placated and massively increased costs.
- There are many subjects where there is no substantial representation of alternative views by mainstream political parties, examples being climate change, Brexit and lockdown policy, vaccine mandates and the Ukraine war. Even Richard Tice struggled recently on the topic of Ukraine, a clue that a new party, even if it could be elected, might not be the answer we need.
- On a day-to-day basis it is very difficult to influence local MPs if their views are different to yours.
- Governments across the world are adopting a paternalistic approach in which they pretend to have all the answers to every problem, fostering dependency in their populations. This increasingly leads to people expecting everything to be fixed/provided by the state.
- Worse, governments are using their power to divide society into factions, one which supports the government fostered line and a sceptical one which questions the narrative. The latter is inherently bad, racist, sexist, transphobic, XXX denying (insert any popular topic here), extreme right (whether expressing left or right wing views). This is the one that worries me most and it was captured perfectly in 1949 by George Orwell in his novel 1984, where the political purpose of the Two Minutes Hate was to allow the citizens to vent their existential anguish and personal hatreds towards politically expedient enemies.
- There is little in the mainstream media that is providing an effective “calling to account” of our elected leaders. As an example, in the now forgotten daily COVID briefings I heard not a single question about the overall risk assessment of lockdown policies. Even though there are occasional slips, the main role of the MSM has been to bolster the government narrative on all key topics. And when was the last time you saw the headline “Sorry we got it wrong” about any important topic. Think energy bills, deaths/illness resulting from lockdown policy, or supporting a candidate who was clearly suffering “cognitive impairment”.
- Social media is generally a toxic environment and even more biassed/engineered than the traditional media. The narrative of the “woke” cognoscenti (for want of a better term) has until recently been ruling discourse and behaviour across media, politics, education, public life and, even more incredibly, private businesses. I have been feeling very pessimistic about this but the recent purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk may well throw up some interesting and hopefully positive changes. Likewise the decision by Florida to remove the special status of Disney for promoting gender education in primary school, may herald the start of a much needed fightback by the bulk of ordinary people, irrespective of party affiliation.
- The Civil Service is too powerful, biased and in many cases seemingly incompetent, the obvious example being immigration policy.