Sunday, 5 September 2021

Proud Democratic Tradition

The Elections Bill is a funny one. The rich vote Labour and Conservative in equal measure, but the far more numerous poor overwhelmingly vote Conservative, so there is a Conservative Government with an enormous Commons majority. Yet the beneficiaries wish to disenfranchise everyone who cannot afford to drive, or to travel abroad, or both. They want to take the vote away from large numbers of the people who gave them the Red Wall seats, for the most part by very small margins.

Joint campaigns between political parties and trade unions or many other civil society organisations will be made more or less illegal, yet big personal and corporate donations will henceforth be allowed even from abroad. How very Keir Starmer. And the powers of the Secretary of State over the Electoral Commission are to be extended considerably. Any extension of Ministerial powers is to the benefit of any future Minister in that position, regardless of party, as the Conservatives understood when they waived through numerous such power grabs between 1997 and 2010. It is no wonder that the Labour Party intends to do nothing more than vote against this Bill pro forma.

As with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the real Opposition is elsewhere. It so very often has been. There were mass movements outside Parliament, but only a handful of MPs actively supported the miners, opposed apartheid, opposed the Poll Tax, opposed the wars of the last 20 years, opposed austerity, opposed the assaults on civil liberties that attended austerity and the wars, opposed and resist the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act, opposed and resist the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act, oppose and will resist the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts  Bill and Act, and will oppose and resist the Elections Bill and Act. Only one MP has appeared on every single one of those lists. Inter a great deal of alia, he was right about the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, which we see today is an ongoing disaster even after all these years. Can you guess his name?