Feeds

Election losers? Our clapped-out parties

Worst past the post

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Opinion Here's an opinion you won't hear professional political experts utter today. The political parties came out worst from the election, they failed to inspire anyone, and don't really stand for anything any more.

If you think this is remotely controversial, hop over to our earlier article featuring 1965 predictions of the future. Back then the political classes tried to capture the optimism and boldness of the boffins. Now the politicians themselves have given up on politics, and compete on being the most competent bureaucrats. Is it any wonder, then, the voters have given up on them?

Given that a successful professional career of punditry at Westminster depends on cosy access to the main parties, this isn't surprising. The last thing they'll do is wake up one morning and announce the political class has been inept; have they just noticed?

The Tories did best, but increased their share of the vote by less than four per cent - when Labour are loathed and the economy is in the tank. The Lib Dems' brief bubble burst and they lost seats. The clapped-out governing party polled a share it last saw in the 'unelectable' 1980s.

What about the fringe parties? Enthusiasm would for them might indicate that the antipathy was directed to the Big Three, not to party politics in general. Well, they failed too - they also had rotten elections.

UKIP didn't build on its 2005 success; the Greens won an MP in the enclave of Brighton, but their share of the vote fell. I find this quite amazing, really. After five years of relentless environmental yakkery in the mass media, bombarding us on all channels at once, the Greens received a lower share of votes than the BNP. All that most Greens can now look forward to is to return to their yurts, and prepare for recycling.

As for the "political party of the digital age", as the Pirate Party UK describes itself, if it can't rally support in the wake of the Digital Economy Act, it never will. On average, in every constitutency in the UK, there were 289 spoiled ballot papers in the last General Election. The Pirates yesterday averaged about 140 votes per candidate in each constituency in which they stood.

Let's look at some unmentionables you won't hear on rolling news.

Labour probably has the biggest problems. The party always treated its core vote with contempt, housing them in rabbit hutches, expecting them to be grateful for it, and resenting them when they asked to paint the front door of the flat a different colour. A strain of puritanism in Labour's roots also resented the proles ever having any fun. But at least Labour once had an economic vision; Harold Wilson envisaged Labour as a dynamic producers' alliance. Why should we buy washing machines from Germany and Japan, Wilson wondered, when we have better engineers and designers than either? Not to mention great natural resources.

State intervention was attempted on a grand scale. It didn't work out, and when they next had a crack at power Blair abandoned this in favour of a nod towards markets. But now Labour isn't trusted to look after business, which it still treats suspiciously. Without the industrial ambition, the Puritan strain has come to the fore.

So apart from interfering, there's no there there any more. Labour isn't so likely to split as much as fizzle away.

The Tory Fail

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.