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Fealiks 07-05-2007 03:30 PM

Political ignorance..?
 
I love History lessons at my school. My teacher is excellent, he is 23 and sadly is soon leaving my school to be a lecturer. He has some unique ways of teaching and a very political mind, today this was demonstrated with an experiment of his. He printed out three English political party's manifestos on a sheet without naming the party (they were indicated as "Party A", "Party B" and "Party C"). We were made to read the manifestos and we were given an entirely confidential ballot voting for A, B or C.

I voted for Party A, as did eight others. Three people voted for party C and only two voted for B (there were only 14 people present in my form...)

After voting, we were told who the parties were. Party B, the party with the least votes was Conservative. Party C was Labour. Party A, the winning party, was The Green Party.

This, to me, suggests that The Green Party would win the general elections if people read the manifesto before voting. What do you think?

Joshi 07-05-2007 07:13 PM

I think it suggests a manifesto alone isn't enough to judge which party to vote for, if that were the case, finding a political niche would be much easier for people. You really need to go into much more detail about each party before you choose who to vote for.

It also suggests that the 14 people in your class aren't a decent enough sample of the UK population to come to the conclusion that the Green party would win if everyone just read the manifesto, actually, the very fact that some people voted for Conservative and Labour goes against that, even if they were the minority in your class because it means people out there actually have reasons for not voting for the Green Party and voting for others and considering you're still young and idealistic, of course most of you would choose that, it makes sense now, but it may not in a few years time.

elTee 07-06-2007 01:11 PM

The problem in my experience with small parties like the Green Party is that they cater to a very exact audience - in this case, the environment. It's great if that's your primary concern of course, but the majority of people care about things like taxes and the war. Personally I think the whole drugs issue needs dealing with most of all because it's a mess, but that's not a primary issue with any (large) party I'm aware of.

Of course I've never read any manifestos so this is just conjecture.

Joshi 07-06-2007 01:59 PM

You're basically right though, whilst each party has some kind of stance on just about all the issues (labour will have a stance on the environment, Green Party will have one on taxes) individual party's will put more emphasis on certain things and priorities won't be the same. Frankly, the priorities of party's like Labour or Conservatives greatly resemble that of the majority of the UK which is why they get the majority vote.

There's also the whole marketting thing, if the Greeen Party had enough funding come election time, they'd be able to get their voice heard more by people who don't bother with reading manifests or looking into the parties and just go along with the crowd.

Fealiks 07-06-2007 04:13 PM

A brief overlook of the Green Party's ideas can be found here. Although it is quite biased, it will do if you aren't interested in the big one. As you can see, it's not perfectly sound but I think they are along the right lines.

I think you will agree that this is quite attractive
Quote:

Originally Posted by A very brief guide to Green Party policies
Eco Taxes - Greens would abolish VAT and put selective eco taxes on aviation fuel, plastic bags, and other sources of pollution

As is this
Quote:

Originally Posted by A very brief guide to Green Party policies
Peace - Greens would have a defence policy based on international cooperation and conflict prevention, and would abolish the UK's nuclear weapons

I recommend looking at brief manifests of other parties too, LT.

Joshi 07-06-2007 05:29 PM

If they abolish VAT and only charge eco tax on certain things, taxes would rise (they would have to). No one would like that.

As for the defense policy, get rid of our nukes that that's one less obstacle other countries will come across if they decided to nuke us. Peace is all well and good as long as everyone else goes along with it, but we have no power over other countries.

Brighteyes 07-06-2007 05:30 PM

Hey, i'd love there to be green policies coming out of everyones asses but it ain't gonna happen. If the green party ever got in they'd sit down at the end of the first day and say......"What the bloody hell was that!!" They probably wouldn't have a clue, best to leave it to experience love or hate them, they do know what needs to be done wether they do it or not. Go Cameron!

Samnmax221 07-06-2007 08:07 PM

I know Green Party policy, I'd never vote for them. I'm comfortable where I am.

Joshi 07-06-2007 08:40 PM

Uh oh. I don't know Green Party policy. Does their gaining power involve me having to leave?

Samnmax221 07-06-2007 08:53 PM

I doubt it.

Fealiks 07-07-2007 08:02 AM

Why would you have to leave? Are you illegal?

Kjlen 07-08-2007 06:29 PM

We did something similar to that party thing once. Except that the majority of people voted for Hitler's party without realizing it. Was supposed to point out... err... something.

DrMcCoy 07-08-2007 10:00 PM

That manifestos are worth jack, that politicians are lying *******s that will do anything they please once they're in power anyway?

Fender 07-10-2007 09:16 PM

A manifesto is a promise of action, therefore politicians (atleast in the UK) are in theory bound by the promises they make. This has caused problems through the re-interpretation of manifesto promises (eg. Tuition Fees - "We will not introduce tuition fees in the lifetime of this parliament), because people expect to get what they vote for.

The whole focus of this experiment your teacher has done appears to be on voting behaviour, and it is pretty well established that a majority of the youth are likely to be more radical than older people, who are likely to be more conservative (not necessarily supporting the Conservative party, with a large "C", but conservative with a small "c" in that they are more opposed to change and hardcore government intervention). As a result, I would say that it is wrong to say that if everyone read the manifestos, the Greens would win a majority in Parliament.

You also have to think of the Political culture in the UK. The average Brit is pretty well characterised as being radical in their heads, and conservative in their heart. As a result, there has been no major change in British politics since 1918, where Labour first showed signs of becoming the real opposition to the Conservatives, instead of the Liberals who had held the role of one of the big two parties since the real formation of anything resembling cohesive parties in the UK Parliament (probably best dated to the Palmerston meeting in (i think) 1832 for the Liberals, and around the Robert Peel era of the 1840's/50's ish for the Conservative party, with a binding strength in 1886 with the absorption of the Liberal Unionist wing of the Liberal Party). The nature of the First-Past-The-Post system is thus - the party with a majority of constituency seats controls the House of Commons. This means that as an election is fought on a constituency basis, a large amount of constituencies around the UK could be seen as "safe seats" for either of the big 2 parties, with a few "safe seats" for the Liberal Democrats, which means they are very unlikely to change their vote between elections. As a result, it is pretty much a given that the winner of any election will be the Labour Party, or the Conservative Party, simply based on the number of safe seats around the UK. As any votes for a party in a constituency that it doesn't win are "wasted" and do not count for anything, apathy has crept up among voters and people are even less likely to vote for a smaller party (such as the Greens), because of the likelihood of their votes not counting (think of the Simpsons sketch: man in crowd: "I'm going to vote for a third party!" Kodos: "Go ahead, throw your vote away!". Even though this is an American example, it accurately potrays the same problem in the British system, being that both countries work on a plurality system.

As well as this, some people consider themselves affiliated to a party, regardless of what the manifesto says, and once again, this is generally to any of the big 2 (or 3) parties. These people who feel they are strongly afilliated to a certain party (be it on a grounds of class, family voting patterns or whatever) are highly unlikely to change their vote, simply because that would be doing things differently. Another example of the conservative nature of some Brits.

Basically, what I am trying to say is I think that your conclusion is a crock of ****, in that suggesting on the basis of your class' results in a ballot, the whole of the UK would fall in line with your results as well. However, I do agree that you should always read the ballots that come at election time and make your decisions that way, instead of just voting blindly or not voting at all. This last bit will be especially important when we finally get a proportional system (McCoy, I'm so very very jealous) and a reformed House of Lords, as people may start to actually think that their vote matters in the running of the country, and that the groups that run their crusades will actually be able to gain some level of power in Parliament.

Anyway, rant over. Kudos to anyone who read that. Apologies if it doesn't make as much sense as I hope it does, I tried not to be overly technical but it comes as habit and I'm half asleep anyway.

Joshi 07-11-2007 09:34 AM

So... how well do you think you actually did in that Politics A-level exam? I'd assume pretty good.

Fealiks 07-11-2007 01:24 PM

Fender, I have since re-evaluated my conclusion based on the obvious reasons of it being children voting, most of whom are immature idiots anyway, and the apparent voting of green by all of the chavs just because most of my friends and I did, even though it was supposed to be confidential.

I think that the chavs are a worry in our country almost as much as the political state is. The fact that the large majority of most UK schools (definately mine) is populated by inbred, brain-dead morons whose parents are probably only about 12 years older than they are is worrying, as is the fact that the only reason the schools aren't even fuller with them is that most of them are roaming the streets (usually drawing random crude pictures of various genitals with the words "ur mum" following an arrow pointing to the picture), as is the fact that probably over 90% of today's youth has almost no sense of right and wrong at all.
This isn't a new problem, but it is definitely an increasing one. Something seriously needs to be done about it, but there doesn't seem to be much we can do. I'd prefer something involving fire.

Joshi 07-11-2007 03:49 PM

Chavs are a problem all over the world, they just have different names. It is a growing worry which the Government tried to deal with by issuing ASBO's... which is actually admirable by our Government as they probably didn't think the Chavs would start thinking of ASBO's as badges of honour.

Short of that though, there's little the Government can do, it's a problem with society, a problem with the parents who don't know how to raise their kids. Nothing much we can do about that really except educate them, and even then that's difficult.

Fender 07-12-2007 05:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joshi
Short of that though, there's little the Government can do, it's a problem with society, a problem with the parents who don't know how to raise their kids. Nothing much we can do about that really except educate them, and even then that's difficult.

True that, it's a social problem rather than a political problem. A lot of it is down to social culture though, in my eyes, peer pressure and all that. Since the 50's, the typical teenager has been seen to 'rebel' to some extent, and the chav culture is a manifestation of that, in that they seem to be rebelling against traditional morals etc. Some people just don't want to be nice (that said, I know a lot of nice chavvy people, and a lot of total dicks who aren't chavs, so it's not just chavs).

Joshi 07-12-2007 07:21 PM

It technically works in waves, as you say, it started roughly in the 50's when teenagers started to rebel more, but back then it was still a rare thing, kids back then were mainly very law abiding and so on.

Now it's changed, there are a lot more "rebels" or what they like to think of themselves as "non-conformists" around now (not more than conformists mind, if there were the world would be in much more diarray than it is now). In fact, it's become to clich to be a non-conformist now that it's more non-conformists to be conformist.

Fender 07-12-2007 08:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joshi
It technically works in waves, as you say, it started roughly in the 50's when teenagers started to rebel more, but back then it was still a rare thing, kids back then were mainly very law abiding and so on.

Now it's changed, there are a lot more "rebels" or what they like to think of themselves as "non-conformists" around now (not more than conformists mind, if there were the world would be in much more diarray than it is now). In fact, it's become to clich to be a non-conformist now that it's more non-conformists to be conformist.

Haha, almost right on the last point. I think it's more a case of rather than non-conformist attitudes springing up, there are simply more conformist avenues available. There are still the non-conformists, who don't conform simply by doing, as opposed to thinking and moulding an image.


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