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Old 07-10-2007, 09:16 PM   #14
Fender
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Somewhere Boring, England
Posts: 2,158
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.


Listening to you, I get the music
Gazing at You, I get the heat
Following you, I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet

Right behind you, I see the millions
On you, I see the glory
From you, I get opinions
From you, I get the story

[From the Who's album, TOMMY]
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