What's The Answer?
Posted on February 24th, 2017
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
After hearing the result of the Copeland By-Election, I posted a question on Twitter, wondering if anyone could explain why, when the Tories are dismantling the English NHS, which is supposed to be the one thing most citizens want to retain, voters in England persist in electing Tory MPs.
This is a conundrum. If there is an answer, it is probably that, like all elections, it has a variety of reasons, since there is no accounting for how people will vote in any election, and every individual will have their own reasons.
So why does England insist on voting Tory? Here are some possible answers, all of which are more than a bit concerning.
First, Tory supporters are more likely to vote than other people. The turn-out for Copeland was less than 50%. What on earth are the non-voters thinking? Are they so disillusioned with politics that they can’t be bothered to vote for changing a system which has failed them? Do they care so little that their Health service will soon disappear that they can’t register a protest vote?
A possible second answer is the dire state of Labour. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s insipid leadership, the Party has torn itself apart and offers no opposition to the Tory Government, often supporting them in votes in the Commons or, at best, abstaining. Given such little choice, do voters think the Tories are a safer bet? Voting for the Greens, or even the Lib Dems at a push, would surely send a message to the Government.
Thirdly, and this one is really scary, has the dominance of UKIP propaganda so influenced voters in England that they are more concerned about keeping foreigners out of the UK than they are about preserving the NHS? Would they rather see their hospitals, libraries, Police stations, Fire stations, etc close down than see another Polish family move in down the street? Disdain for foreigners has always been a part of British culture, but far too many people have transformed this into rampant xenophobia. Are they so blinded by this that they cannot see what the Tories are doing to them?
The fourth reason might be that voters in England are really, really poorly informed and don’t understand the consequences of what their votes will achieve. Fed on a diet of tabloid hate-mongering and BBC promotion of Right Wing policies, have they fallen for the Establishment view without taking the time to question it or to find alternative sources of information?
To be honest, if this was a multiple choice question, I wouldn’t know which answer to give. “All of the Above" might cover it, I suppose.
There is, though, one glaring answer which comes out of this. Whatever reasons English voters might have for electing MPs who will actively work against their interests, it is clear that the UK is going to be under Tory rule for the foreseeable future. Scotland needs to escape that fate, and there is only one way to accomplish that.