The other day, sometime late after dinner, I was drawn into a little conversation regarding party politics. Somebody mentioned that Ed Miliband was more comfortable at attacking the Daily Mail than he was in putting forward his policies.
In response, I made a quip to the effect that it was surprising that Ed Miliband had policies (as in plural). After all, the mainstream coverage around the Labour party conference was split between his one policy of freezing energy prices and the coverage of Damian McBride’s new book, along with his publisher attacking an old man on Brighton seafront.
For pointing out that it’s a mystery as to what Labour’s current policies are, I received some criticism. Some of this was from party members.
I would add, at this point, that I am not and have never been a member of any political party. If anyone would like me to elaborate why, that would be a separate blog post!
The episode brought to my mind the idea that we all live in our own little bubbles. I look on the political bubbles with some interest, but I am not within any of them. I have my views and I will, from time to time express them (for example here, here or here), but I am certainly not part of the ‘Westminster village’. As such, I am reliant on the unreliable media that we have in the UK as my source of information. I don’t read party manifestos from cover to cover, but I will give each a fair hearing, even if I am inclined against them.
In the example above, I am sure there was much more discussed at the Labour party conference than the proposed freezing of energy prices (a proposal condemned by the bosses of the energy companies, who then started offering their customers price freezes themselves – though not after hiking their prices up at a rate far in excess of inflation) yet this one idea and the ensuing debate dominated the coverage.
Time is short in this life, and there is much to care about. Some may choose to be political aficionados. I am comfortable to know my own mind and will express this to my elected representatives from time to time. When it comes to vote, I am resigned to the fact that we live in a part political system. Much as I would like to vote for those who are most closely aligned to my view, the first past the post voting system is rigged against those like me. So instead, I usually vote tactically between the 2 main parties in my constituency, voting for the least immoral of the two.