The Uninspiring Election

Fiddler Crab waving

Fiddler Crab waving

 

It’s a while since I have written anything on here. To be honest I have been feeling uninspired – and this may in large part be down to this extraordinarily tedious election campaign which seems to have been going on forever.

Of course it’s disappointing for nature and the environment to have been completely excluded from the political debate – and I’m not alone in thinking that. A poll from YouGov showed Education and the Environment were the topics electors wanted to hear more about from the parties. Even the Green Party has had almost nothing to say about nature. And plenty of commentators and politicians are happy to conflate action on climate change with environmental action, let alone any concern for nature. Why should I be surprised? Nature and the environment are not issues high up on any politician’s priority list, and they will say “the electorate is concerned about the economy, or the NHS or Europe, so we have to say what we will do” blah blah. As if we only want politicians to hold up mirrors to ourselves, rather than provide leadership.

The election appears to be being played amongst the politicians and the media, without any reference to the electorate – and that means that there have been very few genuine policy debates, just a lot of posturing and positioning.

There’s a very good reason for this. As the polls have consistently shown, another hung parliament has been guaranteed for months, so we have been subject to the unedifying performance of the parties appearing to talk to their electors, but in reality signalling like fiddler crabs on a beach, to each other, as to what they would be prepared to do (or not do) to work together.  Because of our now thoroughly anachronistic first past the post voting system, the battle has focussed down on a few key marginals, and just a hundred thousand voters will determine the outcome for the other 65 million inhabitants, so all the resources of the parties are concentrated on these pressure points.

It is no real surprise that, apart from in Scotland where PR and the close fought referendum has energised politics, the electorate feels disenfranchised and angry or apathetic; and this in part will lead to a large “protest vote” for UKIP on the right and the Greens on the left, but also could see the lowest turnout in modern election history. Whoever ends up in Government may struggle to persuade the country they have a mandate, though whether they will care about that seems questionable.

Who will I vote for? West Dorset isn’t a real marginal and the campaigning has been very sub fusc. Our MP is Oliver Letwin and he has slowly increased his majority over the past few elections  – in 97 it was a very slim 840, in 2010 it was just under 4000. I don’t think it will surprise anyone that I won’t be voting for him, even though he is evidently quite a good constituency MP. The Labour candidate and the Green have both said they support the Rampisham solar farm development, which will make it difficult for me to give either of them my vote, even though I usually vote Green.

That leaves the Lib Dem Ros Kaye who has changed her mind and now objects to the Rampisham development, which is good news. And the Lib Dems are the only party who could unseat Letwin. But then they have been complicit in so many awful policy decisions as part of the last coalition Government – could I really hold my nose, ignore that, and vote on local issues close to my heart? To be honest I am still undecided and I am not alone. Apparently 40% of the electorate have not made up their mind yet.

How will you vote? Will you bother, and what sort of a Government would you like to see at the end?

 

 

Photo by Mnolf (Photo taken on Taveuni, Fiji) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
This entry was posted in 2015 election, Nature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Uninspiring Election

  1. mgshersby says:

    I also feel frustrated by the lack of nature / wildlife being discussed!
    Particularly as I am co-ordinating A Focus On Nature’s Vision for Nature blog posts – members are writing about a variety of topics close to their hearts, with the theme of how they see the natural world being in 2050 and how to get there. http://www.afocusonnature.org/a-vision-for-nature

  2. Gwilym Wren says:

    Miles I am too dismayed at the lack of environmental awareness (apart from the fogging around climate change). I was however intrigued to see this which is apparently buried in the various manifestos!
    http://www.tep.uk.com/2015/04/29/the-general-election-and-the-environment-what-are-they-saying/
    A pity we cant cherry pick the best bits.

  3. penniewoodfall says:

    As for nature or should I say nurture…..
    I’m voting for Caroline Lucas…
    Then again I live in Brighton
    I like a person who is ethical
    Most unusual in our hotbed of a ‘motley lot’
    However, Good luck!

  4. John Kay says:

    A very apposite pic of the crab. Not for the fiddling potential – it’s the overdevelopment of the bird finger that I like …

  5. David Dunlop says:

    I live in Chorley, Lancashire, a Labour/Conservative “bellweather” seat. Previously I lived in Oxford East, a Labour/Conservative marginal. Before that I lived in Antrim South in eastern Northern Ireland: the last contest in Antrim South between parties likely to form the UK Government was in 1885, between the Conservatives and the Liberals. The Conservatives won – narrowly! They and most of the local Liberals went into “temporary” coalition at the next UK general election to oppose Home Rule for Ireland, at least unless Ulster were excluded… The then (UK) Labour Party held its first annual conference (under that name) in Belfast in 1907. In 1919 it “ran away” from all of Ireland and told its supporters to vote for the SNP, I mean the Irish Labour Party – which has never fielded candidates in “The North”. (!)

    It’s still a source of some wonder to me that in both English consituencies my vote actually counts for something this side of The Sheugh; albeit, thanks to the Victorian voting system, I only really had/have a choice of two – at least until we experience something like “The Strange Death Of Liberal England” (and eastern Ulster); perhaps to be repeated this Thursday as “The Strange Death Of Labour Scotland”?

    • Miles King says:

      thanks Dave. It seems you are one of the few hundred thousand whose votes will determine what sort of shenanigans take place after the vote, and who will ultimately wield power for the next however long.

      Perhaps the most extraordinary thing to come out of this election will be to see Labour wiped out in its Scottish heartland.

      • David Dunlop says:

        Ah, The Power! Mhwhahaha!! Though, if re-elected, my MP until last month’s dissolution may be back in the Deputy Speaker’s Chair if re-elected, and so not voting on anything…

      • Miles King says:

        Ah yes. He could become speaker I suppose, if the knives that were out for Bercow reappear after the election….

  6. Herman says:

    We are killing ourselves by not caring for the environment. Hope this elections puts a government that will be aware of the dangers.

    • Miles King says:

      thanks Herman. Sadly I doubt that any government arising from this election will place sufficient care in the environment, but I will be very happy to be proved wrong.

      • Mud-Lark says:

        Of course politicians care about the environment ;), they look at it as a resource to be used and abused? Vast majority of bankers and business alike, there to be developed and of course in their ivory towers aloft or is it aloof to …. nature will heal and repair?

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