Many people are feeling disconnected from the Westminster bubble. The whole political system is in a great big mess at the moment. The separation between our political representatives and the nation has got to new levels in the last decade.
MP Expenses Scandal 2009-10
Reputations of politicians generally were decimated by the expenses scandals of 2009-10 where four MPs were jailed for false accounting and three peers from the House of Lords were suspended too due to their expenses claims. It wasn’t just the individuals who were criminally convicted who were tainted in the public’s eyes. Many had claims for expenses that did not sit well with their electorate.
The nation was quite aggrieved at the disconnect between the Westminster bubble and the lives of their constituents. A certain amount of change has occurred in the Houses of Parliament and greater scrutiny and awareness of what is acceptable was brought in, but many voters still weren’t impressed by the behaviours of their MPs.
EU Referendum 2016
This year has seen a further widening in the relationships between politicians, their political parties, and the electorate. The EU Referendum was a divisive campaign that saw voters have their say on the subject and the surprising element for many politicians was that they voted for what they thought rather than what they wanted them to vote.
MPs of all political parties were voting one way or another, and their electorate ended up voting the opposite way. Where an area voted to leave the EU, the MP in many cases was campaigning to remain within the EU. This happened in many places up and down the country and was a big shock to politicians and in the political circles.
This must have left many politicians in a bit of a pickle. Their parties had some individuals who voted to remain, and they had some individuals who voted to leave. Their local MPs had mostly voted to remain, but their constituents had voted differently. This isn’t an article that is going into the merits or demerits of either side of the referendum, it is just to highlight the differences in opinions and views that the campaign had highlighted.
Distrust and disconnection
I would confidently say that a lot of people have a lot of distrust and lack of connectivity with many politicians nowadays. There are a lot of people who are disconnected with party politics as a whole too. There is no political party in Westminster (or trying desperately to get into Westminster!) that are without significant room for criticism and comment for how disaffected and disenfranchised the nation has become with them.
I would make a wild stab in the dark that a lot of people at general elections voted for one party’s candidate because they don’t want the other party getting in, or out of fear of a different party gaining control. Voting for one just to keep another one out, rather than voting for who they think will do the best job for their area.
I’d go one step further than that too. Voting for a party rather than for the individual representing the party. Voting for the beliefs and principals of the candidate? No, voting for the colour of their rosette rather than for what they as an individual believes in.
The current official Opposition, the Labour Party has a massive problem at the moment. There is an impasse where the Leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn, has been selected twice by the members of the party, but is deeply unpopular with large numbers of the Members of Parliament from the party.
Those who are standing in constituencies representing a party that is led by someone they don’t like his policies. Yet, many will vote for this situation because of a greater dislike of the Conservative Party (and/or other parties).
None of the above!
It has been said on many an occasion that if there was an option of ‘None Of The Above’ on the ballot paper that they would get a massive win in pretty much every constituency in the land. This is a horrendous state for our nation to be in. Why is there such low turnout at elections? It is partly due to the disconnect and lack of unity between a constituency and the beliefs of the political parties as a whole.
You might have a very nice MP. You may think they do a lot of work for their local area. They may care passionately about what can be done in the area and back local people in their troubles. None of this is disputed by me. There will be lovely, caring, public-serving people who are also victims of the political dark world where they are tarred with the same brush unworthily.
If only more people were like them and their hard working diligence for public service. Party politics sullies the hard work that occurs around the land by the good few.
There are many problems with politics and this disconnection needs to be repaired really soon, or the general public will not stand for their representatives not representing them as they believe they should be doing so.