Are we really going to have an election based on the personalities of the two party leaders?
If it is a beauty contest I don’t think I want to play. but it appears that we have become a ‘Presidential’ democracy, with the Prime Minister ruling their cabinet as with a rod of steel. We have already seen that Theresa May does not like being challenged and appears to set her own agenda, which is fine, there has always been a wistful look towards a benign dictatorship. However we should remember that history shows that these rarely end well.
History is littered with these all powerful leaders, Kings, Presidents, Prime Minister or whatever sobriquet they are known by, in recent times we saw Margaret Thatcher eventually ousted by her party and Tony Blair seems to have condemned the Labour party to oblivion. If this change in style was not bad enough for democracy, the latest gerrymandering of our political system has really set us in a spin – the referendum on EU membership has really stretched our system of representative democracy.
So lets remind ourselves of what it really should be about. Like it or loathe it we have a party political system based on a confrontational chamber. This is sustained by a first past the post system so that we have a house that is split into a government and an opposition, while there is much to be said for coalitions, and we have seen the potential of minority parties influencing government, but look at those democracy that use proportional representation and have multiplicity of small parties who form groups to run the country – Italy for instance has not had strong government arguably because of their political system.
So “strong and stable” government comes from the party politics, not the figurehead, so the party manifesto should be the key to choosing your candidate not their choice of shoes. It is what the candidate will do when in power that is important – not their ability to besmirch their opponents.
So before you put your cross next to any candidate make sure that you understand what their party stands for, it is rarely as simple as just one issue and promises must pass a reality check.