The recent UK elections and the wheelings and dealings after that gave a feeling of déjà vu for us in India. The election results led to a hung parliament with no one party getting a majority. The Conservatives got 306 seats but not enough to form a government of their own. The Liberal Democrats got 57 votes and became the “king makers”. After hectic negotiations they decided to go with the Conservatives and not with the Labour Party which had 258 MPs. The negotiations involved ministerial berths and handouts for their respective constituencies.
At the end of the day all the three big parties of the ruling class in UK represented the same values and constituencies. They were all agreed on Britain’s participation in imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were all agreed on bailing out the rich in the current economic crisis by making the workers pay. In the UK, ultimate power resides in the monarch in parliament. People are just voting cattle, no better no worse than in India. One can get taken in by the façade of “mother of parliamentary democracy”, but you just have to scratch the surface and the gory entrails of an archaic political process and system become visible. In the present system of representative democracy, the people of Britain have no say in running the affairs of the country. Their political rights end with parting with their vote. That is the reason why only 60% electorate turned out for voting and millions of voters were undecided. Knowing well that this system is increasingly getting discredited in the eyes of the people, the Westminster cartel of political parties is advocating electoral reforms without touching the core of the anti-people political process, as they do in India. The ruling parties there are debating whether the replacement of the Simple Majority system with an Alternate Vote system or a proportional system will be able to fool the people for some more time. The representative system of democracy has become anachronistic in today’s world. What we need is a system of direct democracy where people themselves select and elect their candidates, have the right to recall, initiate legislation and play a central role in running the affairs of the country. Ultimate power should reside in the hands of the people and not in a monarch or President or prime Minister. It is heartening to note that just as we are witnessing growing people’s initiatives in challenging the existing political process, in Britain too, the recent elections threw up many initiatives to make the people come to the centrestage of politics and demand a complete overhaul of the political and electoral process.