Friday, 27 May 2011

The young are right to be anti-Party

The young are right to be anti-party, when the parties in question are private political clubs, that is. In Europe the voices of the angered young are louder, as the Guardian comments today, but the antagonism of the young towards the political class is none the less in the UK. The gagging stench of cronyism and corruption, privilege and nepotism, avarice and self-seeking hangs heavy over our political parties. They have become remote metropolitan elites, bereft of local grass-roots membership and support and therefore utterly alien to a generation that has never known the old Conservative Associations of the '70s, the Liberal Clubs and Labour Federations. 

In place of members, the parties have become national brands, and rely increasingly on marketing and brand identity. Cameron's Coke against Miliband's Pepsi. But as brand marketers have long known, the rules are different for the young. Political attempts to 'get down wiv der yoof' are risibly transparent to young people, and make the party head office marketers into figures of derision. Particularly when viral youth wisdom holds the entire political class responsible for their debt and joblessness, and for all the broken promises. 

And so to Sir Christopher Kelly's Committee on Standards in Public Life. Last year they started an inquiry into party funding, with an intention to publish their report in 'early 2011'. Time passed. By the end of 2010 the Committee had concluded all its evidence-taking and public consultation. Then the publication date slipped to 'Spring 2011'. Then to 'Late Spring 2011'. Then came the May elections and the purdah period and now the Committee only says it will publish 'later this year'.  

What's going on? Well, the Committee is going through the unadvertised stage that follows the public enquiry and gathering of hundreds of thousands of words of evidence, the stage called 'behind closed doors political horse-trading' in which all the evidence is ignored whilst they hammer out a conclusion palatable to all three big parties. The Lib Dems, with far fewer than their (2009) 60,000 members nationally, are as bankrupt as Greece and are desperate for our tax money to fund them. They won't support a report that says 'No' to tax funding for the three big parties based on their last vote share. Labour are now wholly reliant on the Unions for funds, and won't sign up to a £50k cap on donations that includes the Unions. The views of the public, and of all those who took the trouble to contribute to the enquiry, count for nothing. This matter will be decided by the party HQs and the political class. To their own advantage. 

The wisdom of the young in their anti-party stance should touch us all.   


Robert said...

As the Libdims are in the coalition and therefore in government, they are not getting the 'short money' they would normally receive.

They also lose their leaders questions at Question Time.

Barnacle Bill said...

Is it more apathy than wisdom that is causing our youth's anti-party stance?
Something they see more and more in their elder's reaction to the way our political elite are treating us.
Sadly I don't see anything on the horizon that is going to disturb the status quo. Nor turn our political rulers back into servants of the electorate.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

A plague on all their houses.

As Plato said, the cost of not participating in politics is that you end up being ruled by your inferiors.

I'll settle for that rather than have anything to do with the cesspit of the political class. Why don't we just push them into the sea?

cuffleyburgers said...

I'm sure you're right that we will shortly have tax payer funded parasitical parties.

And I am also sure that you are correct that the young are sickened and disillusioned by same.

However the problem is that this is a generation educated by the bleeding hearts of the BBC and largely state educated to believe that the state is the font of all goodness, so whilst there may be a typically youthful right-on social liberalism (abortions, heavy drinking and drug use) there is much less concern about the surveillance state, high taxation and true liberty as understood by libertarians.

Thus, this potentially powerful force is not going to operate in any positive direction and is likely to do more harm than good.

Anonymous said...


No donations either, they should be wholly dependent on members subscriptions and the latter's voluntary support. Of course the parties would then have to start listening the the grass roots which is something they'd rather not do.

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