Ken Livingstone has probably damaged himself irrecoverably with his hysterical and hypocritical talk of tax avoidance and so he very unlikely to win the London Mayoral election. People seem to accept politicians talking bollocks all the time but they do expect them to be consistent and trust them to at least believe in their views even if they are wrong. When they do abuse that position of trust (Trust? Politician? Oxymoron! I’m laughing as I type this) by being a hypocrite then only the die hard and seriously deluded followers will still vote for them.
In Ken’s case the number of die hard followers are dwindling rapidly. At lot of Labour voters have been dissuaded from voting for him. Even some who are in his campaign group are deserting him. This is not by any publicity from the other parties, but by his own actions. He has effectively shot himself in the foot if not the head.
But it raised an interesting issue in my mind about what Labour voters can do now. Do they vote for Boris, abstain, or vote for one of the others.
Because of the two party tribal system you are either in one camp or the other. You are either the winning side or the losing side. You are either a friend or in the enemy camp. So when your side pretty much jacks it in and gives up what do you do. Defect to the enemy? With the tribal system that is seen as a big no no. Do fans of ManU cheer on ManC in the cup when ManU has lost so as to keep Manchester at the top of the league? Don’t be silly. This effectively means that these voters are now disenfranchised.
Alternatively if there was no party system and only independent politicians (who might have left or right leaning views of varying extremes) then voters can decide who to vote for based on the politician’s manifesto rather than voting on a tribal basis. The politicians might have some overlap but there will always be something that differentiates them. Rather than a small number of candidates linked to the small number of parties, there could be a lot more candidates all emphasising the wide range of real political views held by the population.
All voters have different views on life and all have different priorities. Some might see education as #1 whilst others health as top priority. Some might see personal philanthropy and charity work as key aspects of society whilst others prefer to see the state provide such cover. Some like to have everything regulated and controlled, others can’t stand the thought. Everyone is different.
Whilst those on the extreme right or left have strong unchanging views, those in the middle will pick and choose whatever aspects interest them. So you could have an entrepreneurial upper class businessman who you would normally think as Conservative, holding views that are typical of a socialist like state provision of health care for their autistic son. It’s the extent to which this person puts that provision in their list of priorities which defines where on the left/right scale they sit. So the businessman might actually vote for the politician who puts that top of their manifesto.
By being freed from voting on tribal aspects voters can decide which politician’s manifesto is linked more closely to their own views. We might get a better class of politician who is true to their word and not hypocritical. But then I’m probably dreaming!