Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Say what you like about New Labour, its devotion to power remains unrelenting. Our prisons may be overflowing, our schools underperforming, our public services demoralised and worn out with irrelevant change. The cabinet may be at each others' throats, the party split and the prime minister limping discredited out of office. And yet the government retains the will to power, and the burning desire to hurt its political enemies.

    The latest evidence is in the NHS, where The Times reveals today that almost seven times as many community hospitals have closed or are under threat in constituencies held by opposition MPs. There are 62 closed or at-risk hospitals in Conservative constituencies and eight in Liberal Democrat ones, with only 11 in Labour areas. Ten community hospitals have already closed this year; five in Conservative-held seats, four in Liberal Democrat seats, and one in a Labour seat.

    Maybe this is a result of demographic change. Maybe there is some fair case for redistribution of resources in each case. We don't know, because no public argument has been offered, or is likely, as to why and how the cuts will be made as they will.

    One thing we do know from earlier leaked emails, however, is that that Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, asked for government meetings over NHS cuts to be provided with "heat maps", showing marginal Labour seats where closures or cutbacks in health services might cost votes.

    Gerrymandering is nothing new, of course. But this is something more. We are moving towards a red-state, blue-state Britain. The 2000 US presidential election was so bitterly contested and so marginal that almost all the political and media attention focused just on a few swing states. The others were categorised and written off as "blue" (Democrat) or "red" (Republican); as "us" or "them". The result was and is greater and greater polarisation, as political loyalties become tribal and override considerations of need or fairness.

    A similarly political viewpoint now seems to be at work in British government. Whole areas of the country are effectively being written off as red or blue. The UK's equivalent of America's "blue" areas - such as Scotland, Wales and many cities - are taken for granted. Our "red" areas - mostly Tory strongholds in London and the south - are under-resourced by Whitehall, or targeted for greater cost burdens.

    Take Norfolk, for example: an area that could be a huge source of technology-led economic growth, if only central government cared to take a few simple steps to improve its roads and infrastructure. Or Essex, much of which has been targeted for Mr Prescott's house-building programmes, in defiance of market economics. There aren't many Labour votes in Norfolk or Essex. The result is a mockery of the language of "investment", in which genuine investments are ignored and "social investment" comes to be merely code for buying off certain groups of supporters.

    Red-state blue-state politics is controlling, bleak and pessimistic. It sets people against each other, rather than emphasising what they share. For that reason alone, it is likely to fail in Britain. But it underscores once again the need for a change of government, and the need for a more open, free and inclusive vision of the future.


    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/...e_britain.html

    To what extent do you agree or disagree that politics within Britain are becoming ever more tribal and partisan, ever more of the 'us and them' variety? Do you think that often people, and yourself, will espouse a view not based on reality, pragmatism or need, but rather based on blind adherence to an idealogy of choice? Do you think those that vote are increasingly voting with disregard to the issues and more out of a 'at least it isn't the tories/labour/BNP' mentality?

    I am not totally sure on the issue myself. I know many of my grandfathers generation who consistently voted tory/labour simply because they could not stomach a vote for the other, even though in some cases the other party were of closer standing to the individuals stance on local issues than the party they traditionally voted for. Many of my friends have cast 3/4 votes in 3/4 separate directions, and I myself have voted tory and lib dem on two occasions.

    I'm also not sure that Labour are so corrupt as to do the worst thing for the electorate if it will gain them more votes amongst unaffected demographics, or will adversely affect the chances of opposition MP's and councils come next election.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I've voted for Conservatives and Labour, one locally one nationally depending on what I thought best at the time, but if Labour is intentionally sabotaging traditional tory areas for vote gaining as the article describes it's quite worrying.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    I'll keep voting for Labour. Better then Conservatives I think.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by kam)
    I'll keep voting for Labour. Better then Conservatives I think.
    Even given the secondary talking point of the article?
 
 
 
Poll
Black Friday: Yay or Nay?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.