National Nervous Breakdown
Radio 4 can make a long journey seem much shorter. It was interesting to finally hear from the minority parties in our country yesterday. The ten minute session on the ‘Week in Westminster’ (Radio 4 11.00a.m. Saturday) featured a discussion with Nigel Farrage, Caroline Lucas and George Galloway with Peter Kellner alongside giving the stats. There was very little point scoring and George Galloway was clearly a fan of Dr Lucas, as he called her.
Among several well-made points was the fact that less people vote for the main parties than ever before. In the 1951 election, 95% of the electorate voted either Labour or Conservative. At the Bradford West bye-election the mainstream parties received barely 40% of the vote. UKIP came second in the last European elections pushing NewLabour into third place and are currently polling above the LibDems. Caroline Lucas said there was considerable anger among the public at the way all three parties agree to keep troops in Afghanistan and are also very much on the same wavelength on ‘austerity.’ She thought the nation was close to national election nervous breakdown as trust in the main parties is evaporating and mainstream politicians are so despised. George Galloway repeated his three cheeks on the same backside line. All felt that they had to keep pushing - not only against the system which rewards the status quo - but also against the media who are embedded with the status quo. Only the Guardian bothered to send a reporter to Bradford before the election.
As if to prove their case along came ‘Any Questions’ at 1.10p.m. On the panel was the odious creep Alan Duncan, Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson (so that was two tories then) Caroline Flint New Labour and International law expert Phillippe Sands, a LibDem supporter. So the three cheeks were well represented. The programme was ably chaired by Nick Robinson, but as so often with these programmes the alternative view was absent.
Galloway was on ‘Question Time’ last Thursday with an audience in Leeds who were not sympathetic but he gave far better than he got. In particular a spat with ex Communist (now bubble-dweller) Times columnist David Aaranovitch was particularly venomous. The programme benefited hugely by having a different approach aired.
We have a country ruled by an elite on behalf of their rich tax avoiding chums; who regard the electorate with disdain; and who would not recognise poverty if it came and smacked them in the chops. We need to throw many of these self-serving self-satisfied smug bastards out and let real people who have to deal with the actualities have a go.
Let the National Nervous Breakdown begin.