A Tourist’s Guide to the upcoming UK election, by Paul Gallagher
Yes, there’s yet another election. So many in so few years proves that the UK is the most democratic country in the world, and as every English child is taught, the birthplace of democracy. 
What a difficult choice we have! So many parties and so many policies to consider. Such different leaders. Who will be the next Prime Minister? 
Anyway, here is a breakdown of the political parties and leaders to help you vote, even if you can’t be bothered, remember, we must support democracy by voting. 
The Conservative Party [or Tories]
The Tories represent conservatism, or heading forward into the past, such as leaving Europe as well as the EU, reinstating the Commonwealth as a dynamic entity under UK control, [can’t be democratic can it?], reinstating Grammar schools, abandoning the Convention of Human Rights, having fewer MP’s [is that democratic?], scrapping free school meals for infants [they don’t vote], and including the value of the home property in the calculation of assets for home care as well as residential care, [ a tongue twister designed to make you ignore the policy, n.b. old voters may not make it to the polling station, or to the next election, or may be too demented to vote other than conservative anyway].
Theresa May leads the Tory party, and many have compared her to Margaret Thatcher, a great Tory leader who got voted in mainly by women, who then put back women’s equality by decades. But Theresa May doesn’t like being compared to Margaret Thatcher, not for this reason, but because she wants to be seen to represent all of the nation, that way she can grab UKIP votes, many of whom were previously Labour voters. And in these difficult times of negotiation with the EU, when essentially all the best UK negotiators have decided to stay and work in Europe, she is left with hard Brexiteers in her party who hate the EU, and she wants to wallop them with a big stick to keep the dogs down to become supreme leader, grinning as she does so. Fear not, it is unlikely that the ravenous beasts will take heel.
The Labour Party
Not to be confused with New Labour who are now out of date with a return of old Labour, and a general tendency to return to a militant tendency. In this sense Labour too has headed back to the future, with old policies of reinstating class conflict as a way forward, seeking to increase union rights, especially to strike, and a rejection of the EU, because it is clearly a capitalist economic institution,  despite the fact that the UK has been the most capitalist country of all in Europe, and working conditions and protection for worker’s rights are better in most EU countries. To understand this apparent contradiction it is necessary to follow Marx’s interpretation of the inevitability of history through a Hegelian dialectic of class conflict. And thoroughly enjoy it.
The new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was surprisingly voted in on a wave of newly registered Labour membership voters, the youthful Corbynistas, who previously had not been interested in politics, and Trotskyites who were too interested but had been expelled from the party, These groups and their supporters helped in Momentum, an ironic term for left-wing male supremacy and intimidation, and since then the Labour Party has lost momentum with an astonishing collapse in the polls, as Jeremy proceeded to purge labour of all new Labour. The lovable old hard-liner is now left with fewer and fewer MP’s as supporters, and any of those opposing Labour MP’s he hopes to purge when they lose their seats at the coming election [ most are in marginal constituencies], this will bring about a glorious victory [or defeat however you choose to look at it] when Labour are decimated at the coming election.
The Liberal Democrat Party
This is an interesting third-party that has in fact not been the third-party for years. In Northern Ireland it hardly exists, in Scotland it has almost been wiped out, and in England it has been overtaken by UKIP. It has achieved this dynamic self-destruction in record time, having shared government till 2015. However it set about its demise early, when Nick Clegg, its then leader, immediately on joining a coalition government with the Tories in 2010, reneged on a key election promise to stop the introduction of student tuition fees. In fact fees became treble the figure the Tories mooted. This betrayal managed to alienate not only students, who overwhelming till then had supported the party, but also alienated all education-minded people, ie. all their own voters and potential voters. The party has managed a dramatic collapse in the polls from 24% at the 2010 election to 8%, and from 57 MP’s to just eight.
In an attempt to turn back the clock and to counter public mistrust after this election betrayal, and the unholy liaison with the Tories, the party elected a new leader Tim Farron. Admittedly they only had seven possible candidates to choose from, yet they did manage to elect Tim who admits to having had a pin up poster of Margaret Thatcher on his wall as a schoolboy. And famously said ‘we are all sinners’ when pushed on his views on C4 news, possibly an election maxim, or a late apology for the homophobic Lib Dem campaign against Peter Tatchell in the 1983 Berrmondsey election, or maybe that never happened.
UKIP also have a fascinating history of destruction and self-destruction, from a high of being the first placed party with 27% in the EU election of 2014 to just 4% predicted now. In 2016 Steven Woolfe, UKIP MEP, said the party was in a ‘death spiral’. But UKIP have achieved great success in destruction nevertheless. In blaming foreigners, well the EU, for everything, they have managed to give a voice to the long split inside the Tory party on Europe, and free the Tory party to be clearly now a chauvinist, nationalistic, anti-immigrant party who won’t even take political refugees from wars they whole heartedly pursued. UKIP have also freed the British electorate’s voice on issues of immigration and nationality, if at times a confused one, as shown by the increase in racial attacks, on non-white British citizens  , and the fact that polls indicate the British public would vote differently now on an EU referendum.
The leadership question inside UKIP has also been fascinating for its violence and chaos. Nigel Farage who led the party to their first glorious success resigned in 2015 was reinstated three days later, and then resigned after the EU referendum in June 2016 and has aligned himself with Donald Trump the new intellectual US President, who incidentally got 2 million votes fewer than his rival, and who is also seeking to deport all resident migrants who vote Democrat. The UKIP leadership battle was then taken up literally when Steven Woolfe, who had been running to be the next leader accused fellow MEP Mike Hookem of inflicting a “blow” to his face in a row at a party meeting. I blame Europe myself, didn’t it take place there? Mr Hookem has acknowledged a “scuffle”, and the party said it was an altercation. Diane James was elected but resigned after 18 days. No-one really cares who is the leader now.
If you live in Northern Ireland you have a choice of parties, but there is every chance you will be ruled by Westminster. If you live in Scotland you can vote SNP, and there is every chance you will be ruled by Westminster. If you live in Brighton you can vote Green, anywhere else this is a wasted vote, and anyway you will definitely be ruled by Westminster.
- Apart from Athens C5th BC, and Sweden  with women taxpayers voting, New Zealand  with universal suffrage, and Finland  with full equal gender political rights. Etc, etc.etc.
- Bear in mind you don’t actually get to vote for a party as such or policies, you vote for an MP. And you don’t vote for Prime Minister, like you would for a President, you have a Monarch instead, who also you can’t vote for.
- The majority of votes don’t count in the UK electoral system
- The conception that the EU is only or should only be an economic and not a democratic and political union has been shared by all the main UK political parties, most UK voters, but not by a single other EU government or EU electorate.
- To be correct the British are not far advanced enough to be citizens, they are subjects.
I've had many short stories, poems, and articles published, and a book '‘Dancing In the Waves'’ [Mer 1998].For ten years I was editor of ‘Screenwriter magazine.
Ihave run European writing workshops and lead the MA Screenwriting programme at Birkbeck College,, London University.I founded and am on the board of Euroscript, the UK's premier independent script training company.My full profile is on www.paulgallagher.eu
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