LibLink … Vince Cable: Hard hats on, here comes the Rotten Election

Over at the Mail today, Lib Dem deputy leader Vince Cable anticipates a year of fevered political battle, and issues a call for a reformed political system and a grown-up debate. Here’s an excerpt:

Once the seasonal festivities are out of the way, the public will be on the receiving end of months of sustained political bombardment over the airwaves and through the letterbox until a General Election puts an end to it. As someone who will be firing a lot of the ammunition, I am ready for this battle but I am conscious that the old rules no longer apply. Voters want change but feel the whole political system has become discredited. …

The people feel that corruption has crept into a political system that was once the envy of the world. And the way we pay for politics makes it worse. The taxpayer is understandably reluctant to foot the bill for party politics, so parties depend on rich donors. It is truly shocking that this coming Election could well be decided by a handful of super-rich donors – who are non-domiciled in the UK for tax purposes – buying seats in Parliament. Our political standards are too close for comfort to the ‘rotten boroughs’ of 200 years ago or to rotten regimes in Africa and Latin America today. Another frustration is that the two-party ‘Punch and Judy’ model which most of us grew up with no longer corresponds to reality. …

Britain needs the authority of a strong, broadly based government to tackle our grave economic problems, not a weak government sneaking into office with a lot of MPs but no real mandate and the support of one in four voters. The country could, slowly, become ungovernable. That is why fundamental political reform is not a luxury beloved of political anoraks but a necessity for the country.

You can read Vince’s article in full here.

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