Written by Nathan Olsen
Many, many issues divide political parties and therefore the voters who support such parties. These can be issues like immigration, education and the NHS, to name but a few. Whatever you think is the best policy to vote for, whether you believe passionately in the merits of privatisation (what merits? I hear you cry) or desire all public sector services to be nationalised, that’s your opinion. But I’d like to point out a huge flaw in the way political parties determine their policies – by dividing our society.
Although this is definitely not a new point being made, I believe that the classist spiels delivered by leaders, frontbenchers, backbenchers etc is not only derogatory in some cases but toxic to the way our society behaves. No political figures have ever been innocent of this – Lloyd George’s Peers vs. the People campaign way back during the 1910 election (that’s right people, limited progress in almost a century), but also every single Tory government. I understand that in desperately wanting to define themselves as parties of the Left and the Right, Labour and the Conservatives wish to be perceived as Socialists and staunch Capitalists respectively. I am so very glad that Labour no longer choose to hold on to the poisonous policies of the Blairite era – but this doesn’t mean anyone needs to be offensive.
Anyone of voting age can vote for whoever they want to – it’s called democracy – but this doesn’t mean we have to categorise the electorate. A working-class man can vote for the Greens, and an upper-class woman can vote for UKIP. Freedom of choice, which we are very privileged to have, is a wonderful thing. And even the labels of class have no need to longer exist. People should not be defined by their income, just as people should not be defined by their surname. This is unrealistic, I will admit to that. Politicians and our population will always continue to fight the class war, but this is toxic. In France, such gulfs between middle-class Parisians and the working class who live in the banlieues have consequentially created a feeling of alienation from society – and this is manifested in crime and violence.
I understand that in such a society as our own (and this is mirrored by almost every country) social status and income are almost inseparable, but why do we continue to strengthen this dangerous bond? It will only lead to malevolent actions and further alienation in what should be an advanced society. I could go on about how voting for Labour or the Greens will better this society, will bring back some sort of equality (I am a Leftie, so of course I believe in this) but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Irrespective of what you believe in, that doesn’t mean you have to generalise and therefore degrade others. Some parties wish to help all, some parties appear to aid the select few. All parties should treat the electorate not as classes, but as a multicultural, diverse people – who want to hear what their policies are.