Written by Holly Firmin
It would cost me almost the entirety of my student maintenance loan to gain access to the PM and his delightful ministers for the day. However, I’m sure such a sum is no worry for the multi-million pound corporations that will be coughing up for such a privilege at the Conservative Party’s annual ‘Business Day’.
Far from being an innocent chin wag about how the kids are getting on at lacrosse practice over tea and sandwiches, this is where the titans of industry and big business shop for policy. Sure, it might not be as blatant as slipping Dave a tenner if he’ll agree to cut corporation tax, but what goes on at such cosy meetings is glaringly obvious. Corporate executives and lobbyists pay £2,500 to attend an event at which they are granted intimate access to leading figures in the party, who, being ministers, have a direct say in how the country is governed. “Want to see how your company can make even more money out of an already failing private rail sector? Have a nice chin wag with Claire, under secretary of state for transport!” “Fancy exploiting the ambitious young people of today for profit? Come and have a natter with Jo, our friendly Minister for Science and Universities!”
On top of the sheer ridiculousness of this entire ordeal, us underlings aren’t even granted the privilege of checking out the guest list. If this affront to democracy is going to take place at all, I at least want to know what generous, selfless corporations are giving up their precious time to help the poor Tories with their righteous mission to push every vulnerable person in Britain closer to the precipice of death.
Caroline Lucas’ open letter to Jeremy Corbyn, highlighting the absence of a debate about electoral reform from his campaign, draws attention to a crucially important topic that many politicians completely leave off the table. Whilst Jeremy, the candidate whom I have opted to vote for in the Labour leadership election, has raised many important issues that were previously neglected, including his recent commitment to tackle sexual harassment, there has yet to be any meaningful discussion about the possibility of political reform. Jeremy is on the right track, promising to democratise the Labour party further; but this reformist attitude needs to be applied more widely.
Our failure to adapt and improve our democratic system in light of technological advancement is a crying shame. Surely there is some way in which the entire electorate can become more engaged in politics, rather than toddling down to the polling booth every few years, leaving the rest to their ‘representatives’. What we have been left with is the ugly cousin of democracy, a sort of part-time, 0 hours contract version of the real deal. We not only need to throw these Tory idiots out of government, but need to have a serious think about how the government is both elected and run in the first place.
The definition of democracy is a ‘system of government in which power is vested in the people’. With his top tier education, you would think Dave would know this by now. A system in which the people, whom power is supposed to be ‘vested in’, are told that power is for sale, is a far cry from democracy.