Thursday, 14 April 2005

Differences between the major parties

There is one thing I have noticed during the election campaign thus far. One commonly cited cause of apathy within the electorate is that there are no evident differences between the major parties. They are seen as being 'all the same'.

I don't really believe such a claim is truthful. Let's examine the Tories' and New Labour's policies on Europe, for example. The Conservatives rule out joining EMU and desire to renegotiate Britian's position in the EU (whilst remaining a member of the European Union). They also are opposed to Britain ratifying the EU constitution. Labour in principle want the UK to join EMU (once the 'five tests' have been met) and are in favour of ratifying the EU constitution (if a referendum is won).

So if there are differences in the parties' policies, why do people not realise this? All major parties (since the time of Thatcher) accept free-market policies, labour market flexibility, the privatisation of some state industries, etc. But during the time of post-war consensus, the major parties economic policies were also similar, without a public perception that all the parties are 'all the same'.

Personally I believe people are apathetic because they feel politics doesn't change much in their lives. Why vote if nothing ever seems to change?