I try to keep an open mind but it’s hard. Apparently it is harder the better read and better educated you are, paradoxically and so perhaps the more I read and try to educate myself about different opinions the more closed I become to my own.
For this purpose, and to get a better understanding of what they are up to, I have signed up to many of the newsletters of the different political parties. I was interested therefore when the latest email arrived from the Reform Party.
As I am sure you are aware this is a party that has appeared phoenix-like from its many previous incarnations. It has been difficult at times to keep up with who is the leader and what they stand for yet the attached brochure in the email promised to enlighten me. It did and, while Reform is a party that I am extremely unlikely to vote for (hell freezing over and all that), it was an interesting read.
I found myself agreeing with some of what they are proposing, whilst being vehemently opposed to others. At times I found the document contradictory but then that is the nature of politics. For example I don’t want a low tax economy but rather a fair tax economy but do want to abolish the House of Lords, see a reform of our political system, have some freedoms restored and enshrine the right in law to legal protest. Its proposals to abolish VAT on domestic fuel and abolish air passenger duty flies in the face of its green policies – no pun intended.
I did get hung up on its ambitions to ‘Free us from the woke nonsense that pervades through Westminster and far too much of our lives’ and to ’Restore true freedom of speech’, neither of which have any meaning other than empty sound bites. If Reform wants to stop people being decent and inclusive, or are happy to trot out racist and inciting comments then count me out.
What the brochure showed me however is that in all parties, there are things that a voter would agree with and things that they would not. Each of us holds opinions that lie across the political spectrum, depending upon personal circumstances and how the issue is portrayed. No one party is a nirvana and each has to represent a broad church of opinion.
The bigger the party, the broader the spectrum of opinion it must contain and therefore, the less relevant it can become to a specific ideology. Perhaps that is why these days, personality politics has become so important as no one can work out what any party really stands for.
At least I have an idea about Reform.