Alastair Campbell epitomises the issue perfectly with the following simple assertion:
“Yes, I’m obsessed with winning elections. If you don’t win elections, you are utterly impotent!”
Electoral success in a democracy may seem like an innocent affair, because winning power inevitably means having won a vote, and therefore having won the popular mandate. However, this presumption fails to factor in the the methods used to gain power when gaining power is indeed the sole objective. Political conviction ceases to exist, because principle is sacrificed in favour of opportunism and manipulation. If we remove political conviction from a democracy, the process becomes little more than a popularity contest for power-hungry candidates with little moral, civil, or progressive intentions.
Tony Blair is a recent example. An opportunist who purposefully sought to use mass immigration as a plaything in order to rub the Right’s nose in diversity for an electoral advantage. Diversity might very well be a good thing, but in a time of significant structural economic problems, a lack of immigration control is detrimental. New Labour is another example. Though successful in winning three general elections, in hindsight, it has also succeeded in dissolving the Labour party’s key fundamental socialist principles, rendering it largely indistinguishable from the Conservative party, and in turn causing massive popular dissolutionment for politics due to the lack of meaningful choice for voters.
- If there’s no distinction for the electorate, there’s little point voting.
- If there’s little point voting, many won’t.
- If many don’t vote, the government has no democratic mandate.
- Without a democratic mandate, the government is unrepresentative.
Cameron is another recent example. Conservative voters were defecting to UKIP, and because he acknowledged this as an electoral threat, he mitigated the risk by promising an EU referendum for which he had no political interest. This tactic won him a slim majority government, but his well documented legacy of incompetence and manipulation is now widely regarded (even among many Conservatives) as one of the most progressively vacuous in British history.