The lack of support for left-wing politics can not only damage the multi-party democratic system of the UK, but threatens with greater inequalities and social injustices across the globe.
Why is it happening ?
The political mood has changed across the UK. The Conservatives are favorites to win the election today. While the Tories’ track record in government since 2010 has left many profoundly worse off, the electorate’s support for the UK’s leading left-wing party, Labour, has declined. The policies set out in the Labour manifesto intend to solve the social injustices experienced across the UK. While there is some support, the policies have been unable to bring in greater approval. One would argue that people who experience social injustices, such as homelessness, poor health and education, job insecurity and poor local services, are a minority of the population. Therefore, many of the majority who have a decent standard of living and do not witness these social problems, do not relate to a socialist ideology.
The country’s ideological transition towards the right can be another cause of the lack of support for Labour’s profound socialist policies. The UK media that fundamentally support right and center ideologies has also damaged Labour’s image, as they depict party leader Jeremy Corbyn unfit to govern the country. Even Labour MPs are more inclined to support a center-left ideological approach against Mr Corbyn, making the party disunited.
Why does it matter?
T he population have endured rollback on services by the Conservative government, and the UK now faces a funding crisis across the public sector. Homelessness is on the rise—in England alone, it increased by 134% since 2010. Over one million people had to rely on food-banks in the year 2016/2017. These social issues emerge because while living costs and inflation have been rising, wages has stagnated, resulting in many being unable to meet their livelihood needs. Many people are employed on zero-hour contracts, leading to further job insecurity. In light of all this it is hard to comprehend why the Labour party, intending to solve social injustices across the country, lacks substantial electoral support. The weakening of Labour projects the end to left-wing politics in the UK, which would mean losing the multi-party political system that makes this democracy so strong. This may lead to becoming a single party or ideology state, where the electorate is limited in their political choice.
The rethinking of left-wing politics is essential not only for the UK but the wider international community as trends show a growing support for center and right-wing politics, particularly across Europe and the US. In many cases, such as France, center and right-wing parties are popular because the electorate view them as a force against the political establishment. Party leaders can use the backlash towards the left to gain political capital in their own country. The growing popularity of national right-wing parties can influence political moods globally. It is vital for the global community, who support left-wing ideology, to understand the threat to left-wing politics. If there is no drastic reform, there will be a global extinction of the left. An end to left-wing politics in the UK, Europe, the US and indeed across the world will lead to greater inequalities and social injustices, many of which Western populations do not experience now.
What can you do about it?
The main approach to solve this issue would begin with a re-branding of the ideology. Thinking should come in line with the current neo-liberalist system, but without losing the main values of socialism and social justice. To attract center-right voters, left-wing parties could craft economic policies promoting capitalist structures but with additional controls to guarantee that everyone benefits from the system.
In the UK, Labour needs to win over the trust of the population, showing an understanding of people’s grievances. Labour in opposition must hold the government accountable, scrutinizing policies through Parliament, to ensure they meet the electorate’s needs. And UK citizens must gain greater understanding of the political system and its parties. Local authorities should provide new spaces for communities for regular events dedicated to political activities and education, for better engagement with and understanding of current political affairs. The population should also keep up to date and informed by reading a variety of news outlets. Eventually, politics have to become a key subject across schools, so that future generations are better prepared to become responsible citizens.
Millennials across the international community must understand how important political systems are and how they affect everyday life. Embrace the importance of other political ideologies as well as understanding your own. However, while participating in many political activities could be difficult, voting is crucial. The greater the turnout, the greater likelihood for more accountable politics.
Image Credit: Thinglink
Niamh Summerville briefs from London, United Kingdom. She is a candidate for a Master of Science in International Development with a special focus on Conflict, Security and Development.