Richard North, 01/12/2012  

Guardian 211-rot.jpg

A frequent theme of this blog is the politico-media bubble, alongside the observation that both the media and the politicians are completely out of touch.

Nothing seems to illustrate this better than comment on election results, the cold, hard reality if which is an unhealthy detachment of the people from politics. A superb example of this is the latest article from the loss-making Guardian.

This paper tells us that "by-elections march to their own drum". "Their results don't tell us the outcome of the next general election, but nor should their lessons be ignored. The principal message from Thursday – though not the most newsworthy one – is that these results are good for Labour. Three wins are three wins, and in each case Labour put its share of the vote up".

Yet these were elections where the mandate is risible and where, with perilously low turnouts, voting share is meaningless. What matters is absolute numbers and the proportion of electoral support.

Where, as we see that the average mandate for the last six by-elections is a mere 16 percent, and the votes cast for the wining candidate in Rotherham are the lowest on record, there are major structural problems in our democracy. In his latest post, Witterings from Witney touches on this, also conveying the fantasy analysis of Tim Congdon on UKIP.

Stepping back from this, I found myself reading this article in the Morning Star. Published last Monday, it nevertheless offers an interesting insight into the state of Rotherham.

Clearly, there are issues identified here which simply are not being explored in the general media. But equally there are some which this paper does not explore, the nature of which we touched upon. Perversely, some of these are emerging in the self-same Guardian, which gives more detail about the Rotherham foster affair.

The unreality about the elections conveyed by the legacy media, therefore, is extremely disturbing. We are looking at an ailing democracy, and a broken electoral system. The only real winners have been the sod-off party.

This is not something in which Labour, or any other politicians should rejoice. That they are so doing, though, is just illustrative of the great divide. There is the politico-media bubble, and there is the rest of us. And, increasingly, we have nothing in common.


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