The politics of opposition seems to have subtly changed in recent years. Whilst opposition parties have always had the luxury of being able to make mildly more fanciful promises than those made by the sitting government, those promises still tended to remain within the realms of possibility, such that the electorate could sensibly assess them and decide whether they might lead to a world, which would be either better or worse than the current one.
However, in recent years, politics, like so much else, has been struck down by the curse of the hyperbole. It is no longer sufficient to make mildly extravagant claims in order to curry favour with the public; it is now necessary to make such preposterously fantastical promises that they bear no relationship to any possible reality. Of course, this strategy is only relevant for parties that know that they have absolutely no chance of ever being elected. In fact, there seems to be a directly inverse proportional link between the likelihood of a political party having power and the manifest impossibility of the policies in their manifesto.
The latest culprit is the Green Party. They launched their manifesto on Monday with the promise that not only would they scrap university tuition fees––a promise already taken up by several other parties––but that they would go a step further and wipe out all existing graduate debt: a figure currently totalling something over £76 billion.
Some people––most likely students burdened by massive debts––may throw their hands up in the air and say “Fantastic”. However, I feel far from celebrating. This is exactly the kind of empty promise, which is only made by a party that knows that it will never have to act on it. As such it is absolutely pointless. A complete waste of the electorate’s time. But it is also a waste of the party’s time, too, and that is frustrating.
I want to know what the Greens might really do if they were elected. I’m not interested in the headline-grabbing sound-bites, I want to know the boring nitty-gritty policies that might actually happen, so that I can make a proper educated choice. God knows, if I was convinced, I might actually vote for them. But, while opposition parties continue to come up with such far-fetched policies that it is clear that they don’t expect to get voted in themselves, they don’t deserve mine, or anyone else’s vote.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to look for some resemblance of reality in the bottom of my glass of beer.
© Beery Sue
Beery Sue wags her finger at the naughty Greens.