People are afraid of change; they would rather sit on in misery with a known quantity then take a chance to improve their situation because there is always that nagging doubt that things may change to much from their comfort zone or get worse (which would then be THEIR fault and not be able to blame their misfortune on some one else). In anysituation people will always fall back to the lowest common denominator which is fear of the unknown - "it could be worse", "better the devil you know". A person is smart and can be reasoned with but people in a group are stupid and easily led; Labour are in power therefore they belong there.Which seems worryingly accurate. He later made reference to the Milgram Experiment which shows that people are easily persuaded to do objectionable things by authority figures - one version even had people giving real electric shocks to a puppy because they were told to. He noted:
This study showed that people would follow orders to do pretty much any thing if told by a person in authority. Humans are a herd animal and will do almost any thing to "belong". Most people would not want to stand out or be different and history has shown that even enlightened, intelligent people will follow the crowd and do awful things.I imagine for a lot of people there are several sources of authority in this matter: Their parents if they are from staunch Labour household; peer pressure if it's a Labour area, linked to a lack of debate on the issues because everyone is pro-Labour; and of course the Labour Party itself with the "Vote Lib Dem get Tory" type lines.
All of which might go some way to explaining why some people would vote for a pig with a red rosette (and in some cases seem to have done).
Of course, there are other issues, some closer to home. Despite great successes with the Gurkhas, taking the lead on Trident, the 100 day plan and of course the marvellous Vince Cable people still don't seem to know what the Lib Dems stand for. While it is difficult for the Lib Dems to get equivalent coverage to the big two parties there must be some way to get the main messages across.
For example, the Freedom Bill should be outstandingly popular (how widely hated can repealing oppressive laws be?), but ask 20 people in the street about it and you'll get 18 blank looks, one "Oh, I think I've heard about that" and one blow to the head (at least on some streets).
I know Vince Cable is on TV a lot and that most people seem to agree with him, but somehow they don't link agreeing with him and thinking he'd be the best Chancellor of the Exchequer with looking into or supporting the party that could put him into that position.
Maybe during this recess something magic will happen. Maybe news coverage will become fairer to us - although of course I'm biased as to what constitutes "fair". Maybe the entire Labour (ha, vaguely amusing typo of "Labout" corrected) party will forget to register for the next election. Or maybe we need to expand the way we try to get the message across. Without irrelevant graphs. We have some excellent bloggers: Costigan Quist, Mark Thomson and Charlotte Gore to name but three, but it takes a "special" sort of person (which I am proud/mildly depresed to be) to want to spend their free time reading politics blogs when they could be having fun/watching paint dry.
I do have some experience with these issues - I have recently returned from Gibraltar where I was proud to be a member of the Executive of the Progressive Democratic Party, the third party over there. Our membership was much smaller than the other two parties and we had the same difficulties with fair coverage - even to the point that we had to take the local TV station to Court to try to enter the pre-election leaders debate. Unfortunately the attempt was unsuccessful, but it did generate some coverage in its own right.
Of course, I'm not belittling the hard work that is put in trying to get the message across; I just think that even given the low spending power and so forth that there must be a better way, even if I only have vague ideas of what it could be. I'm working on a post to flesh out those ideas a bit :) Charlotte Gore's letter is an amazing idea for starters.
So, more in Part 2...