They're not voting because...
- In it for their backers
The first thing that makes me feel a politician is not qualified for the job is when the politician stands up and says that they are. I have not seen a political candidate capable of obtaining party backing for an election that is even close to being a decent person.
As long as the system is designed in a way that makes it so that political candidates require the backing of a party in order to elevate through the ranks to a political position, there will be noone worth voting for. The government should set a hard limit to the maximum a candidate can spend on campaigning and provide an auditable budget to the candidate for the purpose of the campaign. This will force the candidates onto a level playing field where a stronger candidate with a weaker budget can in fact win an office.
After all, the candidate doesn't walk up to a bunch of party members and say "I'm running for office, if you're nice I'll let you help me", instead it's the party members saying "What will you do for me if I back you for the campaign."
This corruption has existed as long as the concept of the Republic itself. Office is gained through favors not through qualification.
By not voting, I am in fact attempting to state that I feel I have not been given a choice. I don't care to back any candidate that has promised enough favours to be a candidate.
P.S. As to the other people I've read so far, conspiracy theories such as rigging are silly, the parties do genuinely dislike the others enough to stab each other in the back. As to the politicians being in it for themselves, well, no they aren't, they're in it for the people who paided to put them there too. So really, they are somewhat selfless, they gladly do the bidding of their party leaders and larger campaign contributors. Don't be silly enough to believe that they aren't in it for others. They're just not in it for anyone you know.written 8th Apr 2005
Gavin replies: That seems very cynical - surely some politicians are in it for "good" reasons? The political system may not be perfect, but as it's here to stay for the foreseeable future, surely the only way to influence the situation is to join in and attempt to make a difference from the inside. I would like to think that at least some people are doing this.
There is bound to be a significant level of inefficiency in any political system and even some outright corruption. But I find it hard to believe that everyone who is part of it is out for themselves - what are they actually gaining for themselves? There are better ways to make money and the influence you have will be unlikely to really change your own life or lifestyle.
And what is the likelyhood that any individual will really represent the views of a large number of people across the board? People all have individual views. Ultimately, the only people who would make enough of an impression to get a vote from a majority would be extremists who would appeal to a reasonable number of people by loudly shouting about particular issues. This would not naturally lead to any kind of democratic government.written 8th Apr 2005