They're not voting because...
- Politicians are not accountable to voters...
Politicians are not accountable to voters. End of story. They can tell you anything they like in the run up to the election, then ignore you as soon as they get in. If politicians actually consulted their electorate *while* they were in power, I would vote. A good example is GM crops. Labour's own consultation said that 80% of Britain was against such crops being grown in the country, yet still went ahead with it. They are not our leaders, they are our rulers.written 8th Apr 2005
Jeffrey replies: Mob rule is not a sensible government position. Personally, I'd prefer experts in GM crops decided if they were safe or not rather than "my mate down the pub said ..." sort of arguments. I'd prefer that experts in Biology and farming conduct peer review on the research rather than tabloid newspapers. Its politicians ignorant in the topics which they deal with that cause a lot of stupid decisions to be made in the first place.written 8th Apr 2005
Mark replies: I wholeheartedly agree that any government decision, especially one as scientifically based as GM crops, should be taken in full consultation with experts in the field. And in fact Labour did consult scientific experts with regards to this decision.
However, the core of my argument (why I don't vote), is that politicians make their decisions independently from the electorate, ie. they are not accountable. This means that once they are in power they are free to exercise their power to pursue whatever goals they wish, be it for or against GM crops (for example).
I gave the issue of GM crops simply as an illustrating point that government decisions frequently go against the wishes of the electorate (and more recently, even against basic human rights), informed or otherwise.
The main result of politicians having power without accountability is the inevitability of corruption, so that power may then be used for financial gain and personal agendas. Returning to the example of GM Crops in Britain, it surely cannot be denied that influences other than the scientific have come into play.
There are a number of reasons why someone would or wouldn't want to vote, and I am not saying that making politicians accountable would eradicate corruption, but it would certainly go a long way towards making them listen to the voice of those who elected them in the first place. At the very least I would like to see the right of recall being accorded to the people of Britain.
Many thanks for your response.written 8th Apr 2005
Anonymous replies: "Personally, I'd prefer experts in GM crops decided if they were safe"
yeah, just like those experts on BSE.written 8th Apr 2005
Gavin replies: This is bound to be a tricky one; sometimes, surely, the Government will have to make decisions that will be unpopular - basing decisions on popularity will not always yield the best results. I'd have thought the biggest problem is that most people don't really understand most of the issues. Arguably, this is another fault in the system, but it is difficult to educate the masses without putting your own spin on something. There is talk of a referendum on Europe at some point and whenever the topic is brought up, "man on the street" interviews show people who, apparently, will make their mind up on issues such as the Euro based upon such trivialities as "liking to see the Queen on our coins". OK, it is a valid opinion, but people are unlikely to fully understand the potential benefit to the export industries of the country.
Anyway, that's just one example - the problem is that most people are not well enough informed to make a decision on most things. And I don't mean that in a patronising way, I'd certainly count myself as one of those who are uninformed. Why would we understand the finer points of major decisions?
The problem is how do you actually canvass public opinion? Have regular votes on everything that might interest the general populous? Currently, it would mean giving into whatever protest group shouted the loudest about any given issue - probably not representing the populous at all.written 10th Apr 2005