They're not voting because...
- Pepsi or Coke?
Like John Harris accurately identifies("So who do we vote for now") we all deserve a choice that is not the equivilant of being told you can have a choice between Coke or Pepsi when you need water; or Zoo and Nuts, when your mind is desperate for Prospect; or KFC or McDonalds when your body is craving proper nourishing food.
The reality is that on substance rather than superficiality there is little to choose between the three main parties (which tend to get the bulk of media coverage). Politics is now little more than an ersatz choice between competing brands of the same product.
It is not just about Iraq but also the privatisation of every aspect of our lives that is not nailed down or super-glued to the floor.
It's about tuition fees which ensure the dustman really is subsidising the doctor.
It's about wasteful PFI; competitive tendering; giving away schools to creationists; the subversion of the common good to narrow business interests; support for regimes that boil their political opponents alive; the philistine values of competition over co-operation; throwing money at simplistic quantitative targets whilst ignoring qualitative requirements; and support for a mind set and values that puts the accumulation of materialistic toys above the sustainability of the environment upon which all our futures depend.
Ultimately, it really is not good enough to pontificate like the character Squealer in Orwell's novel Animal Farm, trying to frighten everyone with the old refrain of "you don't want the old regime back do you?. Like the pigs we can't tell the difference because when you look beyond the superficial there really are no fundamental differences.
The argument about the sacrifice of earlier generations no longer holds weight because we are talking about a totally different operational context.
Participating in this charade merely perpetuates and strengthens this situation and the political system that underpins it.
There is a need to recognise that what we call democracy, the current system and way of doing things and organising ourselves cannot be set in aspic as though it is the end of history.
We have no problems with the notion of progress and finding better ways of doing things in other spheres and areas of life- science, technology, education, business, health, etc. and discarding old paradigms for more appropriate ones.
Yet when it comes to what we call "politics" and "democracy" there is this reluctance to apply the same logic of progress and improvement. It's as though "democracy" has reached its end state because people have the right to vote to give others carte blanche to do what they want every five years. The scope for meaningful participation is negigible.
Add in electoral fraud inherent in the new postal voting system; the emphasis on a minority of swing voters in a few key constituencies; and the fact that once concluded the daily running of the country will again revert to the needs of powerful business interests and their pressure groups whose daily influence has far more value than a five yearly vote. No wonder the turnout is dropping like a stone as people lose belief in a corrupt, broken, and unfixable system.
When the choice on offer is so limited the only sensible option is to withdraw legitimacy from the system until a more sustainable model and genuine choice is either on offer or created by those us currently disenfranchised."
Dave Hansellwritten 8th Apr 2005
Tom Rock replies: Good points. I agree with most of what you are saying there. Democracy is a concept, and what we have is just one implementation of that concept. A not very good implementation at that. With the relative ease and speed that national communications networks (electronic and physical) work at, you would think we could come up with a more representational system. Up until now I believe that the liberal democrats are the only major party to suggest any major electoral reform (to proportional representation which still has its flaws).
At any rate, democracy was never meant to be the 'perfect system'. It is simply the best of a bad bunch that we have to make do with. I would have thought that a meritocracy would be a much more sensible and fair option, if a working implementation of it were available. After all, when undergoing open heart surgery the nurses dont all take a vote on which drug to inject - as they are not qualified (even though probably relatively qualified in that area). So why is it that the general population gets to make decisions involving equally if not more complicated issues such as economics, law and order, taxation etc? Its just an enormous version of mob culture! (which is probably the reason why we only get to vote every 5 years).
Another massive problem with the current system is that every person has a different set of views on a multitude of issues. What happens though if you are pro-liberal democrat, but anti-joining the euro? Should there not be some kind of democracy based upon ISSUES, not based upon political parties? Why should the public be barred from voting on ACTS OF PARLIAMENT?....surely that would be true democracy! (and totally possible in the Internet age).
At any rate, its all just a goofy mess. Lets just hope we dont end up as brain-washed, self-absorbed and just generally selfish and arrogant as our American counterparts (when acting as a country). We are already bad enough as it is.written 12th Apr 2005
Dr. Mabuse replies: Sorry, I gave up reading at the point where the starving, thirsty man turned down a KFC with a coke, holding out for pure H2O and the elusive, mystical "nourishing" food.written 26th Apr 2005
Tiger43 replies: This is water related. I beleive that if bottled spring water was to to dry up . In less than 3 weeks the middle classes would become extinct.written 27th Apr 2005