We had an election here on Thursday for seats on the local council and the European parliament. Locally there were no council seats up for grabs but I did cast my vote in the Euro elections. This was in contrast to the last opportunity to express my democratic duty/right where I couldn’t in all honestly vote for anyone. I had hoped, last time, that there would be a candidate on the ballot paper not associated with any of the major political parties but I was disappointed so ‘spoiled’ my vote in protest. It wasn’t much of a protest but at least it was something.
When I started voting back in 1978 I voted Conservative and was part of the landslide that brought Margaret Thatcher to power. Despite hating everything that the Conservatives stand for these days I felt the need to do something to counter the chaos that was British politics in the 70’s. Also I was only 18 and not exactly politically savvy. Later, in abject disgust at Tory political manoeuvring I switched my political allegiance back to where I felt it belong – with the Labour Party back when they were actually Socialists and had an actual ideology. In that vein I made the mistake of voting for ‘New’ Labour who turned out to be anything but Socialists and who ditched their ideology in order to make themselves electable. When I found myself no longer able to vote for them I switched to the Liberal Democrats who certainly, in my mind, talked a good talk and seemed to be saying pretty much everything I agreed with. How naïve I was. When the opportunity arose they took the opportunity to join with the Conservatives, who for many years they had been heavily criticising, and for the sake of the country (AKA for any chance of political power) they joined in the present coalition government. Of course, they said, it’s OK having principles in opposition but reality bites – hard. So, regretfully of course, they have had to abandon their lofty principles in order to cope with the new political reality. In other words they had no principles in the first place and every word out of their mouths before or since has been lies and bullshit. You have no idea how disappointed I was with them. Of course this means that, for various reasons, actually variations on the theme of trust and respect, I find myself unable to vote for any of the big three political parties. That leaves the ‘fringe’ parties most of which make me want to throw up at their stupidity, short-sightedness and worse. Since 1978 I’ve probably voted for most of the parties around, even one time (I think) for the Communists but I certainly can’t bring myself to vote for the far Right. That’s just never going to happen. Which leaves a single political party that, in all conscience, I can bring myself to vote for – the Green Party. Again they talk the talk and hopefully, if they ever gain any kind of power at any level, they’ll have the integrity to walk the walk too. But to be honest I’m waiting to be disappointed in them as well.
Politicians and the media make much of public disengagement with the political process and wonder why this is so and what they can do about it. They’ve said more than once that it’s a failure of ‘getting their message across’ which is a thinly veiled reference to the electorate being too stupid to know who to vote for. Of course if the voting population was actually politically educated none of the present crowd of liars would have a job in the first place. No, the reason that less and less people vote in every election is that slowly, painfully, the general population is becoming increasingly aware that politicians cannot be trusted, that they will lie, cheat and subvert their own processes in order to stay in power and feather their own nests at our expense. How can you tell if a politician is lying? You can see their lips move. Never has such a statement been truer. A plague on all their houses.