Monday, 19 January 2015

A more logical choice on you ballot paper


Elections are coming to a town near you, your democratic right to choose your county’s direction. To choose how it treats you and your neighbours, how it will defend sovereignty, how it will care for the sick and defenceless, how it will educate your children. This is something that we are told time and time again, in the democratic west, is what separates us from our non-freedom-loving enemies. This is what we have fought and died for and yet ask your neighbours and colleagues how they will exercise this power and I guarantee that most will shrug in exasperation. The fact is that democracy is failing and we need another choice on our ballot papers. Not another radical party who will promise to undo the wrongs of the previous government. Not a woman candidate or someone from an ethnic or sexual-orientation minority because the fact remains that whoever you vote for will be a politician.

So here’s the dilemma 

You don’t agree with what the government is doing, so you want them out. You don’t really agree with what the opposition are saying but you know that a vote for them will oust the present ruling part. You could vote for one of the minors like the Greens, who you know are well-intentioned tree-huggers but despite the feeling that you have registered a ‘protest vote’ you know they won’t get in and one of the top two will. You could also just abstain and sulk. This is probably the most realistically productive course of action that we have at our disposal. You can rest assured that whatever happens during the government’s term, it was not sanctioned by you and that you were in no way responsible for any smugness of the minor parties for increased public support.

The present system of electoral democracy is as democratic as facebook or google’s terms of service; we want the free app or service and happily click through the ‘I ACCEPT’ buttons, knowing full well that we are negating our most basic human rights. We know that they will abuse our information, we know they will bombard us with ‘personalised’ messages. We know, yet we do it anyway. In the end, as we are so often told, we get what we deserve.

I propose that an addition be made to every ballot paper from now on that would effectively reinstate democracy into elections. A choice that would give a constitutional voice to what everyone really feels; a vote of no confidence in the party political system. 

 NO CONFIDENCE IN THE PARTY POLITICAL SYSTEM

Once this option gained constitutional democratic support the whole political champions’ league could be restructured in a way that actually served the electorate. We vote for parties based on their manifesto, a collection of promised in exchange for your vote but their is no contract and no recourse if they renege on these promises. We simply have to wait for the next round of elections when we choose another bunch on their promises. Millions vote for X Factor et al but we can't employ this technology to keep our representatives on their toes.   

Greece is in throws of flash elections ignited by a political coup orchestrated by Alexis Tsipras’s SYRIZA party. This left-wing party that was until recently just another ‘also-ran’ but it is now considered by many to be NOT a matter of IF but by how much he will win. The Guardian labelled the charismatic leader a ‘FIREBRAND’ and the markets are getting their knickers in a twist over the GREXIT again. Most want an end to the AUSTERITY measures, which are doing nothing to pull Greece out of debt. However, while they may vote for SYRIZA the vast majority of voters I have spoken to have very little faith that he will deliver on many, if any of his promises. They have become accustomed to hearing rambling rhetoric and having smoke blown up their collective arse.

They have become accustomed to hearing rambling rhetoric and having smoke blown up their collective arse.

In the UK, Russell Brand, a verbose comedian has been urging people not to vote. He admitted that he had never voted and wouldn't until there was change. Al Murray, yet another comedian is standing against Nigel Farage and while he is encouraging the use of our democratic right, they are both saying the same thing; there has to be a better way.

There has to be a better way.

Millions upon millions are spent on election campaigns. Public opinion is carefully courted. Smear campaigns are routinely employed to gain a leg-up on the opposition but after the finally count we are back to square one. The political machine continues to grind and we get a new face playing the same old game.

To be able to call a vote of no confidence would be a fundamentally new choice for the electorate but one that has been available to our representatives since democracy began. The game needs to be changed in favour of those it exists to serve. Come election day you may be confronted by a plethora of choices but don’t be fooled. To be lost for choice doesn't mean you haven’t lost your choice.

To be lost for choice doesn't mean you haven’t lost your choice.

BTW: If you were to hand-write this on your voting form it would count as a defaced vote and ignored.

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