Gee, it must be nice to live in a democracy. To know that when you go out to vote that it will actually mean something, that your vote gets counted and makes a difference. That you'll get someone in parliament who might represent your interests – rather than that of some dodgy lobbyist pushing their interests over the general public's. The funny thing is – I live in a country that while it lays claim to being a democracy - it isn't much. Not really. Nor will it ever be not with our current 'first-past-the-post' system -and moreover not when this system means there are only a handful of places in our country that really decide who runs the country. What they call 'key marginals' – unique little pockets of the country that have enough 'undecideds' wandering around that could tip the political balance of the country either way. That's where the real battle for hearts and minds is being fought. The rest us, well -to be honest, we needn't bother to turn up to vote on the day – it's all such a foregone conclusion.
(Which might help explain why three weeks into the election campaign I've only had one single solitary election leaflet pushed through my door... one from the Green party.)
I so happen to live in one of those areas that has a sitting MP – he's been sitting on his safe secure arse for the past 15 years or so. So any vote other than for him – is pretty much going to be wasted vote. He's a Tory – one of those who happens to be have voted against gay rights. So that alone means I can't ever expect him to represent my interests in parliament can I? Quite the opposite in fact. But there he is on 43% of the local vote. Meaning of course that 57% expressly didn't vote for him. (But then maybe you could say if he tried a bit harder he could have garnered the BNP votes. Got perhaps 44%?) But I'll take a stab in the dark and guess that most of the people who voted for him did so – because they've always voted Tory and their father voted Tory and their father before them voted Tory. It's more of a blind tribal lazy loyalty than a real participation in democracy. One where you might have to trouble your mind about thinking about issues and whatnot before making your cross.
That form of brand loyalty is just absurd as is voting for someone because they look good on TV or in posters (*cough* Cameron) – hell, instead of voting for a personality or a party we should have something more like the 'Who should you vote for?' website. That at least would produce a far fairer, more representative result of what people want. Because – let's face it, most people haven't much of a clue what they're really voting for.
The other joke in our democracy is that the argument is overly dominated by the three (– or should that be two and a half parties). Thanks to our mainly right wing press (the vast majority of our newspapers are owned by multimillionaires you know, and multimillionaires have their own special interests which both main parties are always bending over backwards to accommodate – and as newspapers have proven themselves to be very good at getting turkeys to vote for Christmas – (although interestingly enough that doesn't seem to be happening so readily this time round) both parties rely heavily on that support. Not that it's propaganda or anything. Oh no, wait it is. It actually is).
They are plenty other marginal parties– but they just get totally ignored – they don't even get air time so most people don't even know they exist. Plus the fact it takes such vast amounts of money to campaign for a place in the establishment – no one but a multimillionaire has the faintest ghost of a chance. Not that many multi-millionaires would bother to stand for parliament – it's far easier and cheaper to get one of the existing parties to do what you want. All it takes is a donation or two...
So – democracy... yeah, to paraphrase Lisa Dolittle: '....oooooh wouldn't it be luverly...'