Looking at the results of the local elections in Britain, I have to say I find it very disappointing to see how low the turnout has been, although considering how democracy has been subverted for many years now, it’s hardly a surprise that people have lost faith in the political system. I think this is due in part to the fact that there is no mechanism for appeal once a party has been elected, so the politicians can promise all sorts during the campaign trail, but once in office, they can do what ever they like which, of course, they have done and there is no one to stop them or make them follow through on the promises they made.
I also think we are still suffering the fall out from the Thatcher era. Her attack on the unions, strongly backed by a right-wing media (I for one, am delighted that the past is finally catching up with Rupert Murdoch and his whole media dictatorship, having been railing against him for years) has left the working-classes without a way into politics or a strong voice that truly represents them.
All the political parties are now populated by upper/middle class public school boys who have no idea how the other 95% of the population live. That the front bench in the House of Commons is full of millionaires, speaks volumes about our so-called democracy. Where is the voice of the working-classes in Parliament? Even the so-called left wingers seem so egotistical and arrogant that they don’t really speak for ordinary people any more, with the exception of Dennis Skinner and, since Tony Benn retired, they are becoming thinner on the ground and there does not seem to be any new blood following in their steps. Politics is now a career for the upper middle-classes and they work in the interests of one group, and one group only, their own.
The whole class system too, is part of the problem. The most obvious example of this is the House of Lords. The whole idea of an unelected upper house based on class and privilege is so anachronistic in the 21st Century and completely subverts what is supposed to be a democracy. Why should these people have this right? It supports privilege for some and exclusion for most of the rest of us. How can Britain even claim to be a democracy when this system remains in place.
What is really needed is political reform, but how is that going to be achieved when it is in the interest of the ruling classes to maintain the status quo? The truth is, is that those who now rule, are not the least bit interested in democracy but are only interested in self-promotion and self-protection for themselves and their own social class. And I’m really going to p*ss off the middle-classes with this next statement because I believe that they too, are partly to blame for the situation.
The class system is elitist and unfortunately too many aspire to be part of it. I don’t believe in the middle-class, and if you think of yourself as middle-class then you are, in my eyes, a working-class snob. What does it even really mean to be middle-class, other than you have more money and a bigger house (or should that be mortgage, another con, but a subject for another day) than someone who is called working-class. Middle class is an illusion, you either work for a living or you don’t, and to divide people into class groups is nothing more than social apartheid, and is every bit as disingenuous and damaging, as the racial apartheid that existed in South Africa.
So how do we resolve the political apathy that exists? Well, firstly, I would like to say thank-you to all those who did turn out to vote, at least you made the effort. To all those who didn’t vote or who haven’t voted for years, I challenge you. If you are so disillusioned with the system and those self –serving politicians, then put yourself forward for election next time. Go forward as an independent, and let’s start a campaign to fill Parliament with independents at the next General Election, because your vote IS your voice and if you don’t use it, even if it is to spoil it, then you shouldn’t even be allowed an opinion.
Politics affects every area of our lives, and almost seventy per cent of the people who were entitled to vote, didn’t even bother to turn out. Now, what if those seventy per cent had turned out and voted for the most politically independent candidate on the ballot paper? Or just for the fun of it, voted for anyone as long as they were not a candidate for any of the big three? What kind of difference could that have made? Because it isn’t just one vote, it amounts to millions when used collectively or not, as the case may be. Opting out resolves nothing, if you want to change it, then you have to get in there and do something about it, otherwise things will just remain the same.
And when you do get in, remember why you are there. Get rid of the House of Lords, and while you’re at it, do your best to dismantle the class system, and that means removing the Queen from Parliament. The monarchy is an out-dated system and doesn’t really have a place in a truly democratic society. I have nothing personally against the Queen, she seems like a really nice woman, she can still be Queen if that’s what people want, but an honour’s system that confers titles, again supports the social elitism of the class system and she doesn’t have any political power, so why is she even there? I read in the paper today about a move to bring in changes to the Honour’s system by removing Empire from titles and instead give awards that are more reflective of the reality of life in Britain today. Rather ironic that the Queen’s Lord Lieutenants are more in touch with the social reality of Britain, than our so-called Parliamentary democracy!!
And remember too, that when elected, regardless of who has, or who has not voted for you, you have a moral obligation to govern in the best interests of all the people in the country, because the business of government, is the business of the people, and the business of the people, is the business of government. This means, that government has a moral obligation to work in the best interests of the entire population and that the population too has a responsibility to be aware of what their government is doing, and to hold them accountable for it, and the only way we have of doing that at the present time IS WITH YOUR VOTE. So please, use it!