Thursday, 6 May 2010

Hanging us out to dry?

In this country, voter turn-out is low. Shame!  People don't know how fortunate they are to be able to vote at all.  A vote may not mean much in a flawed system but at least it's a chance for an individual to make a stand. We'll be hung out to dry, whatever happens, but at least in some small way we can make a mark.

Big majorities make governments cocky. At the last election a van covered in one party's flags was parked across the entrance of the polling station, in contravention of electoral rules. I protested and was threatened by the party members. "We are going to win anyway, whatever you do". And worse! When I approached the electoral officer, he looked so cowed that I couldn't bear to put him in a spot.. I protested direct to the party and got no reply. Being a coward, but also knowing the people involved, I didn't dare take it further. Some comfort, though, the seat, previously unshakeable, was lost.

Parties become arrogant and corrupt when they think they can get away with it. That's why votes matter even if they don't change a result. Being unsafe keeps parties on their toes. That's why they try to scare the rest of us into voting like sheep.  In theory, uncertainty makes them think through their policies more carefully. Though that didn't stop the invasion of Iraq.  That said, tomorrow I might change my principles and vote for the man who beat the last lot last time round. It turned out that he's a genuinely uncorrupt, hard-working man.  No expenses claims, good voting and attendance record, even asked a Question for me and did the homework. He is a sign that decent people still exist. Maybe it's irrational to think good individuals can change things, but I'll take a chance..Not many people have this kind of MP, or this kind of choice.

Tomorrow a friend is standing for election in a nearby seat. She's a good person, too, and conscientious. Besides, she listens to Szymanowski.  And of course the election has to be in the middle of the big Szymanowski fest at the Wigmore Hall.  Good Luck, anyway, J!

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