Sunday, May 02, 2010

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.

You may be wondering,perhaps, why I haven't commented much on the General Election, considering that politics is a frequent subject of this blog. It's a combination of exhaustion, lethargy, geberally avoiding Doing Things and a degree of puzzlement. By nature, I'm more of a Labour supporter than anything else, but this election has thrown everything up in the air. I have the feeling that whoever gets into government come next thursday will decide the way this country is going for many, many years to come, far beyond the lifetime of a single Parliamentary cycle. Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, may well be right when he says 'whoever is the government this time around will be out of power for a generation after'. He says this because whoever gets in will have to make cuts and tax increases of such severity that they will not exactly be Mr. Popular with the electorate.

 Perhaps it's precisely this issue that is haunting all the three main parties to the extent that not a single one has a Big Idea - a single, defining thought for change. By and large, they come out almost sounding the same, bar one or two bits here and there. Having listened to and watched the Prime Ministerial debates over the last three weeks, I can't say that anyone come out on top - certainly not David Cameron. I really don't understand why opinion polls put him consistently ahead. He didn't say anything of substance, just anecdotes of dubious provenance and the phrase 'We've got to...' repeatedly. It's all very well saying that something has to be done, but how? that's the real question, and Cameron didn;t answer it. Gordon Brown was much better on facts, substance and method, but he has all the charisma of a sock full of thistles. Clegg was a revelation, only because he hadn't made any impression whatsoever beforehand. Some of his ideas were, I felt, on the naieve side, and he would certainly get a shock if he tried to implement them in the febrile, jumpy atmosphere of government.
There's only one idea worth going for that two parties have suggested - electoral reform. Both Labour and the Lib Dems have it in their manifestoes. Whether it would ever be put into law within a parliamentary cycle is debatable, to put it mildly, and it certainlt won't cure the economic woes of the country. What it may do, however, is open governement to a new democratic paradigm within the UK. It would also force the Big Three to alter, in some cases radically, and open them up to new ideas and policies, rather than have the Same Old Politics again and again, and which seem to end up getting all of us into the Same Old Mess eventually.
And as for the person who said to me that they wouldn't vote because it was against their beliefs, I say that making no choice is still a choice and often the worst one. When faced with a decision, avoiding it does not equate to a good thing. Vote, and vote according to what you have read, understood, want and need. Don't vote in a particular way just because you've always voted for this or that party, or your parents have, or someone's told you to. Vote and know you've done it for the right reasons.

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