Years ago ordinary hardworking families in most neighbourhoods were not indifferent to an election. It was the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to choose an MP. They did not consider voting as ‘a waste of time’ nor did they regard all politicians as untrustworthy miscreants. Today,apathy has crept in and that is not good for democracy. People already within the system will probably be happy with this state of affairs but a percentage of the electorate remains unmoved. Political disillusionment does not mean that citizens have no faith in politics,the issue that citizens have is with the current practice of politics. There is a sense of a lack of courage on the part of politicians to tell the public the truth about the tough decisions that need to be made and other concerns remain largely unaddressed in a society where the most important issues are taboo. Any attempt to discuss a sensible and sustainable immigration policy is likely to brand the speaker a racist-a ‘right on’ PC phrase much loved by the Left in Britain and usually hurled at candidates who are also accused of committing political suicide. Public ‘consultations’ that conclude with overwhelming rejection of plans to invade the greenbelt have been swept aside by political dogma on the back of promises by developers that new homes/offices/warehousing will bring extra money into a community. The EU, a body so corrupt that no accountancy practice on earth will audit their accounts, raises little or no comment in spite of vast sums of our cash pouring into its coffers. Lack of proper financial controls means a lot of EU money is wasted or syphoned off by corrupt officials. Meanwhile our political party leaders all say they will be ‘robust’ and ‘determined’ in any forthcoming EU negotiations to ‘secure a better deal’ for Britain. We’ve heard it all before but when will they actually do it?
Politicians have themselves to blame for our cynicism. Conviction politics has been replaced by a regard for what is politically advantageous rather than for what is right or just. Few MP’s resign on a point of principle. When exposed for any wrongdoing they deny everything until faced with incontrovertible evidence then claim it was “all a simple mistake”. Disingenuous phrases like ‘over-firm denial’ (a lie) and ‘economical with the truth’(Missing out important facts) are used to mitigate outright lies and a former Prime Minister who should have stood trial in The Hague became our ‘Peace’ Envoy. (Explain that to your grandchildren)
The scale of MP’s expenses scandals had barely registered before an ‘Independent’ Authority (IPSA) was appointed and swiftly determined that MP’s should be given a ten percent pay increase (which would see their salaries rise from £67,000 to £74,000) while everyone else could manage with one percent. Mr Cameron has said he regards the hike as “unacceptable” at a time when public sector rises are restricted to 1%, while Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg have said they do not believe it should go ahead.
Sadly there seems to be very little interest in the forthcoming General Election. Most voters are tired of the self-serving hypocrisy displayed by politicians who all promise ‘jam tomorrow’. Britain is weighed down by a substantial fiscal deficit but as far as the public is concerned it is also suffering from a depressing shortfall in the quality of its political class. Our parents and grandparents would have died of shame at the obfuscation and deceit we see today.
Like any other much-maligned profession there are good politicians and bad politicians, and it is often difficult to tell the difference.
Electing an MP is and should be based on trust. Who do you trust with the economy? Who do you trust to provide our children’s education? Who do you trust to defend our country? Who do you trust to provide jobs and housing? However, not voting is not the solution, it is merely an indication of acceptance of the status quo. Previous generations gave their lives to protect our right to vote, and we have a responsibility to use that vote to hold our politicians to task,even if it’s only once every 5 years.
Finally something else to think about;
If immigration is to be properly regulated, something this country has been debating since the 1960s, how can it be right that people who are not citizens of this country are allowed to vote in all UK elections including the general election? We are not talking about EU citizens, they can vote in local elections and European elections but not the general election. The privilege of voting in all UK elections extends to Commonwealth Citizens, British Overseas Territories and British Crown Dependencies. Fiji and Zimbabwe may be currently suspended from the Commonwealth but their citizens who are resident here have not lost their right to vote in UK elections. This privilege also extends to three countries which belong to the EU,Ireland, Cyprus and Malta. Because of Britain’s historic links citizens of these countries are also eligible to vote in all UK elections.
A question you could ask your wannabe MP?