Vote For… Who? April 11, 2010Posted by markswill in About me, Politics, Schmolitics.
So at last the election process is officially underway. I’ve voted in most British elections during the last thirty years – before that I was hippie, then a closet anarcho-capitalist (go figure) – but I’m not sure if I’ll bother this time or if I do, who’ll get my vote. Abdicating one’s democratic rights by not voting is a mantra bleated by political parties large and small, but I share the disillusion of many when I say that whoever wins will make little or no difference to the common good, and certainly not my own situation.
Why? Well the sheer scale of the financial deficit the incoming government have to deal with in my view renders arguments about which services might be cut, which taxes might have to rise and consequently how many jobs will be lost as facile waffle. To mop up £160billion of red ink on the national balance sheet will require a substantial change in the way the country’s economy is run and none of the political parties are being honest about it for fear of striking even more anguish into the hearts and minds of the electorate than already resides there. And it is this failure to fess up that cements my disillusion with our arrogant servant-masters in Parliament Square, both current and future.
IMPOTENCE ‘R’ US
This isn’t just a consequence of the expenses and bribery scandals, nor the arrogance of a Labour government that took us into two futile, costly and geo-politically damaging wars on bogus premises despite overwhelming public protest. No, my main disillusion is with a political system that is a) designed to cocoon those who decide to clamber up its slippery pole from the economic and moral realities that beset the rest of us, and b) is, frankly impotent.
Taking my last point first, we as a nation are in thrall to the European Union and such laws as the UK can implement unilaterally are mainly on the parliamentary periphery. Fully three quarters of new legislation in the UK comes from unelected Brussels bureaucrats and since the European Economic Community as was came into being, over 100,000 new laws have been imposed on us by that body… over twice those made by the sovereign UK government during the same period. Moreover our net balance of payments in favour of the EU currently runs at some £60billion, with an almost similar bill for the cost of EU-imposed red tape. Apart from UKIP and the BNP, who for their other, variously racist policies I could not vote for, no political party will admit to this neo-totalitarian absurdity, and indeed I must ruefully acknowledge that some of the cultural benefits of living where I do are due to subsidies handed out from the EU coffers… even if we put the money there in the first place. But the reason our politicians do not challenge, at least publicly, the omniscient power of the EU takes me back to my first point.
STAYING ABOARD THE GRAVY TRAIN
Most modern politicians are self-serving. They whine about public service, but reading the CVs of most of the current candidates – or at least the sanitised versions delivered to the media – they overwhelmingly come from relatively privileged backgrounds (Bullingdon Club, anyone?), few of them have ever held a job outside politics and so even if we took their fine words at face value, how could they know what it actually feels like to be working class, to be poor, or to have to support, school or keep a family healthy on an average, let alone a minimum wage? As one time editor of a local newspaper and more recently a campaigner on (admittedly generally unpopular) rights of way issues, I’ve had quite a lot of firsthand exposure to politicians both local and national and I’m afraid to say their overwhelming responsibility is not to those who elected them, but to staying elected, staying aboard the gravy train. Oh, and by the way, exploiting public fear is a dandy way of doing that.
Okay, there’s going to be less gravy sloshing around for the next few years, but as we edge towards the one-party state that the EU is slowly but inexorably herding us into, they as a breed can look forward to jobs for life and pensions to match… providing of course they don’t rock the boat. So with the aforementioned exceptions, no politician does. Indeed this was arguably set in stone in 1971 when the Foreign Office circulated a document, FCO 30/1048, to all MPs which stated that there was “a major responsibility on HMG and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures nor unfavourable economic developments to the remote and unmanageable working of the Community.” (Now the EU).
Please don’t cast me as a little Englander railing Canute-like against the tide of onerous, freedom-sapping legislation from across the channel or the waves of immigrants from poorer EU countries that Daily Mail readers are so fond of blaming for all our economic ills (that responsibility truly resides with bankers and Gordon No-More-Boom-and-Bust Brown), for I love the rich and varied cultures of continental Europe and hugely enjoyed my years working there.
MORE DUCK HOUSES, PLEASE
But just as county councilors and their executive staff benefit from the funding handed to them by national government and, increasingly, the EU to feather their nests (if not their duck houses), then so too do all national MPs and their subordinate, mushrooming quangocracy who are already and will in future be increasingly dependent on Brussels for their livings. In other words, none of them will or even could make any tangible difference to our daily lives, at least not in a benign or constructive way.
So who to vote for, if at all? Well if they still existed, I reckon Monster Raving Loony would be the way to go. But they don’t, so I think I shan’t.
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