Well, it’s that time again and we are beset with election fever; when I say fever, I mean more of a slight temperature and that scratchy feeling you get in the back of your throat. Now don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some typical rant berating one party in favour of another, but rather my view of the political “scene” as an overview. I know, I know, never discuss religion or politics, but how are we ever going to change things unless we engage in some form of meaningful dialogue.
I was flicking, or should I say, scrolling through some news stories on the internet the other day and saw a headline tearing into a certain soap actress for admitting that she had never voted in an election. The particular site that I was on didn’t seem particularly interested in covering the serious issues of the topic, but instead seemed more interested in the frills and frippery and so concerned itself on whether the actors outfit was de rigueur or not. I realised that the report didn’t give a reason as to why this particular actor hadn’t voted before, but it made me realise that there have been elections where I too have failed to register my mark in the necessary box. Now before you start lambasting me for not upholding my democratic right and pointing out that we have fought for our liberty in order to exercise this right. let me explain. Posed with the question, would you like to be stabbed in the face, or shot in the chest, I sincerely hope that your answer is, none of the above please. At this juncture, I would like to thank and apologise in equal measure to Rufus Hound, as I have stolen/paraphrased this question from some of his material – and damn funny it was too! (his material, not my question)!
The origin of the above material to one side, it does pose a very interesting question and that is, why should we feel compelled to vote, especially if we are left feeling as though we are picking the lesser of two evils (or many evils as is case in many constituencies). Surely this opinion is backed up when you consider just how many, or to put it more accurately, just how few people turn out to the ballot stations come election time. Whilst I don’t recall the exact figure, I believe that less than 40% of the electorate turned out for the last election and even those people couldn’t decide a definite majority. Surely with around a quarter of the electorate forming the “majority”, the result should be deemed null and void. I won’t labour the point (forgive the pun!), as many discussions have been had on this subject, but surely isn’t it time we had a “None of the Above” option on our ballot cards and we can then see what the real majority want. Then and only then can you truly berate myself, aforementioned soap actors and other abstainers for not exercising their constitutional rights.
That’s all well and good, I hear you cry, but what do we do if the none-of-the-above-ers achieve the majority. I should also make the distinction that “none of the above” isn’t the same as “I don’t know”. In my opinion, the “I don’t know” faction are people that the politicians have failed to engage in politics, rather than people that have weighed up all the options and have made a conscious decision that none of the political parties available to them are able to steer the country in the direction that they see fit. In my opinion, if the majority of the electorate tick, “none of the above” on their ballot papers, then the election should be suspended. The main parties involved should be given an opportunity to go away and re-group, even elect a new leader if needs be, within a pre-determined time span. You would hope that any necessary action taken would be driven by the actual numbers counted at the polling stations. If a particular party spectacularly under-performs in certain constituencies, hopefully this will then force them to make the necessary changes in order to win the voters on-side. Who knows, perhaps it will force the main political parties to draw-up manifestoes based on what the electorate wants as opposed to want they think we want to hear.
Idealistic and fanciful – maybe; impractical and unworkable – perhaps, but what’s the alternative, a constant round of being lied to and mis-represented. Surely, isn’t it worth a little bit of extra pain and hard work in order to get a government that is genuinely looking out for the well being of the majority, or in other words, a truer democracy than we have now.
So Brother and Sisters, when election day comes, join with me and demand a better future with a brighter outlook and vote for…….None of the Above!!!