Saturday, 6 June 2009

Situations Vacant - Politician, immediate start

Thursday 4th June 2009. Election Day for the European Parliament, and county elections in some areas as well. The expenses scandal ensured the Labour party was abandoned pretty much everywhere, but personally I don't see why. Politicians. They're all the same.

The same as everybody else.

The scandal has revealed our politicians are no different from any other corporate salaryman who takes a sickie not because he's ill, but because he's entitled to 5 sick days per year and by golly he's going to take them all. Or my hubby, who printed off a 4-sheet document for my personal use. The pollys are entitled to claim and claim they did. Their error lies in the nature of many of the claims. Considering politicians live and breathe on public opinion, they really didn't think much about it when the claimed for moat cleaning, servants quarters or secretarial servces provided by one's sister. If they'd only thought about it for a moment they would have seen that although the claims might have been legitamate, they look bad and that's not good.

Many politicians have been embarrassed, a significant number have either been sacked or resigned, and the whole thing may yet bring down Mr Brown's government. However, the most significant casualty of the entire sorry affair has to be public confidence in the political system. Voter turnout this time was about 44%, down from 75% (-ish) in the last election, and when I went to vote nearly everyone I saw on my way to and inside the polling station were of retirement age. That may just be a feature of the time I voted, but I worried that young people would not vote out of apathy. They're all crooks, no point in voting, they'll say.

I love voting. Love it. I get a little frisson of excitement whenever I vote. I read all the leaflets pushed through my letterbox by devoted supporters. Most end up in the bin, because I've already decided who I'm going to vote for, but I read the information anyway, just in case they have a policy point that might change my mind. I'm really pleased to be eligible to vote in the UK and European elections. Why? Simple. Because I am one of a distressingly small minority of people in the world who can make her voice heard in free and fair elections, free from the threat of violence or intimidation. I can vote knowing my vote won't be tampered with. I may not be able to trust the politicians, but at least I can trust the electoral process that gets them into office.

There's a saying that anyone who wants to be a politician should be immediately disqualified from doing so, and those who least want positions of leadership or power are those best suited to have it foisted upon them. I hope there are still people who want to be politicians for the right reasons. There must be politicians who have maintained their honesty and integrity throughout.

I hope I voted for one.

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