Today, lots of my American friends will be going to the polls. This is an important time not only for them, but for us in the UK and for the rest of the world too. The US has a huge influence on what happens globally and whilst I am not too familiar with all the nuances of the parties, I do understand that feelings will be running high. People take up their positions. Democracy versus vested interested, the little guy against big business. Those that always vote Democrat will be negated by those who always vote Republican and the people that really count are those who make up their minds based upon policy – or how the guys looked on the television. Democracy works in mysterious ways.
I don’t normally blog about politics and I don’t normally get out of my tree about the subject in general, but….
Here in England, we have a chance to vote next week in the biggest single piece of stupidity since the birth of Democracy.
We are holding elections for new Police Commissioners. The country is pretty broke and elections are expensive, but we’re going to have this one anyway. This country is pretty broke, but we’re inventing new paid jobs across the country – because these new Police Commissioners are going to – what exactly? The ads tell us they will be bringing down crime in our community. They will enable better policing and stop anti-social behaviour ruining our streets, homes and lives.
But they don’t say how. There’s a lot of rhetoric, but they don’t say how.
We have leaflets coming through our doors – costing thousands by the way – telling us all about what a good idea it is, but with no idea of how we get there. There are no concrete plans, no thoughts as to how this is going to be put into practice. And the people that are going to do it? Well, we don’t know them either.
They promise the same thing: better policing, better ideas for dealing with crime, preventing hooliganism and anti-social behaviour.
Again, they don’t say how. And who are these people?
Most of them are already politicians or councillors, many already earning a salary at the tax payers expense. A very few of them are independent. How were they chosen and what criteria were used or did they choose themselves? ‘Is this a case of jobs for the boys’? Are they benevolent souls with a desire to do good? Or megalomaniacs intent on wielding power? How are we to know? Have we met them? No. Have we had a chance to see them and hear their policies on the television in some big debate? No. Three people are standing in my community, one of whom has delivered a leaflet, telling me little, expressing his desire for policing to be better. I could express the same thing, but I suspect neither of our opinions will change a thing.
The police don’t want this new post: they are against it. I have not spoken to one single person who understands what this is for, who we should vote for and why. And yet this election is being foisted upon us and doubtless millions of us are expected to go and stick our crosses on a piece of paper for someone who may be the right ‘colour’ to fit our politics. Traditional Labour will cancel out traditional Conservative, but who will be the middle man – who are the people that know enough to contribute democracy to this election?
For all the information we have, we might as well choose by waving a pin around and sticking it in wherever it lands.
I hope your elections are better than ours America. I hope your result is more democratic.