Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Voting: How To Increase Turnout

Jonny Nexus:
The problem with saying that all politicians are crooks ... is that it is a self-fullfilling prophecy.

I spent ten years involved in local politics ... I didn't expect thanks for this, or even respect. But I didn't expect to be treated like a piece of shit.

I'd be spending, say, my Saturday morning delivering leaflets (that I'd donated the money to print) and people would be looking at me like I was some piece of crap that crawled out of the gutter. They were convinced that they were morally superior to me (and made it pretty clear) on account of the fact that they weren't spending their Saturday morning delivering leaflets. (They were going shopping, or to the football or something else I guess).

So eventually, it ground me down, and I thought "fuck this!" and give it up. I earn a good living, and I should pay more taxes as a result. I'll ask people nicely to vote that I should pay more taxes, but I'm not going to fucking beg. So I basically decided, screw you all, I'm okay, so I'm just going to start living my life. I still give money to the party and a variety of charities, but I get to spend my weekends looking after me.

Several times since then, I've been involved in conversations about politics where people first slag off everyone involved, and then say something like: "You should be a councillor! You make a good councillor!"

At which point my reply is generally something along the lines of, "Why should I give up a shitload of my own time to do a load of really stressful work, which doesn't pay anything like enough to make it monetarily worthwhile, just so that people like you can tell everyone I'm scum?"

The point is that if you believe that everyone involved in politics is corrupt and power-serving, pretty soon the only people involved will be corrupt and power-serving. I believe this is already happening. Certainly, it happened with me.

That's a comment in a post on reforming voting. One of the things I like about blogging? It forces you to really think through your ideas. I've changed my mind about compulsory voting, it is, as I should have always known, a stupid idea. Chris has more at qwghlm:
To first punish poor people by betraying the ideals that were meant to defend them, then to bully them into voting with the threat of a fine, in order to make election results ostensibly “legitmate”, is totally reprehensible.

What’s the solution? Ideally, provide poor people with a Labour party worth voting for; one that is in their interest, not that of supermarket owners, billionaire media magnates and piss-poor IT contractors. Since that won’t happen, then the very least they could do is reform the electoral system, abolish first-past-the-post and replace it with a more proportional system that allows a political spectrum that contains more than the two-and-a-half parties we have at the moment. Either that will allow a genuinely left-wing party into the political arena, or it will give Labour a bloody good incentive to reclaim the ground and people it has abandoned.
I, ultimately, believe that electoral reform will lead to a complete realignment of the existing party structures. I've never done partizan, just issues.

I might end up in a party with like-minded people. Although I suspect this bunch of hippie reformers would find it hard to agree on a single policy.


Longrider said...

Although I suspect this bunch of hippie reformers would find it hard to agree on a single policy.

Isn't that the definition of the Liberal Party?

MatGB said...

Not really, the Liberal party is now so small that policies are somewhat akin to "What Mr Morish thinks".

Oh, sorry, did you meant he liberal Democrats? Nah, they seem to be assembling a coherant vision of who they are these days. Of course, the authoritarianism of Blair is helping that.