I wonder if the landslide victory for the Syriza party in the Greek elections has left our MP’s feeling a little discomfited. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about their concerns over Europe or the Euro or anything else in the bigger picture; no, I’m talking about the ‘landslide’ bit.
Imagine the rapture, the sheer heady delight of being as popular as Alexis Tsipras with the electorate falling over themselves to congratulate the winning candidate. There is something very Mediterranean, a colourfully excited jubilation that sits comfortably in Greece but would be at odds with the more subdued British in bridled blighty.
But even without the European exuberance, something has happened to our political parties, and I wonder is it the media circus who turned our government into performing chimps, and the electorate into deluded wannabies who are more interested in gaining points on the s’leb selfies’ score-board, than ensuring we have a government that is fit for purpose?
What came first, the unimportance of the voter or the unimportance of the vote? Is the electorate suffering from repressed democratic hallucinations brought on by ministerial dogma?
IN MY DAY
When I was growing up, witnessing the comings and goings of our governments albeit via my parents’ voting habits; casting your vote had something of a venerable distinction that has long since lost its respectability.
The immense importance of the influence we have seems to have been usurped by other more pressing anxieties such as divulging our innermost secrets to the world at large via social media; that great power an individual once held, the power to decide the fate of one person and thereby the fate of the country, has been diminished to a bored disinclination of a fair weather electorate, choosing instead to see how many extra followers or likes they can attain as they slag off the very people they could oust.
My memory of election fervour is one that was shrouded in secrecy and mystery, it was the sacred and hallowed ground of being a responsible adult and what is more, it was a guarded and prized decision that only the voter knew, giving the whole event a sense of noble duty that was to be valued and honoured and absolutely not to be taken lightly.
Since the turn of century, the UK has seen the lowest
turn-out of voters since the Second World War
But what I most remember is voting night when my parents went in turn to make their mark and I would always ask them, “Who did you vote for? What’s it like? Where do you go? How do you know what to do?” and so on. It was all a big mystery that I imagined involved some sort of high security armed guard type of gig, where everyone spoke in hushed tones and kept their slip of paper close to their chest.
They would never tell me who they voted for, my father would say it was a private matter and you voted for the person you thought would do the best job for the country. He was keen to ensure my decision was not swayed by his choice.
BIG TOP POLLS
But now everyone wears their voting slip on their sleeve, or rather their Facebook page. They mock MP’s and berate policies, each hoping their one-liner put-down will be RT’d or ‘liked’.
And in that same brassy and brash manner, the MP’s now dangle their voting kitsch to entice anyone, no more the grass roots voters or reliable supporters, all and sundry will do and with the Big Top rehearsals already underway, with bickering, name-calling and insults, it looks like the chimps’ tea party will be spectacle for the audience.
But for the country, when they go to the polls in May, it would be nice to have someone worth voting for who gives us hope and inspiration rather than a lot of mess to clear up.