How Party Politics and Democracy is Ruining our World…

Yesterday was a special day.

Yesterday, I took the relatively short walk of a couple of hundred metres down my street and entered a Scout Hall where I was given a piece of paper, shown into a little booth and exercised my right to vote.

Although we call ourselves a democracy, it is rare that I – as a normal person (relatively speaking that is) – am allowed to have an official say about what goes on in my community.

It is rare that I am allowed to vote for who I want running my country. If we assume that I will reach the life expectancy age for the UK, I will only have been allowed to vote in a general elections a total of 12.6 times (assuming my first general election was at the age of 18).

It is even rare that I am allowed to vote for who will sit on my own local council – clocking up a total of 15.75 voting opportunities in my assumed average lifespan.

When you look at the numbers like this, the average amount of times I (as an apparently equal member of my society) will be allowed to make a decision that affects my country or local community will be a total of 28.35 times.

28.35 times!

And that’s assuming that I live to be 81 years old!

Sure, that doesn’t include the occasional referendum or by-election because another politician has done something naughty or fiddled his expenses or whatever…

And it doesn’t include the opportunities I have to sign a petition or even create my own so that I can lobby parliament to talk about what I think is important…

But still, it’s not a large number…

Suddenly I feel just a little bit powerless…

But that’s not the point.

This time, I wasn’t voting for a politician. I wasn’t voting for who would lead my government. I wasn’t voting for the person who was least likely to go back on his word from amongst a group of people who essentially fib for a living…

No.

This time I was voting for a Police and Crime Commissioner in Kent – a relatively new position (this is only the second time the position has been ‘democratically’ elected).

And, before I started looking into all my local candidates, I thought to myself…

‘At last. An election that surely will have nothing to do with party politics…’

After all, belonging to political party shouldn’t have any bearing on whether you are the right person to lead a police force…

Does it?

Well, apparently party politics plays a huge part.

When I checked out the candidates, I discovered (to my horror) that all, bar one, of the candidates were affiliated with a political party. I guess it kind of makes sense, you need some group backing you to pay for all those fliers I didn’t receive and to prep you for all those speeches I never saw…

And, surprise surprise, the position was eventually won by a party candidate. Matthew Richard Scott, my new Police and Crime Commissioner, seems to make a reasonable amount of sense in his manifesto. He talks about things that seem to logically hold and he doesn’t make any outrageous suggestions.

But it seems to be cut from the same political drivel that every other election manifesto is written in…

‘I have a six point plan’ and ‘I will work hard to do this’ and ‘I will revolutionise that…’

When you get down to the nitty gritty of it, it has about as much revolutionary thought and passion as a can of tuna.

Still, at least he was better than the Labour guy who, apart from opening his manifesto by declaring that the only choice you had was between Labour and Conservative (er… hello mate, there are at least four other candidates…), seemed to spend more time talking about how terrible the Conservatives are at the job than what he was actually planning on doing himself. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to not use one of my rare votes for a police commissioner on a candidate who spends most of his time slagging off the other team…

In fact, the only person who really spoke to me in this election was, as you may have guessed by now, the one independent guy. And it wasn’t because of what he said he would do if elected either…

Gulvinder Singh Sandher started his manifesto with a simple statement.

 I passionately believe there should be no party politics in policing.

And you know what?

He’s right.

Party politics has got sod all to do with policing. The day a political party is allowed to dominate our police force is the day when we are leaning back towards totalitarian states, where the price of your already scarce and powerless votes will all but disappear…

Why should party politics have anything to do with who is our police and crime commissioner? Does being a political puppet really make you better at doing your job? Does a suit make a man? Does a haircut make a good worker?

Needless to say, I am in a minority (at least as far as Kent is concerned). Despite making the most sense, Gulvinder Singh Sandher came fourth with a respectable 26,000 votes out of 190,000 votes cast.

And I hate to be that guy but I can’t help but feel this is down to two things.

  1. People vote with political parties. Not necessarily because they are right to represent their views, but because sometimes it is easier to do that than to take the time to actually find out who you are voting for…
  2. Gulvinder Singh Sandher is probably not a name that would inspire a large proportion of the voting population of Kent. And to understand why, you only have to look at the second count…

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 18.09.10
Courtesy of BBC News

It seems the UK Independence Party has a growing influence in Kent…

I fear the world I created in The Bluebell Informant may one day come to pass…

What a terrible shame…

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