Sunday, 9 May 2010
another quiet night in england
The punishment we suffer, if we refuse to take an interest in matters of government, is to live under the government of worse men. (Plato)
I understand that there was a 65.1% turnout for this election. Is that all? I thought from the fuss and speculation that it would be nearer 85%! I thought that the electorate had been motivated this time. Or that is what the media would have us believe? Personally, I don't think that's a very good turnout. Obviously it's better than usual (in recent years) - but, come on! It's not very good is it?
It is the easiest thing in the world to complain about something - sniping from the sidelines, as it were. Rooseveldt (FDR) said, "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves - and the only way they can do that is by not voting." Ignore Americans and think about our own refuseniks. We have to vote to have a voice. As A.C. Grayling pointed out, unless you make people pay for the advice you give, they will not heed it. He also said that if you give people democratic rights as a free entitlement of citizenship, they appear to disregard it, failing to see how precious and important it is. The news we often recieve of foreign citizens queuing all day to cast their vote (such as South Africa after Apartheid was overthrown) puts into perspective our own very recent news bulletins of dissatisfied queuing voters. They have the right to vote - and I'm aware of the ignorance of some commentators (Facebookers - tcha!) who complain that voters "should of (sic) got to the Polling Stations earlier" (!) What, and queued for even longer and still be turned away?
There are few more important matters than electing a government. The required solution is that voting should be compulsory (I'm not interested in arguments about free will etc - let's have "none of the above" on the ballot papers). Again, I refer to A. C. Grayling who suggests that "sceptics and idlers" may think that their single vote may not make a difference either way, but they are wrong in both practice and principle. Al Gore's fate in Florida a few year's ago suggets the first is wrong.
As for the latter, every refusal to vote is an act of self-disenfranchisement in which a citizen, betraying the endeavours of history, demotes himself to a serf.
Oh, and as you can take the boy out of Hertfordshire but can't take Hertfordshire out of the boy, I was heartened to read that David Barnes, an independent candidate in Hertford and Stortford managed to poll no votes at all. He didn't even vote for himself.
I'll give the closing words to messrs Jones and Telford of The Oysterband:
It's just another quiet night in England
They turn away if you let it out
They think you're mad if you scream and shout
And another quiet night goes by . . .