Friday, May 06, 2005

Greedy or just plain stupid?

Aside from the lack of proportional representation in this country there’s one other glaring issue with our current election system here in the UK…

Greedy and stupid people get a vote too.

One thing that struck me time and time again whilst listening to members of the public being interviewed during the course of the campaign was just how focused they were on their own immediate self-interest. Their voting decisions were based on crude calculations of the net benefit to them, usually financial benefit, of each party’s package of proposals.

A thoroughly depressing spectacle that means political parties are forced to compete with each other by offering give-aways; funded at the expense of one group of another, society as a whole, or the environment. It’s no surprise that issues such as pensions, civil liberties, global poverty, nuclear power or the environment barely got a serious mention throughout the entire campaign.

The War in Iraq DID get a lot of air time but, at the end of the day, it wasn’t seen as a pivotal issue. Even people who disagreed strongly with the War ended up voting for Labour, presumably taking a long, hot shower immediately afterwards. A word of advice to those people, particularly all those Labour MPs, who supported the War against their own consciences – it’ll never wash off, you self-interested, spineless bastards.

And, on top of the greed, there’s the stupidity thing.

One of those lessons in life that creep up on you one day as an adult is the very simple observation that there are some really seriously stupid people out there.

As a child you grow up familiar with the thought that all grown ups are quite sensible and can be allowed too operate heavy machinery, that sort of thing. And, as with many child hood misconceptions, this belief is often retained through to adulthood. But then there come those moments in life when something happens that reminds you that all those really stupid kids at school grew up, haven’t changed at all and are now reproducing.

And voting.

There really must be an awfully large number of stupid people out there. Maybe that’s why the schools are so rubbish. Maybe that’s the plan.

How else can you explain Tony Blair having the cheek to deliver, and getting away with, some of the lines he’s been using these last few weeks?

The Iraq War is a prima facie example. Imagine someone is on trial for killing his wife and has consulted Blair’s Bumper Book of Bullshit before conducting is own defence. How far would he get with such high-octane arguments as:

‘Look, I cut her almost three years ago now. Isn’t it time we drew a line under the whole affair and moved on? That was then. Now is now. And I think we should all be looking forward to what I can achieve as a widower rather than constantly harping on about the past.’

Or how about the classic …

‘OK, I could have let her live but the bitch was asking for it. I’ve never criticised people for saying I shouldn’t have cut her up. I respect their point of view. But they should respect the fact that I had a decision to make and I made a decision.’

So, what’s it going to be? Has my nation become cynical and greedy or is it just plain stupid? Or is it both?

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