The General Election is here, and by the end of the week we will all know who will be running the country for the next 5 years. Or will we? What is apparent as this election reaches its climax is that even the political experts are unsure what to expect come early Friday morning.
Shifting the focus ever so slightly from the race to number 10 and the stagnant opinion polls, there is a number that has caught my attention. That number is 15.9m - and no, this isn't the number of immigrants Nigel Farage believes to be hiding in any one lorry coming into Britain at a time, but in fact the number of individuals who failed to vote in 2010, a figure, which is expected to be similar this week.
Naturally a proportion of these 15.9m people will not vote because they simply can't be bothered, plead ignorance as an excuse (it's not) or pledge allegiance to Russell Brand (who is now apparently voting Labour, good job he registered given he wasn't planning on voting up until a few days ago). However I feel a large percentage of this group is quite simply disillusioned with the state of British Politics. Which begs the question. Why?
Obviously there are numerous reasons. Two of the main ones being, people don't think their vote will make a difference,whilst at the same time being unable to significantly differentiate between all the parties involved.
My theory is that politicians are essentially frightened. Frightened due to the inner party pressures they face, frightened of the short-term consequence that being honest sometimes creates and lastly frightened to put their head above the parapet. Unfortunately it is this overwhelming sense of nervousness that shines through, making it all the harder to discern what each party actually stands for.
This isn't a phenomenon isolated to the political arena, but in fact something I see on a regular basis from many brands. It is a fear that one person, or a minority might not quite agree with what you're saying, or take it upon themselves to be slanderous and negative about what you are trying to communicate. However you only have to look at brands who do stand for true individuality, to see they so often have the more empowering message to share.
For me, this isn't a concern that should be at the front of politicians' minds. Instead what would be so wonderfully refreshing to see is a politician who is prepared to be bold (to an extent you can accredit Farage's publicity to this), ambitious and honest, whilst demonstrating they do understand some of the concerns the public face. Admittedly you may well lose some voters on the way, but with a further 15.9m people out there to inspire, surely it would pay dividends for politicians to make a concerted effort to standout from their peers. From a brand perspective you only have to look at Burberry and how they were able to re-establish themselves as a truly outstanding brand, by defining their story and staying true to what they wanted to say, to see such an approach is possible.
I appreciate empowering everyone in the country to vote is a tall order, yet if anyone should be ambitious; surely it should be our politicians. After all these are the ladies and gents who have entered the political realm to make what they believe is a positive change to our society (at least this is on most of their agendas).
There is no escaping that the number of people unwilling to vote does sadden me, given that we are lucky to live in one of the safest and most stable countries in the world, you only have to look at a news channel to see the atrocities and perils that prosper without democracy.
Sure democracy isn't perfect, but what is?
The solitary way we will improve the democratic system is by working together. With everyone taking a vested interest in who governs our wonderful country. After all you look at Apple the leading brand of current times and their late esteemed leader Steve Jobs who said: "Great things are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people."
Here's to democracy.
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