Just Who Is Responsible for the Quality of Our Elections?

Just Who Is Responsible for the Quality of Our Elections?

As the election veers towards the finishing line with all the pizazz of a wobbly egg and spoon race, our politicians' thespian talents are now firmly judged and juried from their over-rehearsed, gesticulatively manicured, very own Party Political 'Britain's Got Talent' auditions.

So it's now left to the media camp to burrow deep, mustering all the dirty laundry it can find to keep the tabloids full and the Spinning Jennys and Henrys back at Party HQ occupied until the last X has been counted.

In last-ditch attempts to curry favour and appeal to target voter groups, much has been promised, committed and even pledged to be made law. The thing is, do we truly believe them, when all the runes are reading coalition compromise and a behind-the-scenes preparedness for tearing up of unread manifestos in pursuit of power and glory?

So isn't now a very good time to ask,

'Whatever happened to truth in politics?'

We have to acknowledge that honesty and truth are two words that refuse to be associated with politics and politicians in this era. Electioneers look more like puppets, players and posturers than noble statesmen.

But why has straight-talking become a thing of the past in politics?

And can politicians ever be taken as men and women of their word?

Just how refreshing would it be if someone spoke the truth - and we could believe them - about how they would get us out of our national mess?

Perhaps it would be so unpalatable to hear it that we prefer the drama of a televised political bloodbath or the sleekness of a precision-engineered speech? Has society become so self-absorbed and self-centred that we have lost the capacity to look at the bigger picture and our place in it, where difficult decisions might just be tolerated because they would be understood for their medium-to-long-term gain for all?

Or are we so short-termist, so ideological or so individualistic that we have no tolerance for anything except that which serves us now, regardless of the impact on anyone else? If all this were true, can we really get that indignant about politicians who are merely pandering to us in playing to this tune?

The thing is, we all know the election game, the lines, the posturing that's being played out in front of our eyes and ears. We see through it. But we don't call it.

So here we are with a motley crew of candidates, at times acting presidential and at others reminiscent of the schoolyard. No consistency, no certainty, no predictability. So when they flatly refuse to answer the simple yet clarifying questions all are needing to understand, it is beyond frustrating. Disillusion sets in and we check out. Many of us even avoid polling stations on the day, in the belief that there's no point. Why would we want any of these guys managing our life? So we opt for Fate to take the lead and reject our potential for taking responsibility.

Are we in effect just seeing here a reflection of how society itself is operating?

Where we are intolerant of difference, focused on our own position, on retaining our own ground, grasping for our piece of the pie at the expense of others?

Let's face it, we're in a mess - the economy, the nation's health, the way we're living, the way we relate to each other.

Electioneers merely represent the microcosm and are shaped by the way we all choose to operate. Elections though, are a moment in time to have our voice heard, our opinion count. A candidate line-up with the composition of ours, makes it anything but a straightforward decision.

But unless we participate we will never change the way party politics has allowed itself to luxuriate in sugar-coated argument, vituperative attack, avoidance of the difficult decisions and most importantly irresponsibility to our fellow man.

Perhaps the only way to decide on our tick box is to ask ourselves, 'Who presents the most truth, integrity and honesty per British pound?' and back that horse once the final furlong is in view.

Our vote matters because responsibility counts. Our vote counts because responsibility matters.

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