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16 November 2012

Democracy - Why don't we care about it?

We've just had elections for Police & Crime Commissioners (for the first time ever).

We also had three Parliamentiary Byelections at the same time.

The turn-out was between 10% and 18%. This is disgraceful. The number of people bothering to exercise their precious right to vote has been falling dramatically in recent years and it makes me angry.

It makes me angry because over the centuries people have campaigned, fought and died in order to obtain the right to be heard, and the right to elect the people who govern.

I have no sympathy for anyone who doesn't care about exercising this right and then has the gall to complain about whatever governments are doing.

It is undeniable that over the years we have developed an understandable scepticism about our politicians and governments; they can't be trusted, they don't keep their promises, they are dishonest, they are in it for themselves, and so on. But these are not reasons to turn our back on democracy; they are reasons to increase our activity in it!

What do these people who don't care really want? Do they want dictatorship?

We are all human beings with manifold flaws in our characters, and people who aspire to be politicians are no different. But it is better to have imperfect human beings whom we elect than suffer oppression under imperfect human beings with absolute control over us.

Here in the UK we could improve things by abandoning this long-held tradition of voting on Thursdays. Why the hell does that happen? What's so special about Thursdays? What's wrong with voting on Saturdays or Sundays? There's also a lot to be said for making voting a statutory obligation. After all, we are legally obliged to pay our taxes, and the old cry is "No taxation without representation". So, why not a legal obligation to vote?! And before anyone says, "Well, I don't like any of these cretins", ballot papers in a compulsory vote would have to have a box for "Abstention", "None of the Above", "Anti-Democracy" .. call it what you will.

Come on Britain, wake up!