Well here we are, deep in the middle of “Campaign-fest”!
That five-yearly spectacle worthy of a David Attenborough Special; a display by a rare sub-group of Homo sapiens where a few thousand out of some sixty four million (could be sixty five by now, it just depends on how many trucks have arrived at Dover!) indulge in psephological courtship for a short mating season of just three weeks. Yes….welcome to the 2015 General Election!
Your front door will be knocked, you’ll be stopped in the street, there will be grand visits to where you shop or where you work………..candidates want your vote you see! People who just a few weeks ago didn’t even know your town or village or suburb existed will now do anything short of proposing marriage (and I bet some even do that!) to get you to put your cross in that little box alongside their name on 7th May.
Of course in 80% of the Country it won’t make one iota of difference how you vote; you could put a sheep up in blue or red and get it in! And we call this democracy! Men died on beaches, women threw themselves under horses’ hooves so we all have the opportunity to determine who rules us…….and yet the Constituency Candidate Selection Panel (some six to ten activists) select the candidate for the main two parties (often from way outside the area, be it a City banker or a Trades Union Official…take your pick) and where the particular constituency majority is over, say, seven thousand what they have actually chosen is the next MP! Six people choosing the person who is to represent a hundred thousand? That’s what people gave their lives for is it?
We need to change the system ….and soon. More people vote on X Factor and Strictly than in all the Local Elections! More people belong to the RSPB than all the political parties in Britain put together! Disengagement is staring us in the face and yet the great vested interests of the Labour Party and the Conservatives block change again and again.
We, the great unwashed electorate, are not “entitled” to a better, more representative system ….. We have got to get off our bottoms and fight for it….starting with frequent and tough verbal challenges by each and every one of us to those rare animals blinking in the harsh light of engagement with the public for three short weeks ……ask them how on earth they think the current election system can possibly be fair, ask them if they (if elected) will only vote on debates they attend and then in a way that their constituents want, not the way their Party Whips and political ambition dictate.
In return, the newly elected Members should be able to rely on a new contribution from us; we should end, right now, this developed sense of entitlement that now pervades all we do.
We are not “entitled” to a National Health Service slavishly following a Operational Model that ceased to be fit for purpose a quarter of a century ago; it isn’t free, it costs a lot of money that has to be earned!
We are not “entitled” to welfare benefits just because we choose not to take any job; welfare costs a lot of money that has to be earned by many lower-paid people who have made a conscious decision to work;
Former Foreign Secretaries are not “entitled” to financial rewards just because they occupy a place in Society and are blessed with talent.
Bankers are not “entitled” to live in a bubble far, far away from the rest of us, living and managing and earning according to a totally different set of rules to everyone else.
As you endure “Campaign-fest” let us banish this creeping National Sense of Entitlement ……….. and get back to earning the stuff, get back to endowing the Nation with a sense of perspective and proportion……as we watch millions of people on this planet of ours live in fear or poverty, let us just remind those candidates who want our vote that old Blighty ain’t such a bad place after all …..and that none of us is entitled to that, we have to work for it.