Saturday, January 22, 2011

The abolition of election campaigning

Why the government's NHS proposals have pushed bullshit politics to untenable levels.

The run-up to the general election. Those dreaded weeks when the country is bombarded with oily messages, grinning politicians hugging babies, kids, huskies, or anything immediately at hand.

Those useless televisual feasts where leaders nod to borderline-whiplash levels, the smarmy "I know what you mean" can be heard over and over, and Nick Clegg calls everyone by name without the slightest grasp that he may be 'overdoing it' a bit.

The quazillions spent on multicoloured placards, posters and assorted ads. The junk flowing through the letterbox, the tedious door-knocking, the bingeing on promises and proclaims.

Wouldn't it be a wonderful idea if all of the above was done away with?

There is now irrefutable evidence that election campaigns are not only useless and a waste of money, but also outright deceitful.

We had plenty of that when Labour was in power and we're having more of the same (except at a faster rate and even more barefaced) now.

For all the industrial amounts of political gobbing off we heard last year, there was no mention from either the Tories of the Liberal Democrats that tuition fees were going to be hiked up; that VAT was going to be increased; that the NHS was going to end up mangled and "reorganised" from the top down; that sick and disabled people were going to suffer cuts of up to a third in their incomes; that child benefits would be touched; that the Education Maintenance Allowance for disadvantaged students was going to be scrapped at a stroke; that more measures were going to come in to make it easier to sack workers...and the list could go on for hours.

And make no mistake. For all the bullshit they will try to feed you, this has nothing to do with "compromise". It is crucial we understand that neither of the Coalition partners promised or even suggested any of the above. It is not as if the Tories or the LibDems are reluctantly taking on board what the other partner had advocated all along.

Far from it. Both Tories and Lib-Dems fervently denied they would have anything to do with each and every one of those policies and, in some of those cases, they actually campaigned against (i.e. VAT rise, tuition fees, etc).

The recent bill on the NHS is just taking the piss.

So here's the proposal.

Do away with election campaigning. Scrap it, ditch it, just knock it on the head. Give all that money to charity. On polling day people will cast their vote on the basis of what they've seen in practice over the lifetime of that parliament and after plenty of evidence of how MPs' decisions actually affected their lives.

That should be more then enough to make up their mind. Bullshit politics has now reached tipping point.

1 comment:

Patrick Gray said...

I take it you're being provocative. Otherwise, yes we are living in shit times re: trust and politicians u-turning while showing less and less sense of shame.

I'm no Liberal fan but I hope an AV-based reform can give this ailing political system a desperately needed kiss of life.