Every Saturday evening almost 20million of us watch X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and cast our vote.
That’s a third of the entire population engaged in the process of choosing a winner.
Only 300 people turned out to determine the next Tory Party candidate for Macclesfield from a population of 55,000. Okay, it wasn’t on national television but it is indicative of public apathy. Deprived of a local candidate, controlled by Tory HQ and stage managed from London it wasn’t the most democratic process but the major political parties don’t do democracy, they do manipulation.
Remember how hastily John Prescott dropped plans for a referendum on regional government once he realised the result was likely to be a resounding no? Despite Government assurances we are to be railroaded into the Lisbon Treaty without a referendum (just in case we fail to do as we’re told).
General Elections scare the daylights out of politicians and if they could devise a way to eliminate the voting process they’d do it. Truth is; they just don’t trust us. Why do you think they didn’t tell us about ‘flipping’ homes, or making huge capital gains from houses bought at taxpayers’ expense until we found out? They didn’t believe we’d understand.
Politicians of all shades regard public opinion as a curse to be avoided, denied and stage managed at every opportunity lest it gives answers they do not want to hear.
Strictly and the X Factor provide us with a rare opportunity to have our say and confounding the judges is a major source of entertainment. Simon Cowell’s discomfort at having an act he describes as ‘utterly useless’ kept in the competition by public support is cathartic for both parties.
Mr Cowell learns he is not the brilliant arbiter of talent he believes himself to be and viewers experience an empowerment largely denied them in the political process.
Despite promises of ‘open government’ and ‘transparency’ I don’t see any political party prepared to have their plans reliant on public support.
We are not going tohave a referendum on the EU, the criminal justice system, policing or any of the major issues affecting our lives.
It’s a one shot deal: vote for us, after that we’ll make all the decisions.
It’s the same deal that drew us into Iraq under false pretences, fuelled the banking crisis and decimated pensions. Not exactly a gripping proposition is it?