Politics. It’s all our fault

So here’s the thing about democracy… it only works if people participate.

It’s fine to be appalled at the behaviour of our MPs but what do you expect?  Around 60% of us voted in the last election.  A third of the population just couldn’t be bothered.  Voter turnout INCREASED from the previous election.

Democracy needs us to find out who we are electing, what they believe, and then to hold them accountable.  When we don’t participate then people think they can do what they want. When we don’t participate minority parties who say they will represent you grow.  When you don’t participate you can’t then turn round and complain!!!

Tomorrow the European Elections take place.  Take part.  Vote.  if you don’t want to vote for anyone on the ballot then spoil your paper.  These are counted.  If you don’t vote then you get what you deserve.

6 thoughts on “Politics. It’s all our fault”

  1. Stewart,

    Do keep up the blogging. I enjoy reading your posts even if I rarely agree with them!

    Your point about democracy is correct. However, I would challenge your assumption that the European Parliament is a true democracy.

    When we vote in a Scottish or UK General Election, we are voting for who has the power to make decisions and laws affecting all of us. That is democracy.

    When we vote for a European Parliament, we are not voting for a Parliament to enable or pass legislation. We are electing a body (at immense cost) who has no real power to do anything. Yes they can amend or occasionally reject legislation, but the only real power in the EU is by those people who have never been elected, Commissioners. They are appointed by member Governments and they have the real power in the EU. Totally unaccountable for their actions and made up of a bunch of people who would never now get elected into their own national Parliament.

    The biggest myth about the EU is that the Parliament is the ruling body, elected by the people of Europe. What a nonsense it is and it smacks straight into our principle of democracy.

    Saying that, I’ll still vote.

    P.S Those of you who now think I’m a UKIP supporting, isolationist nutter, then you couldn’t be further from the truth!

  2. Totally agree, Stewart.
    The worry this time around is the small extreme groups that will increase their share of the vote and claim legitimacy for their message. I’ll be there ready to put my ‘X’ in a box, and would encourage everyone to do likewise.

  3. Kind of implicit in your post but it also requires people to stand and communicate. We are hours away from the start of the Euro elections and I have only had leaflets from 1 party!!!

  4. Thank you all for the comments.

    Graham, I’m not sure that I made any comment on the nature of the democracy that is, isn’t or might be the European Parliament. But I’d tend to agree with you that it’s not nearly democratic enough and it’s not where the power is. But then I would say that perhaps that makes my point even more valid. If we disengage from the political process then those who the minority of us elect will take as much rope as we give them.

  5. I didn’t get my postal vote application sent away in time, so I’ll not be voting. To be honest though, I’m not sure who I’d vote for.
    Yet, there’s the irony that I’m currently working in Brussels!

  6. The problem as I see it, is that there’s little incentive to vote. For as long as I’ve been an adult it seems that the majority of MPs, MEPs etc. seem to be in it for themselves not those that they have been elected to serve. I contacted my local MP about a matter that was important to me and got an incredibly sarcastic letter back.

    We voted out the Conservatives a few years ago because of their reputation for sleaze and now we have a Labour government who seem, if anything, worse. The current expenses scandal is symptomatic of this, and the European Parliament seems to be at least as bad.

    So what’s the incentive to vote now? This is why the BNP will gain ground here – because their followers have a real incentive to change this country where the rest of us can’t decide between two parties that seem just as bad as each other leaving us with no real choice…

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