Here we are with less than a week to go until polling day and I can honestly say that, whatever the outcome, I will be glad when it is all over, writes Sue Dewey.
Frankly, I was close to being bored on the day that Parliament was officially dissolved ahead of the election; all those various unctuous media types all looking to grab headlines and air time whilst trying to make a name for themselves and one well known presenter in particular who appeared to think he could dictate the way the cards will fall, all by himself.
I resolved to listen and engage with as little of the coverage as possible as the various ‘sides’ have all been saying something that is guaranteed to wind me up. I will vote, of course, because many brave individuals, not just other women, sacrificed themselves to get people like me the right to vote, and because I believe passionately in the democratic process and that having got that right, it should come with responsibility. I would quite like to see us adopt the Australian tradition of fining individuals who do not exercise their franchise, the least we should expect is that people turn up to the polling booth to spoil their paper as a protest. Sitting on the sofa yelling at the telly or radio is not taking responsibility and is a sad indictment of today’s society. These people will often be the first to moan about the government when the chips are down.
Another aspect of the election that I have observed over the past four weeks is angry, and in many cases, quite rude behaviour and rhetoric filling my social media space. Why is it that some people are always louder and insist on taking the moral high ground when anyone dares to express an opposite view to theirs? One side does not have a right to morality and I am sick of the mud-slinging I see between civilised people. We saw this all too clearly during last year’s Scottish Referendum, the militant nationalists intimidating the more measured unionists. If people are afraid to speak out with their views then we will not get a fair debate and even more people will be turned off politics.
I am even bored by all the mayhem in the so-called middle ground….. we have always had jokers in the pack of British politics, I read somewhere over the weekend that David, Screaming Lord Sutch was the longest standing leader of a political party ever, but this century it is getting more serious, as some of these alternative parties might actually have a shot at being part of a Coalition! I am also slightly concerned that a minority party representing less than a fifth of the British population is threatening to derail the whole process with talk of blocking votes – vested interests being protected there, I feel, and no small amount of assumption as to the result.
For that reason, I have spent much of the last month catching up on my cache of The Musketeers, The Good Wife and all of Last Tango in Halifax, whilst doing my ironing – such an exciting life I lead! No thrusting and finger waving on my telly, no sirree – well apart from Aramis and co. In the end, as Alexis de Tocqueville said in the 19th Century, in a democracy we get the government we deserve.
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John van Geest Cancer Research Centre
Nottingham Trent University