Sunday 19 April 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015 Posted by Jake 1 comment Labels: , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Sunday, April 19, 2015 with 1 comment | Labels: , , , ,

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released in April 2015, just before the May 2015 UK General Election, showed a fall of over 800,000 on the Electoral Register during the year 2014. Is this a symptom of public disgust at all the shabby little things politicians do to grasp at power?

Before even more of us make the mistake of turning up our noses at the ballot, we should consider what is the root cause of the bad smell that comes from politicians.

The brilliant Japanese movie “The Seven Samurai”, remade as the western “The Magnificent Seven”, tells the story of seven warriors saving a peasant village from bandits.

The peasant farmers were viewed as weak, cowardly and despicable both by the bandits and by the samurai too. Not unlike the commonly held view of politicians today. One of the warriors, Kikuchiyo secretly by birth a farmer himself, made a memorable speech:

"Well, what do you think farmers are? Saints?
They are the most cunning and untrustworthy animals on Earth.

If you ask them for rice, they’ll say they have none. But they have.

They have everything. Look in the rafters, dig in the ground. You’ll find it. Rice in jars. Salt. Beans. Saké.
Look in the mountains, hidden farms everywhere. And yet they pretend to be oppressed. They are full of lies.

When they smell a battle, they make themselves bamboo spears. And then they hunt. But they hunt the wounded and the defeated.

Farmers are miserly, craven......mean, stupid......murderous! You make me laugh so hard I’m crying!

But then, who made animals out of them? You!
You did - you samurai! All of you damned samurai!
And each time you fight you burn villages, you destroy the fields, you take away the food, you rape the women and enslave the men. And you kill them when they resist.

You hear me - you damned samurai?!"

Replace "farmer" with "politician", and "samurai" with "voter" and you get the idea. However despised the farmers were in this movie, politicians are far more despised in real life. But just like the farmers, our politicians are made despicable by those who despise them. 

We the electorate make politicians despicable. We trust these least trusted people with the greatest trust of all: governing our nation. We put power in their hands to decide what laws to make and what to break. To decide who can do what to whom; who will be rich; who will be poor. To decide who goes to jail, and who gets away. To decide which wars to fight, and which atrocities to overlook. To decide how our children are educated, how our hospitals are run, how our security is maintained. We trust them with hundreds of millions of pounds of our taxes to spend as they see fit. We give these least trusted people immense power over all of us and our families, friends, over our descendants and over our nation. We give politicians huge rewards for being what they are.

The reason politicians are despicable is successive elections have taught them they have to be despicable to get our votes. 

Politicians do what they do because it works. It gets the big ones their turns in power, and the little ones their seats in Parliament. Vast amounts of time and money are invested by politicians and parties to understand what we voters want. Their research finds we suspend our disbelief of one party to justify our dislike of another party. Politicians eagerly make themselves ridiculous, happy to be made fools of by journalists and children and small woolly animals, to give the voters whatever we need to get our votes.

Do these politicians despise themselves? Not at all. They console themselves that the despicable things they do are for the nation's sake. They assure one another that ends justify means. However despicable their means, they reassure themselves their ends are noble. And in any case they know they are not responsible for the way they are because we the voting public make them that way.
This article isn't meant to put a guilt trip on all of us citizens. We want to encourage the millions of eligible voters who intend not to vote to hold their noses and vote. 

Politicians are what they are because we make them that way. To change the way they are, we would have to change the way we are. That would be really hard. The next best thing is to make sure we all go out and vote.

Those who do not vote because they despise politicians make a huge mistake. In 2010 more than twice the number of people did not vote as voted Conservative. We must vote because, regardless of what politicians are and who made them that way, we voters give them power. Even voters who just spoil their ballot papers will be counted. Only those who don't vote don't count.

Do Britain a favour by sending this to anyone you know who isn't registered to vote. Apparently it takes only 5 minutes to register online.

The deadline to register to vote for the 2015 General Election is Monday 20th April 2015. Even if you missed that date, it is still well worth registering. The next election may be sooner than you think!

1 comment:

  1. Might I have temerity to say you left out a GIANT FACTOR? It is SCHOOLING for conformity and acceptance of 'authority'. School - encountered ever younger - is a governed state where the unit of work is powerless. School INSTITUTIONALISES except for the few who 'fail' and enter crime/dissipation.


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