Monday, 8 June 2009

We're All to Blame for the BNP

In my last political post I wondered "How ashamed will I be of Britain after today?" The answer: very ashamed. Fear and stupidity ruled the roost as the seats racked-up for the self-serving (Conservatives), the ignorant (UKIP), and the evil (BNP). These are the sort of results that justify every rant I have ever had on the stupidity of democracy and the population in general. So, when fear and ignorance rule, who is to blame? We all are.

As always I stayed up late watching the election results, but this time I had a Twitter window open as well. It was interesting to not only see the results, but to see people's reaction to the results. When the BNP got their first seat in Yorkshire and Humber there were the usual "shame on yorkshire" comments from people outside the region, with lots of "don't blame me", "we didn't all vote BNP" and "I voted something-besides-the-BNP" from inside the region. This morning, as the country awoke to the news that a second BNP MEP had also been elected, the comments have blamed the failure of the main parties: "it's all thanks to you expenses-fiddling crooks." But in a democracy it is the fault of every person who fails to engage fully in the political process.

Democracy works, in theory at least, by each of us contributing to the political discussion. However, somewhere along the line, we got confused. We've come to believe that in a representative democracy the professional politicians will have this discussion on our behalf. All we have to do to be engaged in the political process is get out and vote according to our national newspaper of choice. Whilst a few 'truly dedicated' people will Twitter comments on election day, and write the occasional blog post complaining about the latest political indiscretion, for the most part we just have to sit back and let the system do the work for us. Last night's results are a reflection of this attitude to democracy.

If you are one of the few people who really try to contribute to the political system, and not just the glamorous-Gurkha-politics but all the way down to the wonky-pavement-politics, then you can hold your head up high. For the vast majority of us, who fail to fully engage but instead act as occasional pundits on the sidelines, we must accept our own share of the responsibility for Britain sending fascists to Europe.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

European Elections: Labour and Proud!

Is it my imagination or did the ballot paper have a decidedly isolationist/right-wing feel to it this year? Whilst I fear the Labour party will do badly in the polls (the public/press are now little more than a pack of wild dogs that can smell blood), I am nonetheless interested in the results as an indication of the state of the nation. What is the mood of the British public?

As I have mentioned before, I don't particularly like democracy. I would no more give the average person the vote than encourage them to start drilling holes in my head. It is, however, the political system we are stuck with, and whilst the decisions are often disastrous (e.g., ten years of Thatcherism), from a sociological perspective it is an interesting indication of the nation's mood:
- Self-interested greedy bastards in the 80s
- Confused in 92.
- Hopeful from 97.
And I think probably:
- Scared in 2009.

Whilst people may talk about voting to give the government, or all the main parties, a 'bloody nose', they are at the end of the day voting FOR something. Seemingly people will be voting in rather large numbers FOR the far right. I was ashamed last year when enough Londoners voted for the BNP for Richard Barnbrook to get a seat on the London Assembly. How ashamed will I be of Britain after today?

Maybe I will be proved wrong. Maybe the electorate who (hypocritically in my opinion) have been ranting about MPs' expenses will vote for the naive idealism of the Green Party rather than the fear of the right. I doubt it.