Unless you've been living on a rock, it's been impossible to not notice the UK General Election which is speeding our way like a runaway train full of grinning men in suits. Estimated time of arrival is in about 5 days. It's rather amusing to note how different things are on each side of the Atlantic: while every Brit in the country was avidly watching the US election and (for 90% of the country at least) praying to whatever deity they believed in that Kerry would win, or at the very least that someone would win who wasn't Bush, the US takes a decidedly different approach to our political system i.e. they don't take any approach at all. And for once, I share their lack of enthusiasm.
Why don't I? I'm political as anything, I should be in my element...but I'm not. Fact is, I have precisely zero reasons to give a shit anymore. The British public have had to endure 25 days of the most horrific bullshit ever inflicted upon them by their political parties. Endless proclamations about immigration and asylum seekers, ranging from acceptance to outright xenophobia, we've heard so much from Mr Blair's New Labour about how voting for anyone other than them lets the Tories in, every single party claiming that every single other party's figures do not add up. People aren't being given a chance to think for themselves; given that none of the party's figures add up, it seems the electorate now have to go on nothing but their own dogma.
Admittedly, it isn't as bad as the US's system. Our "Republican" party (The Conservative party, or the Tories) over here doesn't wheel out old soldiers to discredit the other guy, they wheel out old women with bad shoulders. We still have a long way to go before we reach the truly horrifying depths of "I'm Michael Howard and I approve this message"; here our politicians actually get reprimanded by the public for calling the prime minister a liar! But it seems that with every single election we slip closer to this nightmare, where the actual policies of the parties become absolutely meaningless behind all this utter, utter crap about immigration and asylum, concocted by spin doctors and designed to play on peoples' fears and an underlying sense of racism. It could be said that we simply have no way of introducing any kind of decent political debate not marred by this sense of rash, thought-terminating slogan warfare, not in a nation of "It was the Sun wot won it", and the sad thing is if you said that you would probably be right.
Britain as it stands is a three party system, more or less, with two main parties (Labour and Conservative) with about a 30% share of the vote each and the Liberal Democrats, who tend to hover around 25%. The Liberal Democrats, it have to be said, tend to represent the zeitgeist: I'm seeing a lot more people who consider the Lib Dems, as they are known, a sensible option. But at the same time I'm seeing lots of people who would under all other circumstances vote Lib Dem, and agree with their policies, but would never vote for them, under the ridiculous pretense of it being a "wasted vote". The idea is ridiculous because there can simply be no such thing as a "wasted vote", unless you're so utterly thick as to assume that if the party you voted for doesn't win the election, or doesn't come second, then your vote is wasted because you didn't back the winning horse. And that appears to be the mentality these days, that it's always better to vote for someone who you think is going to win, rather than who you actually want to win, because who really wants to say they voted for the loser? So the votes keep on going to Labour and the Tories, and more and more both these parties continue to fuck the loyal people who voted for them, fuck them right in the ass without lubrication; stripping them of civil liberties, breaking their campaign promises, destroying public services and refusing to fix that which is broken. And why has nobody realised this? Do people really think that the only choices are between the Bad and the Slightly Worse? Is it really too much to ask that people stop reading the Sun and get out of the stupid two party mindset that is bringing this party down? I'm sure that if people stopped this whole "wasted vote" mentality and actually voted for who they agree with, we'd be seeing a very different party in power in a month or two's time.
Maybe I'm asking a bit too much. I mean, why bother thinking for yourself, when the Sun is backing Labour? And aren't there asylum seekers we should be deporting, and terrorism we should be stopping, or whatever the excuse is this week? Yeah, I think I am asking a bit too much, altogether it's a bit of a pipedream. Sadly.