Friday, 30 April 2010

Soapbox Derby

Election time is rolling around once again in the UK. This time, the competition is much more ferocious than ever before as an eclectic bunch of Eton schoolboys compete in a month-long dick-waving contest to determine who is the most popular. As ever, the smear campaigns are out in force, but considering that the reputation of politics was shattered to begin with (placing even the most charming of MPs as slightly less likeable than Piers Morgan if he admitted to child abuse), what can politicians do to persuade the braying masses?

Not much, frankly. As it turns out, most people you speak to are already sick to death of the election debates. The main problem appears to be the lack of understanding that people understandably have. When mainstream media would rather report on the deformed hooves of the PM’s wife than any of the actual policies, you can appreciate the reasons why people are frustrated with the current political system.

But the electorate as a whole can be a raucous rabble themselves. Mass blanket statements such as “No wonder this country is going down the pan”, “Britain is going to the dogs” and other such nonsense don’t help. It’s unbelievable how many times in one day you can overhear someone declaring the end of Britain as a country, usually over the most trivial of matters. These people have the fortuitous circumstance of living in one of the richest, fairest, most powerful nations on the planet, yet they carry on as if they are forced to forage for mutated bulbs growing in Chernobyl-like soil just to etch out an existence. I can’t imagine we’ll see a starving Ethiopian child weeping over the fact that people in Woking have to negotiate potholes anytime soon. Perhaps African AIDs victims could perform a charity gig to provide grit for our icy roads in the winter? I wonder if orphans in war-torn states are concerned about Woolworths closing down?

On a slightly different note, these are usually the same types who want to pull out of the EU and always complain about political correctness. They often suggest that our “politically correct” society is bringing our fair lands into decay, despite the fact that we have one of the best human rights records in the world and comparatively low poverty rates with other nations. It’s all gone mad, I tell you!

If you think that voting for a particular political party will plunge your country into the dark ages, then you’re probably the type of person who believes that a terrorist might be living in your attic, or that having childhood inoculations might give you syphilis. Seriously, if Brown, Clegg, or Cameron get in next time, the four horsemen aren’t going plunge your peaceful suburb into an urban inferno of torment and woe. No, that’ll take at least a couple of years for the policies to go through. When I hear people talk about how this country has been “ruined” by Gordon Brown’s recession, it makes me wince. Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t necessarily see our society in a collapse. Sure, some people may have lost their jobs or not been entitled to a pay increase this year, but how else do you expect to maintain 17-18 years of gigantic growth? The good times can’t last forever; there does come a point where everyone suddenly realises that whilst the economy has been great and inflation has risen exponentially, you’re paying nearly twice as much for a Mars bar, and your children can’t afford to buy a home whilst you idle away your retirement years in your Tuscany holiday villa. It’s just not sustainable. Also, if you reckon that Britain is the only country that has been affected, take a look at the rest of the world. Everyone has gone through the same turbulence. If you think the current government has handled the situation badly, then fine, vote for someone who you feel is more able, but please don’t bemoan your plight to the point where you’re actually insulting those in poverty-stricken countries with real problems. I’m tired of hearing people say “We need to sort our own country before we help others”, whenever there’s a mention of supplying aid to another nation. Call me a limp-wristed, skirt-wearing lefty, but where’s your compassion? Just because people don’t have the good fortune to have been born on your noble soil doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same freedoms and rights that you so belligerently gorge your self-absorbed, blinkered, opinionated arsehole upon. Let’s get a sense of perspective up in here.

That’s enough about idio-I mean people, let’s move on to the politicians themselves. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who is starting to get a little annoyed by the amount of leaflets that I have to wade through when I enter my house at the moment. It wouldn’t be as bothersome if they didn’t all contain the same things; a large picture of a grinning stranger stood outside a school/hospital/library, then the rest of the white space taken up by insults against the other candidates. Our local MP who shall remain nameless (we’ll refer to him as Mr P.Holmes. No, wait, that’s too obvious. Let’s go with Paul H.) is determined to slice down entire woodlands to produce leaflets which only slag off Gordon Brown and “his recession”. The Liberal Democrats have been elected in this area for the past 9 years, and I don’t even know what their policies are. Perhaps their only local policies involve throwing insults at all other rivals until they collapse crying in a sodden heap of worthlessness. In fact, I’d like to take the opportunity to write an open letter to Mr Holmes, if you’ll indulge me:

“Dear Mr Holmes,

I would be grateful if you would take my name off of whatever mailing list you have me on. After receiving enough flyers to make a life size origami Jumbo Jet (complete with working engines and everything), I am becoming concerned for my own health. I find that I am battling for my own life whenever I enter my house sometimes as I am unable to traverse what is now known locally as “The Sea Of Slander”. Not being a strong swimmer means that the sheer amount of leaflets on my doormat threatens my very existence. Also, the paper cuts are an absolute bitch.

Although I appreciate the time it took to create these masterpieces of misanthropy, they are simply killing me. I would be grateful if the council would come to dispose of this wasteful heap. I suggest that you recycle it into something useful, like some more money after your leadership almost bankrupted the entire town. Of course, you were entirely blameless in this incident; it was Gordon Brown who failed to magically appear and fill all of the town’s pot holes with chunks of solid platinum.

On another note, I was sorry to hear that you had to repay nearly £10,000 from a rather shady second home scam that you no doubt fell victim to. I’m sure a man such as yourself was unaware that us, the taxpayers, would have to pick up the tab of literally thousands, otherwise you wouldn’t have done it.

Judging by the contents of your leaflets (or what I could read of them before I passed out through inhaling too much ink) you are a man who cares so much about his constituency that he will vigilantly attack all other parties and blame them for his own failings. I mean, their failings, obviously. We don’t need to know the ways in which you will make our town a better place. We don’t need to know what you stand for. All we need to know is that you are not Gordon Brown.

Coincidentally, do you know what else you should include on your campaign posters? More pictures of Brown looking less than his best. The sweatier the better. Get a picture of him mopping his brow next to a caption saying “BROWN FEELS HEAT AS HERO HOLMES PUTS ROCKET UP HIS SOCKET!”.

Look forward to you winning in this area again.”

Anyway, that’s the mentalist’s guide to the 2010 election. Who are you going to vote for? I don’t care, honest.