When I set up my Facebook account, I chose not to fill in most of the info it asked for. I’m well aware of the fact that little is really private there, and take the view that Zuckerberg and his minions don’t need to know about my relationship status etc. Anyone that needs to know important information already does know. And however great the holes in my memory, I think I can remember where I live and when I was born. I don’t need Facebook to remind me. But one section I did fill in was on my political views.
“Who cares, they’re all lying bastards.”
I became old enough to vote during the Thatcher years. From then on I faithfully voted in every election, local or national. I had no great affinity to any party, but felt that when women had fought so hard for this fundamental right, I was obliged to use my vote. I was shocked to find out that my mother had never voted, when it had taken brave, determined women years of hunger strikes and campaigning to gain this right for her. Go back 100 years to 1914, and only a small handful of countries had already given the right to vote to women. Think about that. In most countries, anyone with a vagina wasn’t allowed to vote. Damn those female chromosomes.
So I faithfully trotted off to the polling booth at every election, national, local and European. But disillusionment began to set in after Tony Blair’s election in 1997. At first, a Labour government seemed a refreshing change after 18 years of Tory leadership. But it soon became clear that Blair’s government was, in its way, every bit as bad as its predecessors. At the next election, I discovered that in my area there were NO parties fielding candidates outside the main three. So if you didn’t want to vote for one of them, you had no chance to express your views.
In UK politics, it has become abundantly clear that each election means only one thing: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Nothing really changes other than the nameplates on the door. Politicians of all parties are out to feather their own nest, and behave in a less than honest fashion. So is it even worth voting? I’ve been asking myself that for more than a decade, and I still don’t know. Could anything be worse than democracy? Vive la revolution? Vive la reine?