It’s inauguration day and so I thought it would be good to visit a long held belief of mine that the right to vote should NOT be an automatic right. Tomorrow I’ll likely comment on the shenanigans in DC.
Now, don’t get out of your prams. It’s cosy in there, and safe too. Hear me out… Get comfortable and let me tell you a story…
Back in the day when I was an employer of a major utility in Wales I had a group of colleagues 20 strong, an office where not much was achieved on a daily basis but plenty of tea and coffee was drunk and rather more biscuits that was good for us were eaten. This was cafe society on an ‘enforced’ basis. We had to be there to retain our salary. The people we sat beside became friends. It was pleasant enough but rather unfulfilling. Many of my office jobs have been similar and whilst in those jobs I met similarly opinioned people. The daily read was ‘Take A Break’…
So, I rock up for ‘work’ one day and my colleague sitting opposite me, a nineteen year old, says ‘what are all the blue and red things in people windows?’
I took a moment to allow that to sink in and to try to understand what she was on about then it dawned on me, it was election time. So I said ‘they are the rosettes or posters for the different political parties. We are having a general election in a few days time.’
And she said ‘Oh, I didn’t know that. But what do the colours mean?’
So I explained. Red is for Labour and Blue is for conservative. I asked what party she would be voting for and she said it would be the same as her parents, Labour. I asked her what she knew about policy and the history of either political ideology… It was tumbleweed time…
And so I thought that is not a good vote. That vote should not be counted. And given the large amount of people that I come across that have similar uninformed and ill educated responses I believe a good proportion of the voting public should be disqualified from taking part in the democratic process.
My solution would be to have all political parties produce a simple history of their party and a simple outline of their key policy proposals and have these freely available as booklets, as pdf’s and on their respective websites. Alongside this I would like to see a basic peer reviewed history of the British Parliamentary System and have this as the UK politics truth bomb.
With these in place there really would be no excuse for ignorance. And I would demand a test to weed out those who really couldn’t give a fuck. Those who achieved a score below the pass mark would be pointed towards the materials above and asked to resit once they had improved on their political understanding. This is then a choice. Learn or be disenfranchised. I think that’s a simple, understandable and very useful rule.
The resulting benefit is that all elections would be delivered by the electorate on an informed and engaged basis. The people have spoken and it could be assured that the people understood the issues and voted according to their understanding and conscience.
Go on, tell me I’ve thought up a bad thing. I’m a cruel man. Whatever. But you know, I’d rather live in a society where people were educated and made decisions according to their knowledge rather than a society where people are ignorant and make decisions based on guesses and peer coercion.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this please do support me. I’ve had NO FINANCIAL SUPPORT from the state, like, ever and certainly none through the Covid years. I have relied upon my savings which are now zero and the few walks I’ve been able to lead this year (I’m a self employed guided walks leader in Wales.)