Hi. I’m Felix. I’m 27, and I’m increasingly disillusioned.
Let me tell you a story.
When I was 11 I attended a school in Bromsgrove, a parochial little place near Birmingham. As part of some lesson, we were encouraged to write to a local MP about something in the local community. I chose to write about the weed choked and dirty stream that ran near the stream, and was, if memory serves me, chockablock with rusted bikes and trolleys.
That local MP wrote back to me, and, after another letter, the stream was cleaned.
Which made a great impact on me, as a young lad. Here was a system where people in charge genuinely cared about the things that I wanted changed, and, I felt, would act as a conduit to the people who could, and would, change the things I and others felt needed changing.
I was 11. I didn’t have the moral subtlety to appreciate that, well, that’s not always possible. But it started a fire.
Over the years since then, I’ve been deeply political. I’m ashamed to say my first ever vote was for Jacqui Smith, which turned bitter when she voted for tuition fees, and sour when she became Home Secretary and saw whatever godawful ‘convenient truth’ presentation turns reasonable, boring Labour Ministers into oppressive bastards as Home Office Minister. Still, schadenfreude, right? Nonetheless, I’ve always engaged with the system, and felt never allowed myself to feel hard done by when politicians made alternative decisions; I do have the moral subtlety now to appreciate the difficulty of governing.
But what I’ve really stood for is the right for people to have a say. I realised a long time ago that all of you I disagree with hold your opinions as strongly as I do, so who’s to say I’m right, really. Let’s get pluralist.
I’ve stood for elections, lost some, won some, and had a great time. When I’ve been in an elected position, I’ve taken the time to talk to everyone I could, and had to make decisions and support positions that I didn’t agree with, but constituents did.
And that’s not easy.
What is easy, though, is to allow yourself to be influenced by lobbyists and powerful, rich companies and individuals. It’s easy to allow yourself to be swayed by people who will offer you employment when you leave politics. It’s easy to kowtow to corporate interests because they’ll make sure, through various fronts, that you get enough money to win another election. It’s easy to decide to finance your party with contributions from a man who has crippled an entire country to play at cronyism and favouritism. And Labour, it’s easy to pay lip service to workers, while really supporting people who have grown indulgent and self serving in the unions.
The world turns when people with strong opinions get together and make awesome things happen. Compromise has enough negative connotations, so lets say synergy, which is bad-ass. Party politics used to be about strongly held opinions, and sharp divides in the Houses, which infused change and growth and development and experimentation in society. Don’t get me wrong, things have been bad, but they were getting better most of the time.
To return to that 11 year old boy. I was inspired then. Many things still inspire me now, but rarely the elected representatives that so awed me as a child.
I’ve had enough of the petty attack politics, the splintering of the opponents position. The boring, wishy-washy, policy-less PR politics. I would love to see a glimpse of what Obama allowed America; not the parroting of change that everyone the UK parties offer now. But mostly, I’d love it if you stopped treating me like an idiot and allowed me to make a real decision.
I would love to see a single genuinely progressive policy, and a promise to implement it. I would love to see some chutzpah and some genuine differentiation, not just this nauseating jostling to be elected or reelected, policy be damned.
It seems so obvious that most of you want more than a job out of this, and that saddens me. I have no respect for most of the politicians who have ever served me, or who are currently patiently waiting the opportunity to really get their claws into their opponents throat in a election. Show. some. fucking. dignity.
Most of them. Please don’t take this as too much of a broad stroke. There are amazing and inspiring politicians in both houses (and especially in the judiciary!). You know who you are, and you’re awesome.
No, I don’t mean you, Mandelson, That gnawing empty feeling inside means you’re doing a bad job.
So this was all leading up to me renouncing my vote and saying that I just couldn’t face voting for any of you. But, a couple of days thought, and some conversations with friends, and I’m not going to disenfranchise myself.
But I’ll vote for any of you cats who will put their balls on the line and promise something genuinely progressive. Including the Tories.
And yes, that means I’m giving up the chance to help unseat Jacqui.
Disclosure: I’m a member of the Lib Dems, and won’t be stopping that. I’d like them to show some fucking balls though.