Friday, 7 May 2010

Champagne


We laughed slightly hysterically and everyone drained their glass, I noticed, which they usually don't in the middle of a working day. Haha, we said, fancy raising our glasses today of all days, for certainly none of us is toasting - as we have in the past, and now wonder why - our hopes for a new government.


We hugged her hard, the new doctor fresh from the ordeal of her viva, with tears in some of our eyes. As the world spins out of control we fall back on the personal, the intimate - and we’re lucky to have them, the things and people that matter to our own small circle.

Hoping less and less from the public arena, we retreat into ourselves and the places where our voice does count. Fine to do this today, healthy to do this today, and so good to have this particular reason. But we need to beware of retreating for too long from wider concerns. I’ll be out there, right behind it, I tell myself, if this unedifying election leads to a serious campaign for electoral reform in the UK. Will I really, or is it the champagne talking?

10 comments:

marja-leena said...

I've been watching the UK election a bit, especially with daughter living there. And because our electoral system is based on the British one and we have a difficult minority government here. There have been many calls for reform here, which we call it proportional representation, but the old parties are not willing to change, so far. Good luck to us all!

PS: Ominous word verification: panick

Fire Bird said...

strange times indeed...

Rosie said...

yes, it seems that some votes are more equal than other votes...
but the lib dems and the torys make strange bedfellows and electoral reform might not be so easy to attain

persiflage said...

Proportional representation is not a panacea, and can give an influence to minority groups and parties which is disproportionate to their percentage of the vote. It would benefit the Lib-Dems, obviously, which is why they would want it.
An optional preferential system would be better - not a full preferential system, as in Australian federal (but not in all state elections) which results in a unequal weighting of the votes.
The UK electoral administration sounds somewhat defective, given that polling stations ran out of ballot papers and that many waiting to vote could not do so before the close of polls. And although turnout was evidently higher, it is still quite low. Lots of things for the UK to think about.

Jean said...

Hello Persiflage! Indeed, I don't think proportional representation or any other voting system would be a panacea. But it's particularly frustrating in such a crisis situation to know that unless you live in a very marginal constituency your vote will count for nothing.

Peter said...

I've heard Britons lament the Americanization of their electioneering. I was fortunate to catch most of the last debate among Messrs. Brown, Cameron, and Clegg, and I think all three out-debated most presidential candidates I've seen debate over here since I tuned in to Ford vs. Carter in college back in 1976. I guess it's all that parliamentary debate -- real debate -- that we avoid over here.

Jean said...

Good to remember that things could be worse! Indeed, none of our current party leaders is stupid, I think. Perhaps I have come, rightly or wrongly, to value intelligence less and less with time - or to feel that we need to define intelligence much more broadly than we do. Facility with thoughts and words does not amount to wisdom.

Peter said...

Though I guess we Americans have discovered that stupidity doesn't often amount to wisdom, either . . . "Where can wisdom be found?"

Jean said...

Rarely in politicians, I fear. The wise give politics a wide berth, which is clearly a BIG problem!

Isabelle said...

Well, it's got even more interesting today, hasn't it?