My second general election – some semi-stream of consciousness stuff

A generic election image... exciting!

This isn’t a review but more a personal blog based on my thoughts of Guernsey’s general election which happened today and is the second one I’ve voted in – just to make it clear, I am far from a political expert, and this is very rambling, but hopefully might make some coherent points amid my stream of consciousness mess and hopefully I don’t sound like an uneducated fool!

If you want more informed comment I’d suggest going here or here.

If you’d told me even 6 or 7 years ago that I’d care enough about an election to tweet and blog about it I’d have thought you were mad – my opinion (which isn’t entirely changed) was that government in the form it exists, both in Guernsey and the UK, is so deeply flawed, what’s the point of engaging with it?

However, it’s now Wednesday 18th April 2012 at about 9pm, so the polling stations are closed, and I headed up to the Castel Douzaine room this afternoon to put some X’s on a bit of a paper next to some people’s names.

I wouldn’t say they were all people I genuinely thought would be good at running the island (a couple may have been), and this is probably the first of my problems that I am wrestling with when it comes to actually getting involved.

Thanks to the way the system works over here I vote for up to 7 candidates standing in my ‘Electoral District’ and I will admit to having a challenge deciding on who I did want to vote for (though I certainly knew a couple I didn’t want to vote for).

In the past this is what made me not want to vote, I don’t like any of them, so I won’t vote for any of them and I won’t even bother paying attention, now however, I largely approached it more from a standpoint of who do I want to keep out… and this is troubling.

Surely the point should be to vote for people that seem to be standing for the same things you stand for and that you genuinely support – or maybe I’m too much of an idealist?

In my patch, from what I could tell, there was little to no mention of anything to do with issues I genuinely care about, specifically things to do with the island’s culture and heritage (which I feel are overlooked by ‘the powers that be’ on a regular basis, despite the amount of work real people put in for next to no comeback other a sense of pride for getting off their arses and doing something), and certain issues of equality which Guernsey has yet to face up to and which often makes the island feel more than a little bit stuck in the dark ages.

So this made making a choice as an idealist hard, and maybe I am now resigned to the fact that idealism in Guernsey politics will never work… maybe…

The other thing that has struck me in recent years is why I think its important to vote… and my thinking on this has come round.

In the past, as I’ve said, I was maybe approaching it from the ‘wrong’ angle (and by that I mean the right angle), but now I’ve overcome that I’ve also realized that democracy is the voice of the people effecting those in power and that if everyone voted and got more involved the outcome might be fairer and also the reason we have democracy is that people have fought for the right to it.

So I think we should respect that and use it (and anyone who knows me will know I don’t say this as a pro-fighting sort, but it had to be fought for and I respect that, maybe that comes from seeing bunkers everywhere and being reminded of what the cost was for the freedoms we do have, I don’t mean that it was just World War Two, there have been many other battles for democracy before and since, but the bunkers are obvious reminder).

While the outcome may not always be what I want, it is people power in action and, while sometimes public opinion may not be something I go along with, it is, at least the closest we can get to being what the people want and the more people who get involved the more likely it is to be a fair representation – even if that’s wrong in my opinion.

The other thing that’s come up this time is social media and that has engaged me greatly, sadly not with any of the people in my patch, as other than a few follows from candidates earlier on Twitter (who I didn’t follow back as I’m not going to follow you just because your standing, make me want to follow you!), I saw little activity.

However, regarding a few other candidates, there was a lot of action, both positive and negative for their campaign (one @deputyjoseph springs to mind) and the election issues in general came up time and again on Twitter and did seem to draw me in.

Anyway I’ve rambled enough for anyone who made it this far, but, I think in future the system needs revising to make it work better with island wide voting for a start, so I might actually be able to work from at least an element of my idealist tendencies, and the other problem is that very few of the candidates actually spoke about anything other than very general things which anyone could have come up with and felt largely soulless (but maybe that’s just a reflection of our current mainstream society).

Who knows if I will care in 4 years time, I may have lost myself in a sea of despair once again at the state of politics on our little rock and beyond, or I may go the other way, we’ll see…

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