It seems rather unusual that with a general election, in which a decision that will affect the next five years of our lives, for there to be such disinterest in any of the coverage at all. There seems to be a persistent trail of thought that neither party is actually capable of running the country. Personally I attribute this to the similarity of the three main party leaders. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are all equally interchangeable, you get the feeling that their views on politics are so similar, that you could easily switch them around (party wise) and no one would really notice.
The other problem is that there is a complete lack of trust in any of the parties currently running for election. The Green party is seen as idealistic and incapable of leading the country effectively. The SNP are seen as an odious party fuelled only by self interest and expected to try and raise another campaign for Scottish independence. The Liberal Democrats are seen as toothless, especially after they are judged to have acquiesced to the desires of the Conservatives during the Coalition, as well as judged to have turned their backs on some of their promises during the last election campaign.
Labour is seen as lumbered with a witless and useless party leader, and also have the problem of still being remembered for causing the problems that Britain currently face. The Conservatives are seen as interested only in policies that facilitate the rich and cripple the impoverished. UKIP is seen as generally racist and bigoted.
Whether any of these views are merited I will not comment upon, I do not wish to influence or suggest who people should vote for. The main thing that perplexes me is that the debate seems to be based around the persona carried by the party leaders rather than party policies. Certainly each party has policies that I agree and disagree with, but this year, the coverage seems to be based on public perception of the leaders persona rather than the important campaign promises that should truly win votes.
Even when policies are finally covered, neither party seems to give any real detail as to what they are, the main topic at hand seems the reduction of the deficit, yet details on as to how each party will reduce it seems to be altogether sketchy at best.
This election seems to be have been overtaken by a cult of personality, there is a such a focus on the who, the what, the where and the how, that you could easily be mistaken for thinking they are contestants on the X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent, rather than well educated men attempting to be elected to rule the country.
In my opinion, I find the whole notion of not voting for a party based on not liking the way the leader looks, or something equally inane rather frustrating and foolish. Surely who we vote for in a general election should be decided by the policies that would benefit us the most, not by family tradition, habit, or the likeability of the party leader.
The other frustration is how opinions of party leaders seem to drown out sensible policies. Recently Nigel Farage of UKIP, stated in a televised debate, that foreign nationals should pay for treatment on the NHS and was shouted out as a racist. Yet yesterday, David Cameron was stating pretty much the exact same policy, with a requirement of a passport being shown to prove that you are eligible for free treatment on the NHS, and it was being praised as a wonderful and unique policy. That the media makes such selective presentations of two very similar policies, purely based on their biased opinion of the parties and their leaders is beggars belief. How can one policy be considered inspired from the mouth of one party, yet racist from another?
This unfortunately has lead to general disinterest in the general election this year, and personally I am still undecided as to which party to vote for. Earlier this year, two television channels, BBC1 and Channel 4, both aired dramatised mockumentaries as to what would happen should UKIP win the general election. Both seemed to suggest that it would be akin to the British version of the Third Reich taking over and extolling how such unfair and racist policies would divide the country. One of these mockumentaries suggested that the deportation by UKIP of illegal immigrants would tear the country apart and cause riots, and basically that to do so was completely unacceptable. Ironically enough, the BBC has a show which shows the Customs team, arresting and deporting illegal immigrants, and fining businesses who hire them. So basically, a policy and action that is already in place, would be continued should UKIP come to power, and this is apparently a bad thing.
Do not misunderstand me, I am not here to extol the virtues of UKIP or lack thereof, I am merely attempting to point out the fallacy of such alarmist propaganda and social engineering. The fact that such biased dramatisations were allowed to be shown at all, both directed at one party, which had been growing in popularity, despite the desires of the media is frankly, appalling. Especially when this was done shortly before the election campaigns got under way. In my mind, this was a direct attempt to halt the support of a party which clearly the media is not incredibly fond of. Surely such clear bias should not be allowed to be shown by the media, especially when it is a blatant attempt to influence the populous to vote for the more favourable parties (in their eyes).
To me, this just sullies the democratic process, people should be allowed to form their own opinions as to who to vote for, as well as the reasons for doing so. The only ones that should be attempting to influence that decision, are the parties that are up for election. The media should present an impartial stance when it comes to any party at all, and should just present the information of the party policies as soon as they are released into public knowledge, instead of trying to influence the votes of their viewers based on their own personal views.
Hopefully, come the election, we shall elect the party that we all consider the best equipped to lead the country, rather than the party preferred by the national media.
Until next time,