I am not a political animal. I’m not interested in the minutiae of politics or in partisan political views. Like a large number of people, I am sceptical of everything that politicians say and, in general, mistrust their motives. I don’t believe that all politicians are corrupt and/or self-serving but too many of them are in the pockets of others, be they trade unions or hedge funds, to trust them.
I decided to write this post because I am appalled by this general election campaign and the fact that our so-called ‘free press’ are not holding politicians to account. I don’t believe that the views of a great many people like myself are represented either by politicians or by their newspaper lackeys. I have voted in 8 general elections and I can say without any doubt whatsoever that the quality of political debate in the 2015 election is the worst that I have ever seen.
There are lots of things that annoy me about this campaign but here are the top-five:
1. The personal attacks, particularly on Ed Milliband and Nicola Sturgeon. This is simply disgraceful and demeaning to the attackers. I have spent 40 years disagreeing with people yet I have never once felt the need to comment on them personally. It is to the credit of both Labour and the SNP politicians that they have not descended to this level of abuse.
2. The failure of politicians to acknowledge that the points made by their opponents have any merit whatsoever. I can look at the policies of all of the current political parties (except perhaps UKIP) and see things I can agree with. No party has a monopoly on wisdom and politicians would gain much more respect if they acknowledged this and worked together rather than constantly bickering.
3. The obfuscation and spin around policies. There are difficult decisions to be made around economic policies and politicians should acknowledge this, accepting there will be both winners and losers, rather than avoiding questions on spending cuts and taxation and making up policies as they go along. Most voters are thoughtful and it is insulting to suggest that the only thing that affects their voting intentions is how much money they will have in their pockets.
4. The lack of discussion on what seems to me to be a critical issue, which is the place of Britain in Europe. This is by far the most important question that we face in the next few years. I am unashamedly pro-Europe as I believe that larger rather than smaller economic units have more resilience in the face of economic shocks. Undoubtedly, reform of the EU is required but the fact that politicians are not discussing reforms and our place in Europe is appalling.
5. The lack of commitment by the major parties to ensure that our fellow citizens have enough to eat. Food banks are an utter disgrace and a sad reflection that ‘compassionate Conservatism’ has long gone. But other parties cravenly refuse to say outright that they will adopt policies that will stop this abomination.
Disclaimer: I have already voted by post and I voted for the sitting MP in my constituency who is Anne Begg (Labour). She is a full-time MP (no other job) and on the occasions that I have contacted her, she has responded personally, quickly and thoughtfully. I would have voted for her, whatever her party as this is the kind of politician that we need rather than the arrogant and slippery individuals that are all too common.