After last week's London Mayoral Elections our editor ponders over whether democracy, as a form of government, is flawed.
Last week's London Mayoral election results came as something of a shock to me, I have to confess. It was obvious that Labour would do badly in the council elections across the country I myself voted Green, though Labour wasn't in power where I am so it wasn't necessarily a vote against Labour but when it came to Mayor of London I was confident the people of London would make the right choice and stick with Ken. If I still lived in London he'd have got my vote. It is a great shame that I don't still life in London and none of my team do either though but at some point we all have lived in the capital. I still go down on a regular basis to see friends, family, do some shopping or just to wander around the streets of the capital visit the various attractions. Eventually I'd love to move back there but now Boris is in charge I'm having second thoughts.
I'm likening Boris' win to George Bush's second election win in America and there was a fabulous headline over here at the time: How can 59 million people be so THICK?. I can't remember which paper ran that headline but it just summed up the feeling so well. We couldn't fathom why Americans would vote for Bush and I can't fathom why Londoners would seriously vote for Boris. Both Bush and Boris are prone to making gaffes and Boris has an alarming habit of offending people how long before he insults someone important? After all there was a huge diplomatic row, and outcry, over Jade Goody's antics in Celeb Big Brother but imagine how much worse things could be if Boris insulted someone important; a forgein delegate, an ambassador, a visiting stateperson or a mayor of another city such as Berlin or Paris. How bad could the diplomatic row, and fallout, be then? And it's not as if such an event would completely shock everyone as Boris has a habit of offending people just ask Liverpool. So Londoners know what Boris is like and Americans knew what Bush was like and to make matters worse both have been blasted for being puppets' also both have some rather alarming views. Boris, for example, managed to upset a lot of people when Civil Partnerships were introduced as he made some remark likening them to marrying an animal or something of the sort. Is this the man you want running London? A man who seemingly doesn't think gay/lesbian couples should be able to show their commitment to each other in a civil ceremony? And that's just one example of a Boris insult there are plenty more and plenty to come I should imagine. So why did Boris win because, in my eyes, he was not the best candidate for the job.
Ken Livingstone made a lot of difficult and unpopular decisions but he made them, he didn't hesitate, he didn't hold back, and they were the right decisions. The Congestion Charge, although unpopular and controversial, is actually the right thing for London. Ordinary commuters have no real need to travel into the centre of London via their cars. London has an excellent public transport system and it's quite cheap too despite what Londoners think. If they think the public transport system isn't bloody good, or relatively cheap, they should try moving outside London and experience the service the rest of us have to put up with! Expensive, dirty buses that NEVER run on time and are always over crowded. And each year prices on these said buses go up but there's no improvement in service. Having lived in London, and still visit quite regularly, the transport system there is quite, quite different. While there may be delays on the Underground come on folks, it's to be expected! - the transport system is nearly always of a good standard. And while more trains on the Underground are needed they are on their way. So ordinary and note there I used ordinary commuters need not drive into the centre of London. So the Congestion Charge should only be affecting businesses and that, I'm afraid, is that. Pollution needs dealing with and we need less traffic on the roads. Would Boris have brought in the charge? Probably not. He might even try to scrap it but that would be a mistake. So the unpopular decisions Ken has made haven't helped him but a leader isn't there to just make popular decisions, he is there to lead and do what is right even if it hurts a little. Even if it means he will be unpopular. And Ken led London, made decisions and has been far more decisive than Gordon Brown and a far stronger leader.
Which brings my neatly onto why Ken really lost in London Gordon Brown. The Prime Ministers poor standing in the polls and the on-going debate/argument over the 10p tax rate was the reason why Ken lost in London and so many other Labour candidates lost throughout the country. People are angry, very angry, about plans to scrap the 10p tax rate and it really is shocking that a Labour government should wish to scrap it. People feel betrayed by the Government, and with costs rising across the board, feel that they are being taxed left, right and centre. Rising mortgage costs, fuel costs, food costs and the uncertainty in the economy have all gone against the Government who are seen to be idly standing by and doing nothing. The people of this country want action from the Government, they want them to do something about rising costs but they aren't. So Thursdays voting across the country was a protest vote against Labour and London protested against Labour, Brown and the tough decisions that Ken made.
Sadly democracy works on the principle that people use their vote responsibly and don't throw them away or waste them. Democracy works on the principle that you vote the candidate you believe will do the best job and is most suited for the role/job/position. Now ask most of those who voted for Boris whether they truly believe he is best suited for London Mayor and I don't think they'll say yes. But they voted for him in a protest against everything that was going on. Because rags like the Daily Mail ran articles on How to get rid of Ken at all costs - hardly urging responsible voting. But we are in an age where voting is taken for granted and those who do actually vote rarely vote responsibly. They make their vote out of ill-informed views based on half baked rubbish they read in the papers who hardly ever report the true story or the whole story. People no longer know the true state of the country, or affairs, because the papers distort things so much to suit their own narrow-minded, twisted and dam-right malicious views of the world. People rant on about subjects, in papers letters areas, that they clearly know little about but have just read in the papers. It's a worrying development for a democracy to have so many voters that don't actually vote and those who do are mostly those with corrupted view=points. So this, ladies and gentlemen, is why democracy is now flawd in this country. People aren't voting responsibly, if at all, and are believing the rubbish printed in the papers leading to ill-informed opinions and inaccurate information about things. But is there really any type of government that isn't flawd? Any government than can truly stand up and say it doesn't have flaws? No. But last week's Mayoral elections shows a worrying trend in this country to vote for the wrong candidates for the job. What happens at the next General Election? Will the best candidate truly win or will the wrong one win because people are protesting voting? Just as, I believe, Londoners will soon come to regret voting Boris in a few years time we, as a country, may regret voting for the wrong candidate at the next general election. Britain, you have been warned.
Written by Doug Lambert
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