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Monday, June 22, 2009


The last few weeks have been historic for many reasons. In the UK, our main political parties have disgraced themselves so much that they may well have sown the seeds of their own destruction. Indeed, Labour and the rubbish that is Gordon Brown may well be dying before our eyes and it may yet be that Labour will collapse as an electoral force in much the same way that the Liberals did in 1921 when dissatisfaction, with their handling of the First World War, the suffragettes and Irish Home Rule, all combined to convince the electorate that the once great Liberal party was a weak and spent force. Indeed, in the general election of 1922 the Liberal vote totally collapsed allowing the Labour Party to become the main opposition to the Conservatives for the first time. The Liberal Party never recovered...

This would be exciting if the Conservative or Liberal parties offered an exciting alternative, unfortunately they don’t, in fact, many of the expenses-fiddling MPs belong to the Conservative Party anyway and, more importantly, neither the Tories or the Liberals have anything new to say. The reality is that our three once great political parties and those that join them and represent them at Westminster are tired, bereft of ideas, indolent and corrupt. Theirs is the politics of the sound bite and the vacuous, of the craven preaching to craving, whose political agenda is that of the prostitute who ‘will be whatever you want me to be’ and whose ‘passionate beliefs’ are rehearsed and acted out before us with all the conviction of a poor man’s Hamlet performed by the local amateur dramatic society.

Anyone who watched Gordon Brown’s ludicrous ramblings last week as he sought to galvanise Labour Party members would have seen right through Brown’s vainglorious displays of ‘passion’ as he listed his intention, at a time when the country is collapsing under the burden of State debt, of spending yet more money we don’t have eliminating child poverty, youth unemployment, third world hunger and, if I remember correctly, curing AIDS in Africa. Each tear-jerker policy accompanied by Brown’s now familiar punching of his fist into the palm of his other hand, while with his one good eye he stares wildly around like some myopic cyclops buoyed up on crack-cocaine and his own rhetoric. No wonder that the latest reports have him planning to slink out of office some time soon so avoiding the double whammy of a decimated Labour vote and an economy reduced to the level of basket case Zimbabwe. It's no surprise that Gordon Brown is suddenly so keen on giving money to Africa as the only countries likely to take in a buffoon like Brown once he decides to flee the UK as his financial chickens come home to roost will be the the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia or Zimbabwe, though I suspect that even Robert Mugabe may think twice before letting Brown get at his coffers.

So it was moving and wonderful to see the brave and truly passionate men and women of Iran braving that regime's religious zealots and Revolutionary Guards to march through Tehran’s streets demanding that their votes count. We forget in the UK when we take our democracy for granted that, in other countries, the right to vote is often a fragile right and that people, as in Iraq and Iran, brave life and limb literally just to put their precious ‘X’ next to their candidate of choice.

I remember the collapse of the Shah’s regime in 1979 and watched the Iranian Revolution unfold as an impotent West and in particular an impotent and useless US administration led by Jimmy Carter, floundered and vacillated as disaster followed disaster and the seeds of Islamic fundamentalism were sown. So it would be genuinely exciting if the people of Iran were able to topple and overthrow what is currently one of the most destabilizing and dangerous states in the world. It is also worth remembering that the pre-revolutionary Iran was one of the most pro West Muslim countries in the Arab world and one of the most modern and forward looking despite the Shah’s excesses and abuses of power and its people deserve a lot better than being led by a second rate Holocaust denier with a death wish who wants to lob nuclear bombs around.

It's a shame then that, while some of those most deserving of democracy fight and die for their right to choose their political leaders and style of government that, in the UK, we seem to have chosen the ‘am I bovvered?’ path to political oblivion. It's ironic too that we have democracy but are represented by politicians and political parties that are so ghastly that we can no longer be bothered to vote while those who can’t vote but want to are currently represented by some of the bravest people alive, themselves.

Perhaps when the UK’s political system collapses or when our increasingly invasive police state finally crosses the line and takes control because our politicians are so crap that they can no longer do their job then people may realise what we had. Though I doubt it, for now our democracy is about the freedom to watch Jade Goody die, or read Katie Price’s thoughts on sex or fly to our second home in Malaga or whatever. Where is my Vote? is the cry on the streets of Tehran ours may well be Vote - Why should I?

We may soon have the answer.

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