A great moment is approaching. Having become a citizen in January, I am finally eligible to vote. On Thursday, there will be a General Election.
I remember my first-ever vote in 1984. I listened carefully to the candidates, as I sought out their positions on the issues that were important to me. I made my choice, and my candidate suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of American Presidential elections.
These days, it seems that the only way to make a choice is to decide what one likes the least. There aren't really any policies - despite each party telling us that they are the party for change - it is all spin. Matthew Parris wrote about this in the Times yesterday:
"Change is the last thing the British people want. They want things to carry on as they are. They are losing confidence in their politics to arrange it. That’s why they’re angry. Do you imagine change is what the Greek mob want? No, it’s change they fear.
We are in the same condition as the benighted Greeks, but not so far down the primrose path: dimly aware of the truth, scared of the truth, angry with the truth, and howling for the head of any politician who threatens to admit the truth.
The truth is simple: we’re living beyond our means. The change — if change were what we were really prepared to embrace — is simple: we will have to live within our means."
The Times 1.5.10
As he says, hard times are coming. Whoever gets the poisoned chalice will try their best, and make a lot of people very angry. So how am I supposed to choose? Thanks to the recent adoption of American-style debates, presentation and performance have suddenly become career-changing elements for our party leaders. So do I go for the guy who sweated the least? The one who had the nicest tie? Do I eliminate the one who stood there with his hand in his pocket?
I'll get back to you :-)