My cuz Ian just reminded me that in Australia it's compulsory to vote. He went off to vote this morning and was annoyed that the polling station sausage sizzle was no longer free of charge. Such is the ever increasingly neo-liberal world. The death-throes of capitalism are wrecking community and social interaction across the world. A symbollic sausage sizzle indeed as Australia adopts a coalition that will, like the UK coalition, wreck all that makes life bearable for workers and those alienated by ultra capitalism.
I used to think compulsory voting was a good idea. But when the choice is narrowed to blue ,red and yellow tories, and the media skewed to supporting which one of them is the most vicious, I've changed my mind.
Compulsory voting only works with an educated electorate- an electorate who understands the issues fully - and who understand exactly what politicians stand for, beyond their curtain covered words. And an electorate not reliant on state propaganda and billionaire owned newspapers and Murdoch media outlets.
This weeks Scottish Independence debate between Anas Sarwar and Nicola Sturgeon on STV really showed up the vested interests here. The pundits and media commentators who apparently watched the same debate as me, certainly didn't report the one I saw.
Now, reading this knowing my view on independence you might well say, "you are hardly neutral." I'm not neutral - neutrality can only fully be achieved in this instance by someone who has no view on independence and in fact, no view on UK politics including the various political parties.
I have a view on independence and a view on the political parties. My political view on the SNP and the Labour Party is- tacit support for fair policies. It's a pity the Ponsonby's and "political pundits" and "neutral journalists and commentators/information interfaces" are not forced to declare their's before being allowed to influence public opinion. Because influence it they do in the absence of politicians who choose not to, or are forced not to, speak the truth because of our media lense that has been skewed by rich and powerful vested interests.
So, I started (late) watching the Sturgeon/Sarwar bust up as a Scottish Socialist Party supporter and a supporter of independence as a vehicle towards a fair Scotland and a fairer, less belligerent and invasion prone rUK.
I was also interested in how both of these parties, come 2014/15/16 proposed to protect working people, disabled, job-seekers, the old, parents, those born into poverty and those seeking a new life in our country.
I won't bore you with a blow by blow account (click on the link above to watch it). Sarwar's dreadful, bullying tactic of constantly talking over Sturgeon did not make comfortable TV. If he represents today's Glasgow Labour Party, it makes me very sad. The party I was once overjoyed to be able to vote for when I first moved from Northern Ireland to Scotland back in the early nineties, are hardly even a shadow of their former selves. The destruction of Labour Party internal democracy - most lately by further breaking their union ties- has led to Sarwar (a millionaires son and 'hereditory politician') and Lamont in Scotland.
Sturgeon, although clearly unhappy about the corporation tax view from the right of the SNP -a party coalition for independence, answered questions about social justice. She clearly stated her party's belief in the gains of free prescriptions, a free NHS and other pro- working class gains. Sarwar, unable to move from his dreadful script, rang prevaricating alarm bells over just what a future Labour Government would be. Tory Lite.
I was heartened to hear a work colleague (my work colleagues steer clear of politics to the point of open hostility towards me if I mention it!), who had been until now saying she was 'undecided' over yes or no to independence, say, "if there was anyone watching that who had been a no voter at the start, there isn't now!"
Perhaps people are beginning to see through the punditry and bias. We can hope- or we can demand openness from our media.