WE’VE just been through two of the most hotly-contested elections of recent times, yet the turnout didn’t even hit 50 percent.

This is in spite of politicians telling us again and again that voting is vital for a healthy democracy, and that we should all do it.

There is only one solution to the problem: hand responsibility for organising and publicising elections to me.

The first thing I’d do is make it a crime for any politician to say something like: “Brave people died in wars so you could have your vote.”

Now then, as I’ve never encountered a medium who I believed to be anything other than well-meaning, deluded or a grubby charlatan slaking their thirst on the tears of the desperate, I’m not in a position to tell anybody what went through the minds of those making the ultimate sacrifice.

One thing I daresay they certainly weren’t thinking, though, was something along the lines of: “I lay down my life in the hope that one day my descendants will have the freedom to choose between near-identical gangs of lying, incompetent, expenses-fiddling non-entities with the morals of starving alley cats.”

Nor do I reckon they thought: “How wonderful it will be that even the most sincere and decent would-be politicians will have to align themselves to one of these gangs if they’re to have more than a choc ice in Hell’s chance of winning an election.”

Without naming any parties, these were the choices facing most people who fought their despair at the whole charade for long enough to turn up at a polling station last Thursday: n The party run by rich people who say hurting the rest of us is good for the country, but hurting other rich people is bad for it.

  • The party run by rich people who pretend to be the opposite of the party of rich people, but who mostly went to the same public schools and universities, are members of the same clubs and feel the same innate disgust and fear if they happen to find themselves downwind of anybody making less than 500 grand a year. And who should never attempt to eat ‘ordinary people food’ such as bacon sandwiches in public.
  • The party which claims to be a mediating force between the two parties above, but is clearly willing to sell out any and every principle it lays claim to in exchange for even the faintest whiff of power.
  • The party which says it’s an alternative to all of the other parties, and is for decent, ordinary people. Unfortunately, it’s allowed itself to become so filled with undesirables and weirdoes that its leader resembles nothing so much as a shifty estate agent trying to sell a house with a vermin problem. “Yes, we do have some racists in the cellar and some xenophobic nutcases behind the fireplace. Oh, and the bedrooms will probably have to be treated for homophobia and misogyny, but apart from that...”
  •  The party for racists.
  •  The party full of nice people who care about the environment, and whose upper echelons give the impression of being nice people, too, which is remarkable for a political party. Unfortunately, the upper echelons also give the impression of being middle-class hippies who are completely away with the fairies and couldn’t be trusted to run a bath, let alone a country.
  • Random odd ducks.How to fix this?

Easy – just make it compulsory for everybody to vote on pain of being fined, but add a special box to the bottom of every ballot paper.

This box would be marked: “I do not consider any of these organisations fit to represent me.”

Every time more than 50 percent of the electorate put their X there, the poll would be declared null and void and new candidates selected, all at the expense of the parties.

Three null and voids in a row and all parties would be banned for the next five years from fielding any candidates in the area, leaving the field open for better people.

I think my system would work, but I get the feeling it won’t be adopted any time soon.


Let's just ignore her completely...

YET another non-celebrity has gathered some cheap publicity by insulting Swindon.

I won’t name it because, as any student of demonology knows, saying the names of such creatures gives them power and increases the risk of a manifestation.

And the last thing we want in this case is a manifestation.
Let’s just say that abusing entire communities for no good reason, not to mention habitually adopting an expression like a surprised and unhappy hen peering into an empty bottle, is no way to go through life.

We need to get into the habit of dealing with these people in the proper way – i.e. ignoring them completely and remembering the words of Samuel Johnson: “A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but, one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.”

Oh, and also permanently boycotting any newspaper, magazine, TV channel, radio station, presenter, publisher, product, company or other organisation with which that person is associated.

There are more than 200,000 of us; perhaps certain folk with profits to maintain need to be reminded of the fact.


Let dealers try out legal highs...

THE problem of legal highs has hit the headlines once more, thanks to some very distressing stories about people who’ve taken them and suffered horrific consequences.

There is talk of outlawing them, but the problem with that would be slightly different versions popping up every time one was banned.

Perhaps a better solution would be to say anybody can create or distribute an intoxicating substance, but they’ll do 25 years in the nick unless they first test it on themselves under laboratory conditions while being filmed by officials for public viewing.

Then, if they end up doing nothing more than being a bit happy, enjoying a spot of dancing and having some interesting insights, all will be well.

If, on the other hand, they drop stone dead, swallow their tongue, suffer brain damage or attempt to claw out their own eyeballs, the public will know to avoid the product and nothing of value will be lost.