As the general election approaches we are being urged to vote, often with the pious imprecation that it doesn’t matter who we vote for just so long as we vote, because voting is important. After the election we will be told that we have spoken, meaning will be drawn from the deconstructed lemon cheesecake of the results.
But it’s all a bit of a lie: we live in a clown-car democracy.
Come May the 7th we’ll all leap into the clown-car and try to make it bend to our wishes. Some will try to honk the horn and get water squirted in the face for our troubles, others will wrench the steering wheel to the left or right and discover themselves heading in completely different directions. A bouquet of flowers will spring from the exhaust when someone puts an indicator on. The ringmaster will look cheery throughout.
We’ve all been trained to think that it’s entirely reasonable that a party might get 10% of the votes in the country but only one MP out of 650; that a party with a little over a third of the vote should have absolute power; that our political opponents can be described as “scum”. We’ve all been trained to accept sordid sexual metaphors when grown ups work together despite differences.