But there’s a growing realisation that behind our sneering view of American-style democracy, something else is at work. There is, at least on the face of it, a healthy optimism about the political process in the US—yes, yes, it may only be skin-deep, and challenged daily by candidates whose interest lies in trading on fear rather than hope (step forward, Messrs. Clinton and Giuliani), but it still makes a refreshing change from the world-weary scepticism with which we [rightly, mind you] greet every utterance from our own politicians in this country.
I couldn't agree more, frankly. But then, perhaps this is something to do with the extreme polarisation of politics in the US? After all, Bush just barely won last time and so you have roughly half the country rooting for change and another half absolutely determined to fight to retain their position. But there is a great groundswell of belief in their parties, as far as I can tell.
And here? Fucking hell, even many of those supporting the Tories are actually libertarians, only voting for the Conservatives because they are the least worst option. And even then, many people will only vote for the Tories in order to remove NuLabour.
This is hardly a political choice designed to inspire hope, is it? In fact, it is a pretty negative position; as Daddy Devil puts it, "I don't really suppport Cameron, but I will vote Tory just to get that bastard Brown out." There's no positivity there.
The vast majority of people that I know are not voting for the Tories: they are voting against Labour. No wonder our political system is so debased and no wonder that we no longer particularly expect the party that we vote for to inspire or even to be much better than what went previously.
Daddy Devil, of course, believes that much of this is down to the EU; he believes that the corrosion of politics, and the low voter turnout, in this country is because almost everyone realises—even subconsciously—that those whom we elect have the power to change almost nothing. I think that he is right.
But if that were true, then one would hope that a credible party with an anti-EU stance would do well; it would send out a message that we do not wish to be ruled by an unaccountable superstate. It is true that UKIP are developing some extremely well-formed policies but will people ever get to hear about them? The Libertarian Party has announced very little at present, although they promise to be extremely radical.
But none of these parties will do anything until the voters of this country take a risk; until the voters of this country actually start to vote for what they believe in, rather than voting against what they detest.
Unfortunately, even in this blogosphere, whilst populated with intelligent people, people are perhaps too intelligent to take a chance or to advocate change. This blogosphere is—as with the majority in public life and their advisors—stuffed with useful idiots: people who espouse voting for a party that you don't believe in because "they are a bit nicer than the other lot and they're the only ones who will get in."
To the useful idiots, I say this: don't be surprised that our politicians are so mediocre when you demand only mediocrity.