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The Voting Season - A Pox on all your Parties

By rOSS HIMONa
rhimona@maori.net.nz

(First Published at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/rhimona/puta_033.htm

The Voting Season- A Pox on all your Parties

The other day, I was idly contemplating the Wellington Central electorate, where National has withdrawn to allow ACT's Richard Prebble a better run at himself, and the Alliance has withdrawn to allow Labour's Marion Hobbs a better run at himself too (Prebble that is).

And I thought to myself, I mostly think to myself you know, why don't I have a lash, make a run through the middle, and sneak through, in front of both of them. "A Pox on all your Parties" would make a great campaign slogan, sure to fire the imagination of Centralian Wellingtonians.

Now I know e hoa ma, that this story has rapidly progressed from idle contemplation into the realms of fantasy, but it's a great fantasy.

What I really need is for someone to fire my imagination, to make this voting thing interesting or important; exciting even. It's so boring, isn't it.

I haven't a clue who I'm going to vote for. I never do. Some would label me a swinging voter, but I don't swing, I dither, wondering whether I should vote at all. I always do. And I leave it to the spiritual powers to send me divine inspiration, and I wait until I get into the little cardboard polling booth right at the last moment before I finally realise that the spiritual powers ain't all that interested either. And I have to make up my own mind.

You see, it's not easy for those of us who don't align ourselves with any party, don't pay our party dues and check our brains at the door, don't become voting fodder regardless of the fools the Party dishes up for us to vote for, don't surrender intellect to ideology, or to dreams of hob-nobbing in the company of the pseudo-powerful.

We have to think about who to vote for, and therein lies the problem. This voting stuff is not the thinking man's stuff. This voting stuff, like politics, is all about perceptions, e hoa ma, nothing at all to do with substance.

"The greater majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they are realities, and are often even more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." - Niccolo Machiavelli

(The truth about my attitude to political parties is that I've never found a party that would put up with me for more than two weeks, so I've never joined one. I'd have to start my own party if I wanted to join a party, wouldn't I).

Anyway I still set out to try to think my way through this decision.

So, when I get into the booth, I go through this little set of rules I have, to see if that makes it easier.

Rule Number 1. Vote against the sitting MP on the grounds that as soon as they get into that place they become increasingly arrogant, obnoxious, self righteous, self promoting pitiful prats; and they deserve to be tossed out. Leave them there too long and they expect to be treated like somebodies, instead of the nobodies most of them are (see, I said "most" just in case I do make that run through the middle). This rule is a bit flexible, just in case.

Rule Number 2. Work out who I can't or simply won't vote for. This bit's easy but it mostly leaves no-one at all to vote for, especially in my electorate, Te Tai Tonga, or even in Wellington Central if I did vote there. E hika ma, especially in Wellington Central because there's almost no-one left to vote for anyway.

Rule Number 3. This is the clincher. Don't vote for a politician, it only encourages them.

Rule Number 4. Try again. Go back to Rule Number 1.

That's just the electorate vote. Now we get to the party vote. It's nowhere near as straightforward as the electorate vote.

Rule Number 1. Vote tactically. How can I cast my party vote in a way that will do the most damage to the most political parties.

Rule Number 2. Of all the leaders in the running to be PM who would annoy me the least.

Rule Number 3. Look for somewhere on the form to vote for the abolition of all political parties. If there were no parties, would we only have 60-something MPs in the House? Fantasy again! Keep your mind on the job.

Rule Number 3. That's it. Don't vote for a political party, it only encourages them. This is the "pox on all your parties" rule.

Rule Number 4. Try again. Go back to Rule Number 1.

Rule Number 5 is the one that always wins out. Rule Number 5 says, "Hurry up, just vote for someone, anyone, and get out of here. Get a life".

True, e hoa ma. That's how it goes for me. How goes it for you? Does the Earth move for you? Or is your vote guided, like mine, by divine desperation? Have a happy election day.

(c) By rOSS HIMONa 1999

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