- The problem with political jokes is they get elected - Henry Cate VII
Yesterday in the UK citizens came out in their millions to celebrate National Bastards Day. The people have voted the bastards ... in and voted the bastards out.
The Cosmic Law of Cause and Effect comes into play during elections: "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". A zero sum game where for each bastard voted out there is a bastard voted in. There is no getting away from it. The public simply can’t win.
There are some people who believe that voting for bastards should be made obligatory. They could then even pretend that we like them, that we voted for them because we think they are fine upstanding people capable of doing a good job, might even have some use value outside of providing targets at which rotten eggs and tomatoes can be hurled. They will of course conceal the fact that the real motivation for going to the polls in such circumstances is the threat of jail or a fine if we don’t vote for one bastard rather than another. The only useful thing that might be said for compulsory voting is that it means we can vote against so many bastards in the course of voting for others. Nevertheless, no country should have the phenomenon of compulsion disguised as choice forced upon it.
The election might have been sold by each of the various parties as being about Conservatism, Liberalism, Labourism, Nationalism, Unionism or whateverism. To the extent that any of the isms divided them the great unifier was Bastardism. Ultimately the only real message being transmitted by each of them and spun as something entirely different by all of them was our bastard is a better bastard than your bastard. Even that was a lie as none of them are better or worse than the others. Bastards all.
In opposition they are so full of promise as they strive with demonic energy to swindle you out of your vote. Once bagged they simply can't resist hitting you with the Pat Rabbitte punch to the bragging cackle of yaboo yaboo sucks to you. Nick Clegg apologised for it and as surely lied that he wouldn’t do it again:
There is no easy way to say this: we made a pledge. We didn't stick to it – and for that I am sorry. When you've made a mistake you should apologise. But more importantly – most important of all – you've got to learn from your mistakes. And that's what we will do. I will never again make a pledge unless as a party we are absolutely clear about how we can keep it.
What did he take people for? Louis Heren in a comment often attributed to Jeremy Paxman, sums up Clegg brilliantly: “Why is this lying bastard lying to me?"
Voting in referenda is the only vote I am casting from now on in. That way we can vote something bad out and vote something good in. One thing is for sure: it is the only way to be sure that you are not voting for a bastard.