This is a piece I wrote a while back [2010], just contemplating democracy and the ‘populist’ coup in Egypt. Who will win the army supporters or the other supporters?

Funnily enough I started work on this piece before scheduling of general elections by the incumbent government in the UK. Due to my general lackadaisical nature and intrinsic laziness, I have been superseded by events and forced to change the tenor of the piece. In addition to this I would like to write it before the Second Coming so my efforts in piecing my disjointed ideas together would not be made completely redundant by the inevitable passage of time.

Even though we mostly profess to hate politics and the motley crew who administer and gain from its practice, we are ultimately fascinated by it and always drawn into an illicit relationship with it by the fact that we the people are increasingly relied upon to legitimise politicians by voting for them. In days gone by (the halcyon glory days before the openness of the media and new media ), politicians relied on manifestoes to gain our votes. But we know they are lying, in fact for a politician to tell the truth is out of character. It is rather like a disreputable and irresponsible young main trying to attract the attentions of a nubile young lady, if he is charismatic and persistent enough, he will eventually succeed in his suit despite the fact that all available evidence points to the fact that he is an unmentionable.

So entered charisma into politics. What this means to politics is that if you can say nothing at all in the most appealing way possible you may most likely win an election. (e.g. Obama, yes we can do what?) JFK and Churchill are two other examples of politician who relied more on “sweet mouth” to get that coveted price.

Now the currency has moved to image, Gordon Browns ability to lose the election rests as much on his leadership ability as on his feeble eye and his extremely unnatural and unfortunate smile. Cameron’s claim to fame is being the slightly non-human and inexplicably youthful looking leader of a party which has a majority of its members on senior citizen benefit. Nothing in human understanding can explain Clegg’s inordinate rise to fame (though I would suggest you investigate any possible visit to transcontinental jazz men.) Nevertheless none of these really affect the ability of a candidate to carry out the job which they enthusiastically and without hesitation or compunction encourage the people to choose them for. Whether or not they are suited for the job does not explain why in the Anglophone West a younger man is more likely to win against an older man in an election – or a job interview for that matter. (Cameron and Clegg’s major advantage against Brown being that they weren’t at school with him, or even born, when Brown was at school.)

Air brushing photos to remove wrinkles and reduce general circumference of candidates have also been introduced. It’s a wonder that one is expected to vote based on the physical fitness of a candidate or his/her good skin. I wouldn’t mind the name of their beautician though.

So what is the point of my ramblings? A vote is a precious thing. (if Hitler had not being democratically elected into the Reichstag think of how many lives would have been saved). This is the essence of a vote, in each voter’s hand lies the fate of the universe, we should refused to be swayed by sweet words or handsome mendacious candidates. If you live in a country where the army would not stop you from voting, or the polling materials be stolen just before the election and materialise fully used (including your own vote for your mortal enemy) at the end of the election, vote and vote wisely. That is a worthwhile chance to make a difference.

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African woman, lawyer, teacher, poet and researcher. Singer of songs, writer of words, very occasional dancer of dances. I seek new ways of interpreting the African experience within our consciousness to challenge static ideology.

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