The country council election last Thursday was a farce.
And it was a well-kept secret. There was a general lack of information on candidates and party proposals. A brief entry in the Observer, with party political generalisation along with a desultory listing of candidates was just fluff. There were no posters, no candidates out amongst the voters on a Saturday morning, no suits with rosettes knocking on the door. No literature through the letter box.
Wondering about this last thing, we phoned a local party office the Tuesday before and were told that the candidate received a stack of flyers and it was his job to distribute them. Midday Tuesday we returned home to find a party brochure shoved through the box. But none of our neighbours got one. That didn’t make us feel special, just patronised.
We asked people we know ranging from Pagham to Elmer, and only one person out of about 100 said they’d received election information. After marking my ballot, I remarked on this at the polling station and got the response: ‘Lots of people have complained about that’. Now I don’t need all candidates singing and tap-dancing their party program on our doorstep, but as a voter I expect candidates at least to identify themselves, their positions on issues, their connection to the area.
Were they hiding away in the bushes out of shame? Or was it that they didn’t respect voters enough, thinking their vote is automatic?
People have fought long and hard for the right to a free and open election, which is the basis of a democracy. And that requires an informed electorate. The way the candidates and parties treated this election is a shameful demonstration of their cynicism. And complacency.
Thinking on this again, I must correct myself. The election wasn’t a farce. A farce is hilarious. This was a travesty.
R and D Pierson