The Ballot is Stronger than the Bullet

So, we can’t shoot our politicians.  Shame.  I know many people who, like me, are wondering who they’ll vote for in this year’s election.  As teachers, you could well expect that I and many of my colleagues would rather poke ourselves in the eye with a sharp stick than vote Tory and you’d be right.  But who else to vote for?  They all seem to have lost so much credibility over the last couple of years and more, so what’s the solution?

Mark Thomas may have the answer.  I love Mark Thomas.  Comedian, activist, politically astute. Funny as hell.

Last year, he toured the country asking his audiences to submit policies for his manifesto: “The People’s Manifesto“.  Our group of eight sumbitted two.  One of them made it through to the final vote that night and narrowly missed out on being the Nottingham submission.  The manifesto had some very funny policies, but a lot of them were things I would give serious consideration to.  Things that would make Daily Mail readers swallow their own tongue.  One of the policies which I think would get the most support is:

MPs’ expenses should be printed in the local paper every two weeks and constituents get to vote on whether they are accepted or not.

There were several that dealt with the financial affairs of our MPs.  This one is perfect …

MPs should not be paid wages but loans, like students, because they get highly paid jobs when they graduate from Westminster as a result of attending Parliament.  They should therefore pay back the loan they received while in office.

Others were possibly more controversial…

Models should be chosen at random from the electoral roll

And some just made so much sense, you have to wonder why they’re not already law.  For instance, can you imagine the UK with a government who actually did what they promised to do; a government who made promises when they wanted to be elected and then actually followed up on them when they had been elected?  The People’s Manifesto can ….

Party manifestos should be legally binding.

Anyway, The People’s Manifesto has now been published, and Mark and the publishing company have got together and decided to back someone as an independent candidate in the election, provided they use the People’s Manifesto as their platform.

Ever fancied being a politican?  Think (know?) you could do a better job than the bunch of liars, wasters and wastrels we currently have? (My MP is Geoff Hoon, so I know my answer would be yes on all counts here).  Mark Thomas is asking for applications for this – he will choose one person to stand and will back them, including campaigning in the constituency.  Because most independent candidates end up losing their deposit, the publishing company will pay the deposit for the chosen candidate, and will contribute £500 of campaign funds.

Of course, just because they’re only backing one person doesn’t stop a whole bunch of people standing in other areas, all using the People’s Manifesto as their platform.  Just imgaine it, MPs voted by the people, standing for policies created by the people.

So, what’s stopping you?

I thought I’d just leave you with one more:

The Daily Mail should be forced to print on the front page of every edition the words: “This is a fictionalised account of the news and any resemblance to the truth is entirely coincidental.”

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