During a recent business trip I found myself confronted by the statue of Edmund Burke whose countenance presides over Bristol City with the attribution “I wish to be a Member of Parliament to have my share of doing good and resisting evil.”
Reviewing the history of this man’s 18th century actions I gained some insight into as to why we must strive to take part in democracy.
Online discussions following these columns will break down into one of three statements:
The first reminding us that democracy is broken and we can do nothing to fix it.
The second will re-iterate views that blue rosettes on hatstands or donkeys are the only likely successors for winning votes.
The final will, in desperation, assume to promote a singular party whose pale and outdated reflection of party values would have Edmund Burke in a froth of rage at the twisting of his conservative philosophies.
The usual riposte to those who feel the system is broken is that they should stand and take part. It is a sweeping assumption which fails to listen to the core of their complaint.
The system does have problems. First past the post, the voting system preferred in our elections, will elect candidates who receive less votes than the majority of the electorate who turned out to vote. Cabinets and Party meetings twist the contributions of the electorate by advancing decisions before debates occur.
However not standing does not invalidate the view that there are problems; keeping quiet would be far worse as Mr Burke would agree. I chose to stand at a Parish level because I was able to take part and like Burke I wanted to contribute to ideas for the good.
Many of those reasons are why I will be standing for District in May. As for rosettes and items against which they are pinned there appears to be no reason to let this go unchallenged through inaction.
Horsham voters should not be so quick to dismiss the concerns over the system, nor should they feel apathetic towards the value of their efforts.
When the flyers and posters start arriving through our doors look closely to the ideas they propagate; will they progress good and resist evil; or will they use the rhetoric of ‘values’ by laying blame and encouraging divisiveness.
The question then remains; will good men and women do more than nothing with their vote?