The writing was on the wall (and in my previous blog posts). The result isn’t surprising at all to me and no, it isn’t only because a % of the population have been bought.
I believe there were many factors at play here and that they were apparent for all to see. Of course, for me, they weren’t enough because, as I wrote previously, good governance is the sine qua non of any democracy and for me, this is what was at stake here.
But clearly, this wasn’t the case for all voters. So let’s dissect the possible reasons behind voters choosing to vote Labour, in no particular order:
- They didn’t believe corruption was really around.
Yup, I saw so many posts doing the rounds about the fact that there is nothing untoward about two ministers (ok 1 actual minister and 1 chief-of-staff) and, possibly, a prime minister’s wife having secret accounts in Panama, after all, they had no money in the account, no?… or something to that effect and more. And these were genuine posts, people who truly believed this, which brings me to the next point.
- We are living in the age of spin.
This is the glorious age of spin, where Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Donald Trump, totally invents a massacre and when questioned on it refers to is as an ‘alternative fact’. We even have a name for this – post-truth. Yes, that which postmodernity warned about so many decades ago has actually come true. Nothing is real and everything is real. We are unable to discern which is which. A reputable media house is no longer looked at as an authentic source of news. The post I put up on Facebook, Twitter or the latest kid on the block is just as valid, just as true. How is an electorate which has never been encouraged to think critically supposed to be able to truly sift between that which is and that which isn’t?
- They were bought (with a job, promotion etc).
Yes, there probably were a significant number of people who were (although what people actually do in that voting booth, only they know). But let’s be real here, every single administration has done this. Although, of course, one can debate on the scale of one versus the other, (and ultimately, of course, it’s wrong no matter who does it and by how much), there’s no one holy enough to point fingers and the electorate knows this.
- The Nationalist party had its own significant baggage.
This is a biggie. A party which governed for close to 25 years uninterrupted, which had scandals of its own to handle, which suffered a tremendous defeat just 4 years ago. Certainly, 4 years is a VERY short time to convince the electorate that it has changed, especially when a sudden election is called, one year early. Couple this with the style of the new leader who opts for a softer approach, a style which has so far, I believe, been untested locally.
- They felt that the Labour party had delivered.
And here, on certain aspects, the electorate are right of course, especially when it comes to civil rights.
Of course, if like me, you believed that corruption was actually present at the highest levels, none of the above 4 points (excluding the first) really matter because at the end of the day, without good governance one has nothing.
But back to the electorate then. How can I be disappointed in them (not the result) when all these factors (and I’m sure others I’m not considering) came into play?
No, it’s not with the electorate that one should be mad. As I said previously, it’s with a system that has allowed us to get to this stage (and I’m talking worldwide here). In an age which sees Trump elected in the USA and Britain voting out of the EU, nothing surprises me anymore.
Too long have we idealised capitalism for all the wealth it brings us, for the seemingly comfortable existence it allows us to lead.
We fail to realise that this is a hollow existence, where values are consistently eroded, where the weak are preyed upon as the rich get more and more powerful. Where half the world lives in abject poverty while we revel in the latest ‘cheap’ pair of jeans we bought.
How right Baudrillard was all those years ago when he said our temples would become shopping malls. Yes, they have. To the detriment of humanity.
So no, I’m not disappointed with the electorate, but I’m mighty mad with the world.