X marks, uh, I’m not sure what

06May10

I know I’m cutting it a bit fine, but can anyone explain our political system to me? I know who I’m going to vote for, and I know why, but I’m not sure that I’ve got the hang of what’s actually going on.

Tell you who I’m not going to vote for, and that’s David Cameron, Gordon Brown or Nick Clegg. Not because I think those BNP boys make some good points (it’s hard to imagine that even they think they’re electable – not if they go around plotting to murder each other) but because I actually can’t vote for Nick, Gordy or Dave as I don’t live in their constituencies.

And this is the nub of it: are we supposed to be electing a person or a party? Do we vote locally or nationally? I’ve always thought that our parliamentary system means that you vote for the person you think will make the best representative for your district. I mean, I do take into account their political leanings and their policies of course, but if the party of my choice ponied up some ne’er-do-well with a shifty air and some unexplained income, I’d cast my vote for someone else. Now it seems like we’re meant to be voting for the party leader, an impression heavily reinforced by the party leader debates (and the reason why I was against the idea).

If the system changes and we bring in proportional representation, then yes, you should vote for the party whose leader you most like. But for now, I’m going to go with the guy who really gets stuck into local issues and represents us on the national stage. Go Sadiq!

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