I wonder just how many of us would choose to vote for a political party, or an individual representative who bravely stood up at a public meeting and freely admitted that they were going to lie to their electorate, were going to deliberately misrepresent their electors views, spend their voter's money irresponsibly, were likely to spend more of their time on paid directorships than on public service, or were likely to claim more in expenses than some of their individual electors earn from a full-time working salary?
How about voting for a prospective candidate who would willingly admit to being told what to do by his bosses, even if that meant acting against the public good, or at the expense of the public purse? How about choosing a political candidate whose more than happy to spend your hard earned money on foreign singing groups, than on the elderly or the disabled in the UK? Would you vote for an electoral candidate who is more than happy to hand over control of our industrial capacity, our transport networks, our energy provision, our agricultural sector, our fishing grounds, our national borders or our diplomatic services to a foreign government?
The chances are that should a prospective political candidate of any description freely admit to any of these things electoral promises, then in all likelihood they wouldn't be chosen to represent any given parliamentary constituency, yet increasingly it seems this is exactly what's happening with our elected representatives. Electioneering by all parties has become much more about what candidates don't say, as opposed to what they do tell the electorate, making pre-election promises essentially worthless, to any of us who remain naive enough to believe a word that our political classes tell us prior to any public vote.
The fact that so many councillors, prospective parliamentary candidates and sitting members of parliament choose to treat their electorates with such utter contempt, should be a worrying development for any voter, but most especially for the 50, 60 or occasionally 70% of the electorate who choose to exercise their right to select a representative. Were a banker, a shopkeeper, a businessman, a doctor, or even a travel operator to mislead us in such a obvious and contemptible fashion, then we would have recourse to the law, or to some form of regulatory body, yet with our publicly elected representatives, no form of redress is readily available to the individual voter, or even to a larger body of disillusioned constituents.
Either by accident or by design we have somehow managed to create a "cheats chamber" at the heart of our democracy, an inequitable and seemingly unimpeachable forum, consisting of the great and the good, as well as the dire and the dishonourable.
It is perhaps no surprise then that increasingly the British voter want to play no part in the representative facade that our parliamentary system is fast becoming, if only because they have little if any real part to play in the entire political process. Come election time, the best they can hope for from their party candidates are half-truths, lies and misrepresentations, rather than the well thought out logic of argument and counter argument, viewpoint and its counter view, reason and debate. How much easier it is to simply tow the party line, to offer pointless political slogans without any real substance, to attack your opponent without offering credible solutions.
The sheer mendaciousness of our political leaders has been well illustrated on an almost endless basis by the likes of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, with their individual acts and promises on a variety of high profile issues, from EU referenda to banking reforms, from student fees to gay marriage, from EU renegotiations to reform of the NHS, from environmental policies to controlling mass immigration, the list of ill conceived, never intended and occasionally secretive electoral strategies just goes on and on. And of course, to add to the intrinsic worthlessness of our elected representatives we enjoyed the public debacle of the MP's expenses scandal, with their duck houses, their moats, their naughty films, their flipping houses, their travelling costs, their family members being paid from the public purse; and the rest of the private arrangements that seemed to go on ad infinitum. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive!" Clearly, that little ditty could have been written specially for some of our "honourable" members!
As if to further underpin the actual disdain that some of our leaders have for the public at large, we have a British Prime Minister, supported by the majority of his parliamentary party, along with most of their junior Liberal Democratic colleagues, sending a delegation to Europe, ostensibly to renegotiate our terms of membership, in preparation for the much publicised EU referendum in 2017. Now, where one would expect that this negotiating team might have included those with a more sceptical view of the EU project; and who would therefore have demanded the most onerous of terms from the EU, in order to ensure our continued participation in the European club, it seems that Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg have instead chosen a negotiating team, which is almost guaranteed to get as little as possible from their European counterparts. Given that that is the case one can only conclude therefore that neither Mr Cameron, nor Mr Clegg are genuinely interested in renegotiating our membership of the EU; and instead are content to give the British public "the finger", when it comes to the whole question of Europe and our place within it.
True to form though, Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg and no doubt that other intellectual star of the Commons, Mr Miliband, will all agree that whatever deal is reached with Europe, is and was the best for all concerned, regardless of the people's view to the contrary. With a considerable war chest to finance a pre-determined "yes" vote in any future European referendum, be that in 2017 or later, once again the British people can fully expect to be treated to the same sort of lies, propaganda and misrepresentation that have become almost commonplace within modern political debate.
The reality is of course that the people who are ultimately responsible for the government of our country; and therefore the likes of David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne, Ian Duncan Smith, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and their parliamentary colleagues, including the cheats, the thieves, the liars, the misguided, the misinformed, etc. are us, the British electorate. We're the forty-odd million people who put them in charge of our laws, our taxes, our foreign relations, our benefit systems, our health service, our schools and colleges, our Armed Forces; and all of the other departments that run our country on a day to day basis. Even those who wilfully choose not to cast their votes during elections are responsible, because their choice to deliberately abstain from the voting process can directly affect the outcome of individual constituencies, preventing the better qualified candidate from winning; and allowing the possibly less able party placeman or woman to succeed. At the end of the day we get who we vote for; and it is beholding on us as an informed electorate to see behind the spin, the lies, the propaganda and the misrepresentation that candidates offer us on the doorstep, or in their professional looking manifesto leaflets. One would like to imagine that the average British voter is becoming much more adept at spotting the liars, the cheats, the charlatans and the party placemen and women who have little to offer the country except their own personal vanity and greed, but no doubt we'll just have to wait and see if that happens in the European elections of 2014 and the General Election in 2015. Here's hoping anyway!