the Disillusioned kid: Voted into the house
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Monday, June 12, 2006

Voted into the house

Obviously, I'd never vote Tory, but there's something amusing about their increasingly desperate attempts to convince us that they're not bastards. Honest. This week's Cuddly Friendly Tory initiative of the moment is their announcement that their candidate for the Mayor of London in 2008 will be selected by "the people of London."

Quoth David Cameron, "Every Londoner who supports our Party" - that is to say the handful of them who are party members - "will have a chance to become the Conservative candidate. Headhunters will be used to encourage potential candidates to apply. And, later in the year, we will be holding a series of public meetings across the capital so that Londoners can quiz potential candidates face to face."

All sounds very democratic, doesn't it? A genuine attempt to connect with real people. That's certainly the line being pushed by lovable, huggable Dave: "Too many people are fed up and disillusioned with politics. I hope that doing things differently will fire the public's imagination and get them talking and thinking about politics again. Somewhere in London, there's a Mayor in the making. If its you, please consider applying today."

It wasn't till I noticed the final selection method (something the Grauniad remains blissfully unaware of) that I really twigged what was going on. After the hustings and all that jazz - which will doubtless be accompanied by a full-blown propaganda assault - "every Londoner will be able to vote by phone or text on who should be the Conservative candidate for the capital's top job." Which sounds suspiciously like Big Brother.

This is simply the latest implementation of the logic which saw Gorgeous George Galloway making even more of an arse of himself than usual by going into the Big Brother house earlier this year. Politicians, abandoned by a public who increasingly see them as irrelevant, out of touch nobodies, have wet dreams about voting numbers which mirror those for major housemate evictions. As such, it shouldn't be surprising that we're seeing an increasing synergy between the two.

Frankly, however, I doubt whether press-friendly spectacles (which in any case are likely to be manipulated from behind the scenes) are likely to do much to solve the burdgeoning disillusionment with electoral politics. I don't believe people are as stupid as our leaders seem to think. They've noticed that the whole game's a sham from which the real issues are excluded or pushed aside. In any case, would you want Jade running London?
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