Monday, 1 June 2009

Word Of The Day: Kakistocracy

So. European elections this week. It's a rare occasion for me, because for once I feel as though my vote will actually mean something - I get the chance to support one of the very few politicians I have a modicum of respect for (Caroline Lucas) while also helping to keep the BNP away from power (if you still need any persuasion on the need for this, go read this blog post by Merrick).

Sadly, I feel somewhat less enthused by the prospect of a General Election. My thoughts on the subject seem, once again, to have taken the form of a poem - as usual, it probably works better performed out loud rather than written down, but here it is anyway, for what it's worth:

Election Day

It doesn’t feel like a choice.
Please tell me how I’m “empowered”, how I’m “using my voice”,
As the Labour party stumbles through its awkward closing dance,
And we all await the chance
To watch the next load of gloating, scapegoating, moat-owning stoats
Being shovelled into government
By default and by accident
By a public with plenty of spleen to vent
Giving Westminster rinsers a kick in the ballots
With a vote for Esther Rantzen, Terry Waite or Timmy Mallett
While secretly hoping that someone – the workers?
Joanna Lumley at the head of an army of Ghurkas?
Will sweep in and save us from Babyfaced Dave.
They say we’re sleepwalking into a Tory government -
I’m shouting and screaming all the way.

But hey
Maybe between now and May
we’ll get a sudden storm of electoral reform
so the whole thing’s no longer decided
by a few thousand voters residing
in a handful of sweet little swing seats
And maybe the media
will stop feeding us
the same old race
between one horse and
pretty much the same horse with a different face
and start giving alternative opinions some space?
Probably best not to hold your breath unless asphyxiating to death seems easier to handle than seeing the Tories bathed in glory
(which would be understandable).
How did it come to this?
Is this what generations were arrested and tried for, fought and died for?
The right to swap one sorry crop of planet-plundering, war-mongering, wealth-concentrating bastards for another lot who’ll do the same only harder?

But enough whining. I’m here to register my vote.

Here it is:

I vote for justice and peace.
I vote for not being beaten up by the police
I vote against oil, and warfare, and pride
And humanity’s slide into mass suicide
I vote for the seasons
I vote for the sky
And the thoughts in his head
And the glint in her eye
And all of the things they’re not offering us.
Our dreams are too big for their ballot boxes
For once-every-five-years pencilled-in crosses
Where do I write in the world that I want?

So I’ll vote with my body, my hands and my words
With all that I do and all that I say
I won’t vote when I’m told
I’ll vote every day
I’ll vote by getting in the way
Of all their awful plans and schemes
With a banner, or a spanner, or a tape of M.C. Hammer
And a tone-deaf karaoke team.
I’ll be the grit in their pistons
The glitch in their systems
The lump of toast in their machine
Every word and every deed
A quantum of democracy:
A little vote.

Voting early, voting often
But not voting all alone
We’ve been growing quietly in the cracks
It’s time to break the stones
It is your democratic right
To not go down without a fight
Don’t sit their feeling powerless
They can’t ignore you when you vote
By camping on their duck island
And pissing in their moat.
So every day’s election day
You coming out to vote?
Yes, every day’s election day
You coming out to vote?

- Danny Chivers, June 2009


Tom Atlee said...

I want a particular word
where I'll vote with our voices
flowing into co-created, co-creative noises,
lofting our wise co-intelligence unfurled
flapping into winds of change,
evolving into a totally different map --
a full range of possibilities
and mind-boggling responsibilities
together because we cannot do it alone,
only everywhere the sun has shone
and shines, and everything is yours and mine
on a journey that never ends
because the song we sing
is the same as the Big Bang sang
in the beginning
and never stopped singing, even now
when we are only beginning to learn how.
For this world's Journey is as long
as there has been yearning and song
and learning as right lightens wrong,
awakening into each new world's spinning.

Tom Atlee said...

In the first line of my poem, "word" should be "world" -- tom