It is not just in the UK that the people have expressed their displeasure with the politicians who are supposed to represent their wishes: few countries in the EU have avoided turbulent, unlikely results in the Parliamentary elections, while in the US the clamour for action, at last, by new gun control laws grows louder after the sad murders by a disturbed gunman in California. Lawmakers are being called to account, and rightly so – that is democracy.
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The New Reality[/caption]
About one person in three, only, voted in the European elections and the English council elections, an indication of the disinterest there is in politics as well as a prevailing sense of scepticism and alienation. Politics is about community, and the fact that the majority of the eligible community failed to vote, or voted for extremist candidates, is a sign of the separation there is between the “establishment” and the people. Disaffection is dangerous, paving the way to civil unrest, and politicians are wise to take heed, at last, of the true reality.
For decades, leaders and governments have behaved with complacency and arrogance, making decisions to suit their own sense of what is right and disregarding protests and petitions from the citizens whose lives are affected, often adversely. Now, they have to change, to understand the anger and disrespect they have earned, and to have humility as they balance the needs of the community against their assumptions, and desire for continuing political power.
You and I have a responsibility in all of this too, ensuring we vote when invited, contribute to the debates and are wise in our wishes. Politicians can be selfish, so can we – we all can do better. It is a new reality for us as well as our leaders, and the lessons of the elections apply just as much to us as to them.