Over the past year or so this blog had been dying a slow, quiet death as I focused my blogging attention on other areas (www.ontwowheels-eh.blogspot.com). However, now that we are in the heat of another election campaign, it seems appropriate to resurrect it as a means to vent about the election in general and the parties/leaders in particular. So here goes.
A friend just posted this comment on Facebook:
“Getting pretty tired of all these election ads and promises...not sure where all this money is going to come from to pay for these promises but it makes me nervous.”
And she’s absolutely right. Election campaigns have become little more than an endless stream of promises, each party trying to one-up the opposition and appeal to a smaller and smaller demographic as the electorate gets further and further sub-divided into special interests/races/religions/geographies/whathaveyou.
I know why they do it – an announcement a day keeps the parties in the news cycle. However, this mindless quest to top the charts can be counter-productive. Voters get tired of steady announcements and the predictable attacks they generate. The fiscally responsible become concerned about the ability to pay for it all. And the cynics’ positions become more entrenched as they realise how few of those promises will ever see the light of day once the election is over.
So I have a modest proposal.
In my utopia, an election campaign would go as follows. Treat it like a request for proposal. First the writ is dropped. That is followed by a period of several weeks during which no campaigning can occur, but during which the parties develop and publish detailed platforms outlining government direction, major policies, new spending initiatives they would support, etc. (The proposal.) Once the platforms are published the parties and candidates can begin campaigning, explaining why their their platforms are better and responding to voter and media questions about the details through a combination of public meetings and door-knocking. Then we vote.
Now wouldn’t that be more civilised?