It is election time in Britain, and politicians and journalists are talking about Election Apathy.
The word “apathy” means indifference. But are the people indifferent?
People do listen to what politicians say and even agree with the politicians.
They agree with Michael Howard (the conservative leader) and with Charles Kennedy (the liberal democrat) that Tony Blair (new labour) cannot be trusted, because of the way he justified the Iraq war. And they agree with Tony Blair that neither Michael Howard nor Charles Kennedy are fit to govern Britain, and if elected will be no better than him. They agree with all of them. Is this apathy?
People want to elect an honest and competent government. They look at the politicians, and they see that they are all posing and posturing demagogues, who are neither competent nor honest. And this is why many will not vote at all, or will vote for the smaller parties to show to the main parties, that neither of them is fit to govern Britain. But is this apathy?
It is like a man who enters a butcher's shop to buy a cut of meat. There are three cuts of meat on the counter. All the three are of greenish colour, teaming with worms and emit such unbearable stench that he closes his nostrils and swiftly leaves the shop. Is this indifference? Or is it healthy disgust?
But then there are some indifferent, apathetic people who will continue to vote for the same parties, that they had voted for in the past, just as their parents and grandparents did. They will vote unquestioningly, apathetically, lethargically, out of habit. They will not ask themselves, “Why am I voting for that lot? Are they really fit to govern?”. Is not this unquestioning, lethargic voting the real Election Apathy?
But it is this apathy of the habitual voters that keeps the demagogues in business. They know that no matter what they do, there will be always enough habitual, apathetic voters who will ensure that they will get enough votes, if not to form a government, then at least to stay in the opposition.
But, if the habitual apathetic voters wake up from their lethargy and start asking questions, then the demagogues will learn that the only way to get votes is to become honest and competent administrators. And then they will abandon their posing and posturing and start learning to be competent and honest.
And then politics will disappear, and the people will have an honest and competent government that they need.