Friday, 14 March 2008
Politics - and the right to vote
So what to say about politics - about the right to vote, for whom to vote, and how much does it really matter? In no particular order - apart from the first one..... The right to vote was hard-earned a) for women and b) for anyone who wasn't landed gentry. I'm talking UK politics here before anyone argues. Naturally male house-holders got the vote before women with money. Men being more entitled to vote as you would expect. The thinking responsible species. *irony* I vaguely remember learning about the electoral reform acts at school. And that the road to universal suffrage was not easy. In my idle browsings on Tinties, I have noticed some serious garbage about who should have voting rights. Actually often I struggle to find anything that isn't serious garbage. Onto suffrage. Voting rights - for men obviously - started to change in the 1830s. During the nineteenth century, men's rights improved. Women didn't exist. By 1884 more than 50% of the male population could vote but women were still nowhere. The Suffragette Movement started in the late nineteenth century, so that eventually - after the First World War - women finally got the vote. Let's get this right. Property-owning women over 30 finally got the vote, although naturally the law was also changed to improve it for men too. Men over 21 could vote - and there were no property restrictions on them any more. A dainty little step forward for women. Ten years later voting was made equal. No property restrictions and voting at 21 for men and women. That's nearly 100 years from the Electoral Reform Act in 1832 to 1928. For women to get equal rights. And when I did my journo exams in the late twentieth century, everyone had the right to vote apart from peers of the realm, convicted felons, and people in a psychiatric institution. I have no idea if this has changed as there have been a number of new acts since then. But what does rack me off is arrogant, self-opinionated gits who seem to think that the right to vote is a privilege that has to be earned and that people are NOT equal. That some people have more rights than others. In fact, that the right to vote needs a load of qualifications. To achieve suffrage you should be a property owner, have a full-time job - obviously - or your own monied business to show how clever and money-grabbing you are, and you should pass a citizenship test, to name but a few ideas that I have seen. Your average person who lives on the side of the road is nowhere. We only want people with money to have a say in our society. Why should someone living on benefit vote? Or a student? Or a pensioner? Or someone without a job? Or someone on sick pay? Let alone someone without a permanent address. What do they value in our consumerist, monetarist terms? They just cost money so they shouldn't vote. Yes. Suffrage in a so-called democratic society is a privilege - in comparison with societies where people are still not "free" and can not freely vote. And it is one that - for now, is - granted to everyone. (Apart from people who fall within the exemption clauses). We are not going back to the 1830s and the days of white male landed gentry. Nor are we limiting the vote to those who think in the same mould as we do. The right to vote is one of the few areas where there is still a vague pretence that people are all still equal. What is it with you sexist, bigoted, white, men in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and ... hell, whatever age you are, what is it with you selfish fuckers anyway? Do you not understand compassion or tolerance? Why do you think you are right? Or even superior to anyone else? Monied and opinionated white male supremacy eh? Why do you want to take away the right to vote from someone worse off from you? Or just someone different? Do you know how many years it took to achieve universal suffrage? Miserable toerags. Get a life, and stop victimising everyone else. Anyway my proposal for what it is worth is as follows. The right to vote should only be accorded to property-owning women - over 30 naturally, who have at least one degree, preferably two, a trade qualification as well, and money in the bank. Fuck your silly citizenship tests - that any person with half a brain can pass - let's see how clever you really are. And how much you have contributed to society, and how much you have taken out too. Your education? Your skills and training which may well have come via the public sector - including the armed services - if that's where you learned a trade. Oh, and those nice little benefits that you don't want everyone else to have? Child benefit too eh? How many of you with children haven't claimed child benefit - it's your right isn't it? Greedy gits - one law for you and one for those who aren't as lucky. You wouldn't pass my test. I think I will leave point two about politics for another day.
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