The two party political system
I have often engaged in conversations leading to the political current event situation here in Australia in particular and in the world in general, and usually from my responses or reactions, I would be told I’m cynical and apathetic when it comes to such a topic. This happened so many times, I thought why not write something about it!
To start with, I am not apathetic about politics in where I live, but yes, I am quite cynical about the whole thing.
In Australia, the two party system is the political reality we live in; two major parties more or less govern the country, with each of them swapping positions every couple of elections. Of course there are other small parties, though they have yet to ever have a majority of any kind to have any real effect.
Now this is a deliberately simplified but still relatively accurate scenario of what you will usually see on TV here; a minister would talk about an issue, and blame the other party for anything wrong in it or that when the opposition were in power they managed to devastate it and they are currently here to patch up and amend all those mistakes and if they listen and implement what the opposition are asking for now, the result will be catastrophic!
Then you would see the shadow minister saying the exact same thing but to the opposite effect!
The above scenario has been going on for ever and more; I saw a considerable amount of historical political shows on television that pretty much had the same scenario but in black and white since at that time colour TVs were not invented yet!
Of course, there are exceptions, every decade or two you will find a prime minister that is smart, a deep thinker and happens to listen to experts and thus, back issues that affects long term nation building activities instead of the usual short term voter grabbing ones, sadly though, such people come so far in between the usual, you tend to forget this happens.
It is hard for me to take politicians seriously when they act somewhat like children on national TV! But mainly I cannot believe that in any country only a two main political parties can realistically and truly represent the views of all or even the majority of the citizens of a nation.
You only need to check around the world to see what real representation or democracy can actually look like. Italians for example have a more closely representative public representation in their parliament, albeit their system, in my humble opinion, falls apart in implementation, resulting in many Italian’s losing interest in politics and you find their elections have poor voter turn out and their referendums are rarely carried through by lack of participation. This, had an exception, such as when two referendums got enough participation that shocked the government of Silvio Berlusconi, who was banking on the people’s apathy in politics. However because of successive Italian governments, coincidentally all headed by Berlusconi, becoming so belligerent with what they are doing, that Italian’s felt they need to do something about it.
Another system is Switzerland‘s direct democracy; as in all people get to vote on any important issue and any Swiss citizen that can get enough people to sign his petition can put a referendum to be voted by all. Their system is quite interesting, people there are generally more interested in politics and the issues, since they feel their vote will count and their opinion is heard. It is of course, not perfect and they have issues they can improve on, but by far, it is one of the most democratic political system I’ve seen.
I am sure we have a lot of actual political experts here in Australia that could have a say and can work to make things better, but I have yet to hear from any of them or see them try to improve on the status quo.
In the majority of the developed world the two party political system reign supreme. Countries like the UK, France, Finland, Australia and the USA to name a few, should take upon themselves to do an overhaul to their political structures, it does not need to be a radical change all in one burst, but more of a multi stage 10-20 year plan at the end of which people would feel more compelled to vote, participate and get involve in the running of their countries, for the simple fact that they would be. At such a time governments might not be forced, in some countries, to make voting compulsory with a financial penalty in order to compel citizens to vote even if their views are not represented in the choices available in front of them to vote for!
Some might say, why change what is not totally broken, since it does somewhat work just fine. Such people have the right to their opinion, but since when do we change things just because they don’t work? We always strive to change things so that they work better and more efficiently. Evolving and improving our society is a never ending process; for perfection is what we all should strive to achieve. If that is not possible then the closest we can get to, at that point of time, should be the only acceptable next thing.
A Friend once told me, in response to my views on this issue, that you need to vote to keep the worst from reaching power, thus voting for the best of the worst! I did not answer her then, but after thinking about it for a while I came to realise that I never liked to settle for anything in my life, I don’t even choose the best of the worst when I buy toilet paper! Therefore the idea of doing that to choose who will lead the nation for the next couple of years is somewhat of a scary concept to me! I hope that a lot of people agree with me at least on this last point.
If anything, the individuals who should lead us need to be at least the best of the best, nothing less. Let us leave the concept of “The best of the worst”to countries that cannot do better, for surely we can.