TV election debate? I’d rather fly away to the end of the Earth

UTV party political debate ahead of the  Westminster election
UTV party political debate ahead of the Westminster election

This time next week the country could be in a political uproar or the Conservatives could be back in control much to the relief of small businesses and industry.

Our political landscape here could be quite different too. Maybe it deserves to be because our local politicians have become hooked on electioneering via television.

Sandra Chapman

Sandra Chapman

It’s awfully hard to track them down in the streets these days to quiz them on their policies. But the local TV stations don’t have that problem. They appear to live on their doorsteps.

Less than a week to polling day and, as a country dweller, I have not seen a single candidate with the usual posse of stalwarts anywhere. Maybe the ‘polar plume’ kept them at home. Perhaps that’s been a blessing in disguise and we’ll have been spared hearing all those promises they know they cannot keep but which sound good on the doorsteps.

I don’t like political debates on television either. It brings out the worst of bad manners in those standing for election as they continuously interrupt each other with their own opinions totally disregarding the fact that it’s the viewers who want to hear what is being said. Unedifying shouting matches don’t add up to good politics.

I once was quite a political animal and recall getting involved in lots of political debate – we also debated American elections in those days - well into the wee small hours at friends’ parties.

Forty five years on I’ve heard it all and want to switch off, pack a suitcase and fly to the other end of the Earth. It won’t happen of course. Unlike my political colleague Alex Kane and Russell Brand I’m a believer in voting.

I know what sacrifices were made decades ago to allow us the freedom to vote in elections which we know won’t be rigged as they are in other countries. I won’t spoil a vote either. What’s the point in that? But my trust in politicians has been sorely tried when I’ve needed them as I did in recent times and at this point in the election I’m still not sure who I will vote for.

I tried two different representatives from two different parties recently to help with a planning issue and despite what I’m sure they thought were their best efforts to help me I did not get my problem solved.

It resulted in me being faced with a planning department decision made in my favour but later overturned by the same department without a proper explanation other than it was ‘expedient’ to do what they did. I have no right it seems to know the details.

If politicians have no clout with the many overpaid public sector workers in government departments in getting fair play for the people what is the point in having them? We might as well live in a dictatorship. In fact a benign dictatorship might even be a good thing.

What about doing away with all politicians and setting up a commission to run the country? In the 1970s Ballymena had a commission in place to drive forward the development of the town. This was very successful and the town blossomed into the thriving place it is today.

During this election campaign our local politicians fight like ferrets in a sack with one side not even sitting in the Parliament they are so anxious to stand for. But then its expenses are good.

We have republican bombers back on the streets of Londonderry just as I was planning to take a Canadian visitor there for a visit to the city walls, a visit which I suspect won’t now take place and we have homophobic issues which have no place in a modern society.

This election may change the face of British politics. Progress however is a different thing altogether.