It’s THAT time again!!!

philbirchbw-e1297112991794Well, it’s that time again. The time where we exercise our well-earned franchise and decide which group of representatives we elect for another term in Government. A group/party that reflects our overall ethos of political, economic and social policies and feelings. Yep, feelings count too.

The complexities and challenges of any Government is not being questioned here. I am sure it’s a hard job and of course it could just be me that is feeling unrepresented, disenfranchised and generally sick to the back teeth with career politicians, rhetoric, hypocrisy and self-promoting greed. I feel no attachment to any particular party. I am even struggling to watch the debates. The individuals appear vacuous and patronising or shallow and pompous. (Select any similar words . . . . . .).

Life will move on, politicians will lie, mis-represent and disappear but we will still be here. We will pick up the ruined economy, shattered social services, the ever-widening wages gap and the sickening environment. So what can we do?
I remembered this time some years ago whilst on my spiritual journey with Dr Deepak Chopra. It was about mid-point as I recall. Mmmm, what has changed in the meantime/? Well, many of us are worse off. Many of us are more insecure and anxious about work. Many of us are simply worn out by the grinding repetitive ‘work or die’ culture and see no improvement, especially when faced with a ballot paper upon which the names have changed but the parties, unfortunately, remain. Maybe my suggestion from the last election will help; or at least allow you a moment to pause for thought.

Day 156 What are you voting for?
It’s General Election Day in the UK and I must admit that I actually feel a little excited. Not enough to distract me from my higher daily goals (emails, mopping the floor, walking the dog) but enough to encourage me to walk in the rain to my nearest polling station, a task made more appealing by the drilling and banging din from next door!

The chance to exercise my franchise has facilitated in me a personal review. A review of what am I going to be voting for. Note that I say ‘what’ and not ‘who’. I feel that generally we have lost strategic policy and political direction in the mist of popularism and career politician-ing.
I will admit that historically I have operated from a relatively self-centred perspective – me in my world. Whilst I have (and still am) attempting to balance my karma for the less altruistic performances and incidents of my past I do confess to having also changed my values considerably. My younger self could generally be described as being ‘slightly more right wing than Genghis Khan’ – a definite influence in my decision to continue my studies at the same time as climbing the corporate ladder rather than to join the work-shy masses of student-dom (I could have gone to Leeds University to study International Politics). My values at the time reflected my needs. ‘Work harder, get more’.

So to now. I understand that we all lose the exuberance (and flexibility) of youth as we mature. We replace social activity with social responsibility, replace strutting our funky stuff with strange little moans and groans when we stretch or bend over. But this aside, there have been other changes to me since then – as previous chapters will elaborate! My values have changed considerably. My values are no less important to me than those that I held in youth but they are different now and are continuing to change which is why I have nipped into the polling station conveniently positioned on this part of my journey. I am grateful for this because I can now vote for my values.

I accept that you may already do this – after all, what do we base our decisions upon besides experience, values and beliefs? The biggest difference for me is that I am voting for something else this time. Not by proxy or incognito – no ‘Vote Rigging in drizzly Cheshire’ scandal will hit the tabloids tomorrow, but I am voting for everyone less well off than me. I know, by virtue of my still being here, that I can survive. I have had help, and lots of it at times, but I know that I can survive bad times, crippling depression, divorce, job insecurity, loss of friends, dis-honest business partners, financial difficulties, heartbreak and single-dom. I am no warrior. I am no different from most people but I have had help. I thank and appreciate this help.

So, why the diversion into the polling station? Well simply this. To ask you to consider what do YOU vote for? I don’t mean why do you vote but what for – for what values? It is easy to vote for the bank balance. It is easy to vote for the popular candidate. It is easy to vote the same as you ever have. It is easy to vote for the safe seat party. It is easy to vote is my point. What may be more challenging, however, would be to actually vote for our values irrespective of party. I want a better world – my world, everyone’s world – and I do not care which party delivers it. I care about the values of fairness, equity, caring and responsibility and despite the torrent of spin and sound bites that inevitably surround the election process, I will see who closest reflects my values.

This Law expounds the virtues of least effort but let’s make a little effort today. Voting is not that much of an effort for most of us and just imagine how much ‘maximum results’ this ‘least effort’ could yield!
Change, like charity, begins at home.
Always vote for your values.

I feel pretty much the same today. You have the right to vote for who you want. Perhaps this time it may be worth voting for WHAT you want – policy voting (for a specific issue) rather than party voting which clearly will not produce a single, satisfactory solution this time. A Parliament hung; or maybe just one that should be?

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