Cafeteria Politics

As the election campaign advances, I am seeing more and more instances of what I call ‘Cafeteria Politics’. Before explaining what I mean, I should give some background. In my experience, most people’s political views align with a particular party, be it Labour, LibDem, Conservative, Green, or one of the nationalist parties. And yet, the media, in an effort to involve ‘undecided’ voters (a concept that also defeats me), asks them about ‘issues’. For example I heard someone say, in response to a question, that ‘Education and ‘the Economy’ were of most importance to them. They trusted Labour on Education, but the Conservatives on the Economy. So, asked the interviewer, which way would they vote? Answer: they might not vote at all, because you can’t combine political ideas like you can for food items in a cafeteria (hence my term Cafeteria Politics). So why lead people along in this way? I think it’s misleading nonsense. Instead these ‘undecided’ voters need to read the party manifestos (when they’re published), look on their websites, and do whatever they need to do to reach a decision, which may have to be a compromise. As Aleksandar would say, ‘simples’ ! And stop pretending that cherry picking of issues is an option. Otherwise the inevitable consequence will be even more nonvoters than already seems sadly likely.

Turning to the campaign so far, there are no real surprises. 100+ business leaders write a letter in support of the Tories (shock horror) which is published by that great neutral newspaper The Telegraph (even more shock and horror). UKIP are worried about 16 and 17 year olds voting in an EU election because they are likely to support our continued membership. And the SNP continue to think they may really be in a position of influence after the election. Finally the LibDems touchingly make promises that ignore the possible annihilation of their party representation at Westminster post-election. It’s all good fun, and we still have more than a month of this nonsense to put up with! Happy Days.

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