Does your vote really count?

If voting actually changed anything, it would be made illegal.

Democracy is not in the voting….it’s in the counting.

Elections are about standing or falling…., the people find out what politicians stand for, and the politicians find out what the people will fall for.

If God had wanted us to vote, he’d have given us candidates worth voting for. – (Particularly applicable to the 2016 US election).

If the people of a democracy are allowed to do so, they will vote away the freedoms that are essential to that democracy. – AND the politicians (and media) will make sure that we do vote our freedoms away, by feeding us mis-information.

Sorry about this folks, but I’m having a bit of a rant. Totally pissed off about the New Zealand political system, be it local or national. Local politics. Does it matter? Does our vote count if the system is not one we subscribe to? How about National politics….does the same apply?

My opinion, and it is only my opinion, for what it’s worth – I don’t pretend to be an expert on all things political – is that the best system of governance is self governance. Being responsible for our own affairs is by far the system where your own needs have a better chance of being met. The current system here, where we have locally a District Council with a Mayor and 14 Councillors, plus a Regional Council with 8 Councillors selected from the various towns and cities that make up our region, I don’t feel works as it should.

We recently, earlier in October, had our local elections and although I did vote, I could not vote for the candidates who I wanted to vote for…the ones I thought would best represent my needs and stood for the same issues and ideals that I have. The candidates who I wanted to vote for were not in my immediate electorate so I had to pick and vote for other people, and basically what it boiled down to was selecting the one I thought would bring least harm to me, my family and our community. In the end, the one person who I felt would have been the best councillor for me and mine, didn’t even get elected, he was in an electorate that was not mine… though we displayed his political banner/sign on the fence of our property. All the councillors regardless of the electorate that they were standing in, end up serving on a local government council that represents the whole area, so why not just give us a list of all candidates who have been nominated for council and let us vote for any of them (in the hope that the best of the bunch get elected), rather than restricting our vote to someone who is in our electorate, who we may not think is suitable, or even fit for the job?

In addition to electing councillors, we also got to choose members to sit on the local health board governing body….25 applicants of which 7 were to be elected. Of course there was the usual blurb and photo of each wanna-be official in order to convince us that they were the best person for the job. The interesting thing that I found in all this literature, was that only one of the 25 prospects actually mentioned preventative health care. ONLY ONE….thought to remind us that we can help to take responsibility for our healthcare by first taking care about what we put into our mouths – healthy eating, healthy diet equals healthy body. As Socrates said a couple of thousand years ago – “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. So, as far as I am concerned only that one person actually deserves to serve as our representative on the heath board. BUT her views are going to be voted down by the other 6 who get elected and who have vested interests in the pharmaceutical side of the business.

So, me and my family….and our beliefs/way of life etc., have little or no representation on either our district council or our regional council….or Heath Board. When it comes to the national New Zealand Government – in parliament in our capital city of Wellington – we are even less represented.

We are told that these elected officials are our representitives….in government to represent our rights and to make choices on our behalf. Making rules and regulations that we have to live by….spending our taxes in a manner to which they see fit.

I have had concerns about a number of issues over the 30 years that I’ve lived in New Zealand….and have emailed my local member of parliament, certain Ministers in charge of key portfolios, party leaders, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister with these concerns, asking specific questions for which I would like answers. This, I want to point out, was not only during the reign of our current Labour Party / NZ First / Green Party coalition government (led by the ever smiling Jacinda Ardern), but also during the 9 years prior when the National Party were in charge. In most cases I received no reply at all, in others I received an initial, apparently automated, reply stating that my email had been received and someone would formulate a reply to it shortly. I am still waiting. They never get back to me. It’s not just one political party either, it’s across the entire political spectrum. Do I feel that I am being represented – NO I don’t. So what is the bloody point of the whole system, and what does my voting achieve?

All that my vote achieves is – that it goes toward getting someone a nice well paid job in Wellington, someone who will use their position, power and money to further their own agenda and feather their own nests…someone who has not the slightest intention of representing me, my family or community at all. From my own viewpoint voting is an utter waste of time. The bigger a government – or any organization – is, the less the needs of the individual citizen are met…or even listened to. But you know what they say “If you don’t vote, don’t moan about who gets elected.” Then again, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an election and everyone refused to vote….in protest, at the system and it’s lack of true representation. A bit like that old Vietnam war era bumper sticker “What if they gave a war and no one came?”

Of course the biggest problem with politics and politicians is that they not only never do anything constructive for us the people they are elected to represent, but they also never say anything tangible. They will never, EVER, answer a yes or no question with a yes or no answer. They spend hours talking around the question instead in order to bore us into submission. And if, on the odd occasion, they actually do say or do anything…obviously in error….they make such a mess of it and have to have a committee formed to look into the problem. Spending more of our hard earned taxes. I think American comedian and political critic George Carlin summed “politic speak” up nicely in the following address to the National Press Club….

I fully understand why the people of Britain voted to pull out of the EEC – feeling that their needs were not being looked after by a Government who rule from Brussels and who take millions of pounds out of the British coffers and invest very little of those funds back into Britain – whether I agree with it or not is beside the point. They don’t feel that being ruled from Brussels benefits them in any way, shape or form….and the lack of border control is eroding what is left of the British identity, customs and culture. So they vote to pull out….much to the surprise of the government…who are left in a bit of a void because now they have to do some work and negotiate a deal whereby Britain can leave the EEC without becoming completely ostracized.

Of course prior to having governments voted for by the people (even if they don’t actually represent the true wishes of the people) we were all subjects of and servants to Kings, Queens, Emperors etc who took their positions of power either by being born into it, or by having armies big enough to wrest control from some other monarch.

The question is, are we actually better off with the system we now have? Or is it time for another change….a revolt if you will? It would have to be a revolt because the people in power aren’t going to either simply step aside, or allow us to vote them off. An “Anarchistic Autonomous Collective” sounds pretty good right now (see Monty Python sketch below).

I’d like to know if YOU feel that you are being properly represented by your elected officials, where ever in the world you live….or if you too are coming to the end of your tether and feel forced into taking action.

Meantime here’s a sketch from the Monty Python team…..amusing yes, but with a lot of truth in it.

What we did on our Holiday.

No I’m not going to bore the pants off you writing about our fun old-fashioned family Christmas. I’m writing about a British made, 2014 movie called “What we did on our Holiday” – which is one of the funniest, yet at the same time poignant, movies I have ever seen. There are 3 young kids in it who are simply brilliant. The primary adult stars are David Tennant, Rosamund Pike, Billy Connolly and Ben Miller, sterlingly supported by Amelia Bullmore, Annette Crosby and Celia Imrie. But it’s the three children who steal the show and are superb. Their names are Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge and Harriet Turnbull. If you haven’t seen the movie – try to watch it on line or borrow it from a DVD store/library – it’s a real treat to watch.

Official trailer of the movie.

The story centres around the kids and Tennant and Pike who play their parents and live in the south of England. I should say at this point that the parents are on a trial separation and living in separate houses. BUT Tennant’s father, – Billy Connolly is about to celebrate his 75th birthday at his other son’s home in Scotland. In order not to upset Connolly, Pike and Tennant put on a united front to pretend that they are still together and that everything is absolutely rosie between them. Of course kids being kids – let the cat out of the bag.

The road trip from England up to the Scottish highlands is an eventful and argumentative one – with several amusing incidents. On arrival – finally, at Tennant’s brothers house – which turns out to be a huge mansion in park like grounds – we are shown that the relationship between the two brothers is a competitive one…..this is highlighted by the family football match on the lawn.

The birthday party for Connolly is oldest son Gavin’s (Miller) idea, who has to do everything extravagantly as a demonstration of his wealth and to show little brother (Tennant) who is the most successful of them. He has invited hundreds of guests and the party will be in a huge marquee on the main lawn. All Connolly is interested in though is spending time with his grand children – so he takes them off in a 4 wheel drive across the moorland to an isolated sandy beach until it’s time to return for the party.

It is revealed early in the movie that Connolly’s character is very sick with cancer and isn’t expected to see his next birthday – which is partly why there is a lot of fuss being made over this one – his 75th. The drugs he is on to fight the cancer are bad for his heart…..which is not as strong as it should be. This makes Connolly even more determined to get away to the beach with the grand kids and just watch them at play. They have some very deep and meaningful talks with him sitting on the beach. Some of which apparently is scripted and some ad-libbed. The kids are brilliant!

SPOILER ALERT!

They bury grandad in the sand and he pretends he’s dead. The kids become concerned and lean in close to check on him – he bursts out of the sand and scares them half to death. The chatter and play continues for a while and the kids talk about death with Connolly and he tells them that when he dies he would hate the sons to arrange his funeral as there would be arguments and things would be blown out of proportion and that what he’d really love is to have a Viking funeral. The body placed on a flaming boat and pushed out to sea. He tells the kids that they should try to enjoy life and be happy and content with their lot and not get drawn into petty arguments because “people are ridiculous and in the end nothing really matters”. After this he sits on the beach and the kids go off looking for crabs etc…..only to return to find that grandad (Connolly) has really died and is laying motionless on the sand.

Oldest grand daughter Lottie (Emilia Jones) – after checking grandad’s pulse, listening for a heart beat and checking that he is indeed no longer breathing – leaves the two younger kids to watch over grandad’s body while she races across country back to the mansion to alert the family of Connolly’s demise. When she gets there though everyone – the adults that is – are arguing. She realizes what a mess the adults will make of things when they find out that Connolly is dead, so she turns round, runs back to the beach and the kids decide to give grandad his Viking funeral.

Only after they have built a makeshift raft from bits and pieces found on the beach and rolled grandad onto it, set it alight and let the tide take him out to sea………do they return home to tell the rest of the family that grandad is dead.

This naturally coincides with the arrival of all the guests for his birthday party and how the kids break the news to the family is hilarious! I’ll add a link to that scene for you to see for yourselves….below.

So there you have it. It is honestly one of the best movies for laughs, life lessons, scenes showing typical family disagreements, family bonding in a crisis – and brilliant acting especially by the 3 younger actors. The scenes I have linked may be spoilers, but I hope that they actually inspire you to watch the entire movie. I’ll definitely be watching it again. It’s fairly low budget but a great comedic script and exceptional actors.

After all that I can’t give it any less than 5 out of 5.