Gangster with cigar - A senior cabinet politician writes

With elections that nobody wants coming up fast everywhere, people have been asking me what to do about the decline of democracy.

I reply, you’re doing more than enough already.

We in the governments of the world are grateful for the impressive way that you have been using your democratic right to believe in what you’d like to be the case, ignore the evidence, insult each other, avoid listening to inconvenient facts and generally vote for things you say you don’t believe in.

A politician hates losing votes

The truth is, if you didn’t we’d be in deep doo-doo.

There’s nothing a politician hates more than losing votes. If you said you were going to vote for something sensible, such as, say, the future survival of humanity, we’d have to rethink government policy entirely.

And, even though our recent speeches have about as much chance of leading to actual laws as a fracker has of not causing your house to subside, we really don’t like to have to rethink anything.

Actually, let’s be clear, we don’t like having to think, full stop. Life’s so much easier that way.

But luckily for us, voters do everything they accuse us of doing, and more.

They lie to us on the doorstep. They never keep their promises. They say what they think we want to hear and they always shy away from difficult decisions.

Where would we be without hypocrisy?

They say they love good health care and want to save the environment – then they decide they’d prefer a new car or third holiday in Bali.

Where would we be without hypocrisy? I mean, I can understand if Brits vote Tory and really do believe it’s right to trash the country in order to get a blue passport… which the EU would have let them have anyway. Or to gain the right to control immigration… which the EU would have let them do anyway.

I can understand if Americans vote Republican and truly believe in victimising the disabled, rewarding the rich and shooting anyone who happens to be wearing the wrong skin.

But thank God none of you around the world who say you care about the future of young people, solving the housing crisis, ensuring fair treatment for all, stopping global overheating or creating green jobs, would be caught dead actually voting for what you say you believe in.

Otherwise my colleagues and I really would be fucked.

Carry on carrying on

So please, go on doing what you’re doing. Listen to all those nice little slogans that we post on social media about so-and-so being ‘unelectable’ or ‘criminal’ or that such-and-such is ‘a wasted vote.’

As I hope none of you will ever find out, no vote is a wasted vote. Unless of course it’s voting for one thing when you believe in something different.

Meanwhile, I’ve already moved all my assets to Dubai, shorted all the world’s major stocks and arranged for a nice little job in a friendly finance firm.

Thank you for keeping me in subsidised fine dining, all expenses paid research trips to the Maldives and membership of the best club in town.

Without you, I daren’t imagine what state our democracy would be in. And when this long unsought-for election does arrive, remember me in your hearts and cast your vote unwisely.

I know you will.

The senior cabinet politician was talking to Charles Harris (award-nominated Hampstead Writer of the Year 2019-20).

Adapted from an article in the current Winter 2019 edition of The Hampstead Village Voice, available everywhere, as long as you’re in Hampstead.