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National Debt not helped by Ignorant Voters

Have just been listening to the BBC trying to squeeze the last ounce of opinion out of a bored and disinterested public about the chancellor's Autumn Statement - or budget as we used to call it. One mother in Huddersfield said something which goes right to the heart of the difficulty we're in and the problem we face in the next general election. She said "There's nothing in it for me. It's their debt they're trying to reduce, not mine."

And there's the problem. In fact two problems. Firstly she expects all budgets to have 'something in it for her'. Benefits good, tax bad. The second issue is that the average voter does not understand that it's her government. Her state. Her debt. I was half expecting something like 'it's the bankers fault, let them pay it off'. Pointless trying to explain public finance to her. All she knows is how much money she personally has and how far it will stretch. Fair enough. Most people can't think collectively, and fewer still have the patience to try to learn about what they see as 'maffs'. They can only understand issues which affect them directly, and then only if it's easy to grasp (explains religion too... but I digress). Asking them to extend their judgement to government issues like finance, defence, legislation or anything which doesn't instantly make a difference to them, is useless. They simply don't understand the bigger picture or how it relates to their future and their kids'. The fact that its her credit card, her mortgage, her car loan, her free this, that and the other, paid for by the rest of us by borrowing from an increasingly uncertain future - and dominated by a hard-working China, not us - is way beyond her comprehension. But unfortunately it matters. It matters a lot.

Democracy puts these people in the driving seat. Government's have to steer impossible courses between doing what's right for the nation, and doing what's popular with people like our Huddersfield mother. Statistically and mercifully she probably won't use her vote. But you can see how easy it will be for left-wing politicians to play on the ignorance of voters who can't understand the principal of 'we're all in this together'.

So the bitter pills that Osbourne and co. need to feed us have to be sold more cleverly to an unsympathetic public who don't think the problem he's trying to solve relates to them. Either that, or start a revolution that eradicates the ridiculous notion that everyone's equally capable of electing the best leaders for our future. Like China, or Singapore, or Libya... don't get me started.

If it wasn't for the likes of the BBC trying to bend over backwards to 'hear the views of the nation', the intellectually challenged wouldn't be given a voice, leaving the rest of us to try to influence decision makers to 'do the right thing'. I suppose the only problem is that the 'right thing' (making sure her kids have a better chance of learning maths despite her disinterest - 'what did school ever do for me?') has to be tempered with the 'best thing' economically (where greed will prevail if left unchecked). It's just that there's too many voters who haven't a clue. Which is why for the first time in my life I've donated to a political party in order, I hope, to help our Huddersfield mum wise up... just a bit.

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