Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When elections matter too much

I have heard many stories of rivalry at elections. Outside polling booths it is common for party workers to take names of voters so they can cross them off their lists of people to 'knock-up' later, it also helps them gauge how many of their voters have turned out; well they will pinch each other's chairs, they have on occasions got into fights and been removed by the police. Yes, in Britain there still are reasons to fight over electoral politics.

The Filipino elections, however, take this to a more disturbing level. Militias are active in the campaign, voting papers are snatched and fighting between rival factions have lead to a number of deaths. Polling day (14th May) was described as 'relatively peaceful' despite a number of deaths and woundings; while it would be nice to think that the level of political involvement in the UK would be high enough for people to fight for democracy, perhaps it is better to have signs of apathetic contentment! Democracy cannot operate in a state of fear.

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