Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Am I Bothered?

“Elections? Face? Face? Elections? I AIN’T BOTHERED!”

Oh Lordy, Lordy, “The Bulletin” gazes in a navel direction. Why do so few expats vote?

Answer’s simple: they ain’t bothered.

Setting aside straightforward apathy, there are a number of reasons for the lack of interest: don’t understand the voting system; don’t understand the language and therefore don’t understand the messages; don’t know who the politicians are; don’t know what the political parties are all about. Don’t know. Don’t understand. Don’t care.

People should care, of course they should care. But it goes deeper. Gather together a sample of a hundred expats and ask them who the leader of the Balearics Government is. Ask them to name the mayor of Alcúdia, or of Pollensa. See where it gets you.

The fourth estate and local politicians may believe that they are trying to engage expats in the political process but they are not. “The Bulletin”, a few days back, referred to the “wining and dining” by politicians of, well of I’m not quite sure. Perhaps the editor of “The Bulletin” and some buffers from ESRA and other expat groups.

Fact is that most Brit expats have way more interest in political matters back home. And the fourth estate reflects this. Take our old mate Leapy Lee. Not uncommon for him to sound off about Blair and the awfulness of Britain. “The Bulletin” does try. But it is essentially a British newspaper with some local stuff tagged on, and that isn’t a criticism.

If the press and politicians were really serious about engaging the expatriate community perhaps they might think about producing election specials which detail what the parties stand for, who they are, how the voting system works, why it is important to be involved. Not just the odd article, but a full supplement. Perhaps some of the money that goes into printing all those damn posters could be diverted into producing such specials. But only if the political parties were really serious. But are they bothered?

Pop Quiz: To all of you who said Alice Cooper, a copy of the Partido Popular manifesto (unused).


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