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Thursday, 5 March 2015

To vote or not to vote. That is the question.

Last week I received an invitation to vote for two elections to be held in March. I haven't opened the enveloppe yet as I am still in doubt what to do: to vote or not to vote. I have considered the pros and cons already for many years. Still I haven't made up my mind yet. It is not the first time. Last year I did not exercise my voting rights with regard to the European Parliament. That was my first time ever. Certain decisions become easier once you have crossed a certain mental bridge.

The main issue for procrastinating is that I do not feel that any political party expresses my views on society. If several parties (left, right and center) would merge then I might feel more inclined to vote.

Not voting would probably force other parties to join the current coalition as no other political solution is available. That would imply that I basically get what I want (i.e., a political merger) although not on a voluntary basis.

That leaves only one argument to express my democratic right to vote: preventing (left and right wing) extremist parties to join forces in Holland. Like in Greece.

Both Dutch left and right wing extremist parties are full of 'change' promises and shallow on how to finance those promises. Like in Greece. Left wing extremist parties tend to simply finance their 'change' promises by raising taxes on the wealthy. Joining forces with a right wing extremist party takes away that opportunity. Once both parties are in power, they will do everything to stay in power and thus a collision on principle issues (e.g., taxation) is not likely. I expect that the same will happen in Greece: extreme right will prevent certain tax raises.

Is a vote against certain parties enough reason for voting? I don't hate these left and right wing extremist parties. Actually both even have a few - though certainly not many - sound ideas. I just don't like seeing them destabilising our country. Seeing them fail - once in office - may even be healthy for our political culture. Like in Greece.

There is not much left to choose for. The policy margins have become narrow. In my view, politics is is heading towards - or already is in - a dead end street. Please also see my February 9 blog:

A democratic future alternative might be that voters express their vote through a ranking of priorities (e.g., more/less/same taxation, more/less/same government deficits, more/less/same salaries, more/less/same social benefits, more/less/same elderly care, more/less/same defence, more/less/same police, more/less/same healthcare, and so on) and that the aggregated priority ranking will be executed by a team of subject matter experts rather than politicians.

In my view the above is the only way forward to get out of the quicksand that politics has become in several democratic countries (e.g, Europe, USA). Politicians make us belief that the differences between parties are huge while in reality the policy margins are quite small.

The classic labeling of left, right and center is no longer sufficient. It's time for a genuine change.