Barlow's Beef: Election fever - I don't think so


Brought up in a staunch Labour household by a father dedicated to the union he served for 32 years I should be excited by the forthcoming election. My father never missed a party conference and I'd listen enthralled to his account.

I loved his passion and commitment. There were no taboo subjects in our house everything was up for discussion. My dad never took umbrage at an apposing view. Shop stewards, agitators, union officials would gather in our front room and argue into the early hours in no-holds barred debates.

I was immensely proud of my dad. Despite his somewhat restricted vocabulary he told it exactly as he saw it. When my dad made a statement he believed it to be the truth. When it wasn't he apologised with dignity and never made excuses.

That was the backdrop to the politics I grew up with. No family in our neighbourhood was indifferent to an election. It was an unmissable opportunity to fight their case and by hell they did.

Today, the apathy is tangible. While those within the system will be enthralled much of the electorate remains unmoved. Their concerns will remain largely unaddressed in a society where the most important issues are taboo.

Any attempt to discuss a sensible and sustainable immigration policy is likely to brand the speaker racist- a banner of political suicide.

The intimidation felt by local communities by the habitual invasion of lawless travellers is largely ignored.

Public consultations that concluded with overwhelming rejection of plans to invade the greenbelt have been swept aside by political dogma.

The EU, a body sufficiently corrupt that no accountancy practice on earth will audit their accounts, raises no comment.

Politicians have only themselves to blame for our cynicism. Conviction politics has been replaced by expediency. Few MP's resign on a point of principle. Deny everything until faced with incontrovertible evidence is today's dictum.

Disingenuous phrases like 'over-firm denial' and 'economical with the truth' are used to mitigate outright lies and a Prime Minister who should have stood trial in The Hague became our 'Peace' Envoy. (Explain that to your grandkids.)

The enormity of the MP's expense scandal hardly registered before an 'Independent' Authority was appointed and swiftly determined that nothing less than a ten per cent pay rise was sufficient for MP's while everyone else could manage with one.

So, sadly no, I am not excited about the forthcoming election. Like most voters I'm tired of the self-serving hypocrisy. My father would have died of shame at the obfuscation and deceit we see today.

Those within politics will no doubt be wetting themselves with anticipation, if that's not being economical with the truth. The rest of us will make an over-firm denial and watch Bake Off.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlows Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

David Hadfield
Tuesday 24th March 2015 at 1:55 pm
I agree entirely with Vic Barlow's comments about politics and the politicians who cheat.
He's absolutely correct about the fiasco & fiddling that's gone on in the past and is probably STILL going on.
Well said that man !
Alan Brough
Tuesday 24th March 2015 at 4:52 pm
I think that Vic speaks (very eloquently) for several million of us, and he's right on the button with this piece.
Andrew Muncaster
Tuesday 24th March 2015 at 5:46 pm
Vic says it for millions of us honest, hard working, minimum wage slaves who , for the last decade, have been shafted by bankers, politicians and Employers unwilling to pay the living wage. Little wonder I feel unable to put my cross against any on the ballot paper.
Elaine Napier
Wednesday 25th March 2015 at 8:48 am
I agree absolutely with Vic, David, Alan and Andrew. And, like Andrew, I cannot bring myself to vote for any politicians at any level because I am tired of being the victim of their self-interest.
Alan R Davies
Wednesday 25th March 2015 at 2:27 pm
Like any other much-maligned profession there are good politicians and bad politicians, and it is often difficult to tell the difference. However, not voting is not the solution, it is merely an indication of acceptance of the status quo. Previous generations gave their lives to protect our right to vote, and we have a responsibility to use that vote to hold our politicians to task, even if it's only once every 5 years.
Jonathan Savill
Wednesday 25th March 2015 at 3:58 pm
For an alternative thought provoking look at this you could do a lot worse than watch "The Waldo Moment" from Charlie Brooker's 2nd Black Mirror series.
Co-written with Chris Morris Brooker attempts to play out the results of an anti-politics campaign headed up by a kind of highly cynical live animated character named "Waldo".

Far fetched and realistic in equal proportions a pertinent warning emerges for the current political system. The reason a character as ugly as Waldo is allowed to prosper is because he offers honest (if crude) opinions, set against politicians who, in the way of the modern world, refuse to be honest about their motivations and speak only in hackneyed media-friendly soundbites.

Dystopia ensues .......

Gets you thinking about Vic's piece above though.
Claire MacLeod
Thursday 26th March 2015 at 9:00 pm
I concur with Vic and feel entirely uninspired by any of the political parties we are presented with for the forth-coming national election. In fact, I dread it.. As a woman who fully appreciates my democratic right to vote (and the sacrifices made only a century ago to allow that to happen), I am dismayed by the choice before me. However, in terms of the local elections and, in particular, those for the Parish Council, I am clear and resolute in my intentions. It is (without question in my mind) time to change. Alderley Edge First.
Andrew Muncaster
Friday 27th March 2015 at 11:03 am
Alan Davies makes me feel guilty for not honouring those who gave their lives that we can live in a democracy; but it's not the same democracy it was 50 years ago...unions did get too powerful, but the pendulum has swung back too far, with the gap between rich and poor getting wider. It's this unfairness that fuels the apathy and disillusion.
In last night's TV debate/interview D.C. didn't answer any of the 6 questions J.P. put to him. It seems real honesty is no longer part of the equation. The increasing number of food banks is testament to the inequality that is 21st century Britain. There's got to be a massive change in the way we govern ourselves or a slippery slope will be our fate. Russell Brand can't be all wrong!