Towards A Voters' Manifesto

It's 2012 and the silly season is officially upon us. Bloggers and tabloids and Facebook commentators have begun their discussions and predictions. To quote Pat Rahming (and I'll quote him again before this post is over), everybody catchin politics like germ.It's a rare situation this election. For the first time in 35 years, it's a proper three-way race; in almost all of the 38 new constituencies, voters will have the option to choose candidates from one of three parties.Predictably, and unfortunately so, the discussion is progressing the way football hooligans support their favourite teams. Most of the loudest voices have painted themselves with the war-hues of their favourites, so that the air has taken on the quality of a rastafarian flag or (to employ the more common metaphor) a stoplight; the political parties (I am tempted to call them teams) adorn themselves in the party colours of red, gold and green.Equally predictably, the squabbling is as shallow and as thought-free as that paint. In almost no quarter does one hear discussions of the issues that affect us all, regardless of party -- of the economic future of the country, of ways in which we hope to function as citizens, of the kinds of fundamental changes that are necessary for the continued process of nationhood -- of questions of how to expand and deepen the democratic project, or how, in this small country of 350,000 people, to find solutions to the problems that plague us.I've been thinking for a long time now that what we need are not more political parties with platforms, plans and promises as fragile and transparent as cheap glass. No. What we need is a voters' manifesto -- a code by which we, the voters, live and move and cast our votes. So I've been thinking about what I want from a country and from a representative, and working back from there. Watch this space -- as I develop it, I'll post it. Maybe you'll share my perspective. If so, let's work for our own small change whenever the election is called!