The perspective page of the Press is the natural home of a number of bizarre opinions. They are often deliberately provocative, totally unworkable, or horribly ideological. Sometimes they make sense. But this morning’s opinion was extraordinary, even given the expectations I have of this section. In it, 1%-er, CEO and Knight of the Realm argued that the peasantry should have the choice to vote for not having the vote anymore:
Starting with local body elections we could make a change that would enable voters to demand better performance from our politicians. I suggest that on every local body ballot paper an additional candidate is created which says “Appoint commissioners”. The local citizens would be democratically choosing, if in sufficient numbers, an action for the government to take.
The examples that this rich, old, white man cites are the technocrats installed in various European states after the Global Financial Crisis, and the commissioners installed at ECan. In the case of the latter, the “need” for commissioners was dubious at best; a crisis was created so that a right-wing government could impose upon ECan people to do a job that elected officials would never have agreed to do. In the former, a financial crisis – which was created by rich, white, old men that Simpson represents – was used as a reason for those same rich, white, old men to impose government by rich, white, old men.
Yes, voter turnout is depressingly low. But that shouldn’t mean that we should have our right to vote taken from us – even if those same rich, white, old men would try and convince us that we should vote away our right to vote. This is another worrying attempt from the people who hold positions of power in the country to further weaken local government and centralize control; if the quakes have taught us anything, it’s that power should be shifting back from the elite to communities, not the other way around.