India votes!

Ink on the finger = an X on a ballot (Pic: Tracy Hunter on Flickr)

Ink on the finger = an X on a ballot (Pic: Tracy Hunter on Flickr)

Over the next month or so, the worlds biggest democracy will go to the polls. That’s over 700 million voters. 

Here are some photos over on Flickr: Promoting positivity about democracy in Hyderabad. I love the pride with which some of the photographers annotate their pictures – a satisfaction in participation.

Note the marks on the photographer’s finger showing that he had voted.

Do voters choose their representatives wisely?

Here’s a really good post that superimposes the work of Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill onto the John Sergeant / Strictly Come Dancing débâcle.

Chris asks:

  • Do we necessarily pick the best people as elected representatives?
  • Is this a bad thing?

Chris concludes that it shouldn’t be a bad thing, but that our current managerialist democratic institutions really don’t help.

It all reminds me of the similar question, do we generally elect the brightest people as leaders? It also casts some light upon the questions that political parties ask themselves when they are choosing candidates. In a high profile election, do they choose someone who may not necessarily have the best virtues as a representative, instead, preferring somebody who can use their personal charm to misdirect public attention away from policy issues?

I acknowledge that this is an overstated comparison, but no-one could argue that Boris Johnson’s personal popularity (not least for his bumbling demeanour and his ‘I’ve been a naughty boy’ evasions on private matters) didn’t have some bearing on his victory in the London mayoral elections? Was Boris’ popularity – at least in part – similar to that of John Sargeant?