What the Hell Do You Want?


These days, most voters hate politicians. They hate them with a burning passion that, if tapped into, could probably power an aircraft carrier, shrivel a giant redwood, or push the planet into a chaotic, spiralling orbit into the heart of the sun. It’s actually a legitimate shame that we can’t siphon this seething disdain; the focused loathing of thirty million voters projected at a Houses of Parliament-shaped lens could generate a beam of raw, destructive force that would embarrass the Death Star. We could use it to stop incoming asteroids.

I don’t know how many of you would actually support a campaign to stop a space rock apocalypse, but a 2015 Hansard report found that only 18% of voters think standards of conduct amongst politicians are high. This is where the hate comes from, and justly so. The recently ended Parliament has seen MPs embroiled in scandal, and they’ve faced accusations that they are out of touch. Consider Plebgate, Pastygate, London-MP-Rent-Gate Mark 2 (the Expenses Scandal Strikes Back) or any number of Twitter faux-pas. This Parliament featured more ‘gates’ than a Gareth Gates lookalike competition. Or a gate shop.

Solutions? Well, politicians are human and humans are flawed. They’re going to make mistakes. Having said that, I do see why people might want to hold them to a higher moral standing than they might a non-politician, but finding candidates that meet this lofty standard is tricky. In the process of picking representatives, we could screen out people who are likely to screw up, or we could train them to be really vigilant, perfect even. Or, we could surround them with teams to catch every error they might make in advance. But hold on. The public also want politicians who are ‘of the people’. Politicians like them, in touch, that they could relate to, that have had a real job, real life experience, that could win a fight in a pub. This is a contradiction. Human, but perfect. Mechanical, but relatable. Flawed, but flawless. What the hell do you want?

Actually, there’s an idea. Mechanical politicians. Why not? They’d never make an error, never send an inappropriate or badly judged tweet. They’d have encyclopaedic knowledge of their party manifesto, perfect recall regarding statistics and the concerns of their constituents. Heck, they’d even know everyone in their constituency by name. They wouldn’t need pay, wouldn’t need a parliament, would always vote the way the party wanted. And our current MPs (some who act half-robotised as it is: I’m looking at you, Cameron) could retire and form policy committees, churning out manifesto points. That’s what you want, isn’t it? Robotic representations of a manifesto, which is what you based your vote on, after all. And how can you hate a robot? It’s never smug, never condescending, never pompous.

I accept that it’s too late to make a change for May 7th, but after that, we’ve got a five year parliament to make alterations, setting the nation up nicely for 2020. Then we vote as usual, but instead, return 650 robotic cuboids, with little speakers, microphones coming out of their heads and flashing lights that represent ‘ayes’ and ‘nays’. Something like the Daleks, but inherently less scary. (Or more, depending on how you feel about politics.) We wouldn’t worry about under-representation of women or minorities, we wouldn’t worry about expenses scandals, or pointless political point scoring. It’d be perfect.

To finish, I’m now going to jump on the bandwagon with just about everyone and predict the outcome of the election: the 2020 election, though. (Bucking the trend, I realise, but run with it.) I predict a small majority for the right, despite the best efforts of the Labots as they wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Conservatrons. The UK Internet Protocol and the Liberal Digicrats would fight for a close third place. The Scotware National Program would clean up north of Hadrian’s Firewall.

In this world of robocracy, personality and posturing would have nothing to do with politics; it’d be pure policy. And when you look Prime Minitron DaV1.d.Camera right in its single, red, harsh, cold, metallic eye and it tells you in its rasping voice that it has cut the benefits you needed to live, you’ll think: ‘Ah well… we did vote for this. At least it’s not human.’

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Freddie is a human from Planet Earth. He has the power to string words together so they mean things, and is excellent at presenting facts and figures in potentially misleading ways. Freddie was legitimately stunned to be shortlisted for the Guardian's Student Columnist of the Year in 2014 and thinks mistakes were probably made.

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