I have an opinion on most things. On some things, my opinion is particular strong.
One of the opinions I hold is that, given the chance, I could do a much better job at governing this great country of ours than any of those who either are trying to do so at the moment, or want to do so in the future. Yes, that may seem egotistical, but there's no reason why I should hide my light under the proverbial bushel when my light is so awesomely bright and illuminating!!
To back up the bold claim that I can govern better than anyone else, I am going to be setting out over the next few months (through the medium of this blog because I can't afford a party political broadcast) the policies that I would introduce on everything from immigration to the health service to education to law and order.
But be warned.
I have strong views on many of these issues and those views are likely to offend any lily-livered liberals who think we should just let everyone do what the hell they want and not worry about the consequences or who's going to pay for everything. Yes, you know who you are!
So, what's first in Andy's Manifesto?
I have a fairly uncluttered view on voting. As far as I am concerned, exercising an individual's right to vote MUST be a legal requirement. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. When you or I are asked to vote, then we must be legally bound to do it.
'But what about those who don't want to vote for anyone because nobody represents their values?' I hear the liberals cry. 'Forcing them to vote is an infringement on their freedom of choice!'
Well, if I had my way, every ballot paper will be given an additional option - that of 'Deliberately Spoiled'. That way, if no-one is representing your views, if no-one is offering to uphold your values and beliefs, then you can indicate this on your ballot paper by putting an x in the 'Deliberately Spoiled' box. Simple.
So why force people to vote?
Simple - too many brave men and women over the last century have sacrificed their lives to ensure we retain the right to decide who leads us. The fact that 6 out of 10 people in this country do not recognise that sacrifice and cannot be bothered to get up off their arses when the polls open is nothing short of a national disgrace, is an insult to the memory of those who gave everything to defend our freedom, and a damning indictment of the insidious malaise that has overtaken our society. It will also eliminate that intensely annoying tendency that some people have to moan about who's in power and what they're doing when they didn't even bother to vote themselves!!
So a trip to the polling station will be compulsory, and those who fail to make the effort (it's only once a year, for Christ's sake, and only once every FIVE year's for a general election!) will be fined...and it won't be the paltry $20 dollars that people get fined in Australia, it will be £500 along with the added bonus of a criminal record!
That's change number 1 to the voting system.
Change number 2 will be the abolition of postal voting. I'm afraid that if I had my way there will be no option other than to turn up at a polling station and put your x in the box of your choice. Deal with it!
The only exception to this would be those who had pre-registered for a 'home vote' (where two members of the independent body overseeing the election (and they would be independent, believe me!) would visit the individual at home to help them register their vote) - this would include the disabled, those with a medical condition and those too old or infirm to go out. Everyone else...well, it's put your shoes on and out you go.
'But why do this?' I hear the liberals cry from the cheap seats. 'Postal voting has been a huge success in ensuring people are not disenfranchised by their circumstances.'
Simple - postal votes are too open to abuse. With a postal vote, there is no way of ensuring that the individual has voted for whoever they want to vote for, without coercion or influence. How many people have someone else standing over them, pointing at the box they need to mark with one hand, waiting to slap them across the head with the other? If we don't believe that voting under duress takes place all across our nation, then we are just deluded!
That's why we need to get everyone into the sanctuary of the ballot booth. Once they're in there, it's just them, their beliefs, a ballot paper and a pencil. They can vote for whoever the hell they want in total secrecy without fear that their decision will ever be revealed to anyone.
To summarise: I believe we need to give everyone the freedom to vote as their conscience dictates, free from fear and coercion; but in doing so, we also have to make it clear that the opportunity to vote is a hard-earned privilege, not an absolute right.
So, there you have it.
The first section of what will be (if fatigue or indifference don't get the better of me in the months ahead) an undoubtedly long series of fabulous ideas and inspired policy changes that will, ultimately, make this fantastic country of ours a safe, prosperous and fair place to live...
Oh My God, did you see that...I started to use those same, hateful platitudes that our current politicians use - quick, someone stab me in the leg with a fork!!!