Posts Tagged ‘Stumps’

The compulsion to vote or the freedom not to?

July 21, 2020

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On my morning’s coffee, tête-à-têtes (some with masks) with friends at Bowral Cricket Stumps cafe I was surprised to hear that many thought the law on compulsory voting was normal and mainly world-wide. I pointed out that the list of countries with compulsory voting on punishment made Australia mixed with some strange company.

Here a list of countries with compulsory voting enforceable by punishment.

Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Nauru, NORTH KOREA, Samoa, Singapore, Uruguay.

The rest of he world is free to vote or not. Some have compulsory voting but not enforced s a Egypt, Albania, Turkey, Thailand, Mexico.

While one of the freedoms of democracy is that we can eat and drink what we like, including copious Cokes, and kilos of sugar, fat, apples and much more. We have total freedom to take or leave it. We also have freedom of speech, press and so much more again. We are loaded with freedoms. Yet it strikes me as odd that we do not have that freedom when it comes to voting. We are not free not to vote.  Most of the world’s democratic countries leave voting to, hopefully a well informed population. America does not have compulsory voting , they have a ‘right’ to vote but also the freedom not to vote. They also have a ‘right’ to bear arms but no one is forced to use those arms. ( sometimes it seem like it with 40 000 killed annually by this ‘right’.)

Disgruntled Voter (@jasondulak) | Twitter

An argument against voluntary voting is that it makes people politically lazy and uninterested. That does not bear out either.

Here copied from ‘The Advocate’. During the (second) last federal election.

“New polling by Essential absolutely belled the cat on this phenomenon.

It asked respondents if they knew who the federal treasurer was, without looking it up.

More than one third (36 per cent) did not know it was Scott Morrison.

Thirteen per cent thought it was ex-treasurer Joe Hockey, 3 per cent thought it was Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and 20 per cent said they did not know.

With no disrespect to the 36 per cent, why should they be forced to the polling booth if they don’t  take enough interest to know who holds the second most important role in the government?”

I was surprised that at my café group most thought that compulsory voting was normal and all over the world, and fiercely opposed the idea that it perhaps ought to be choice. Patriotic feathers were ruffled. When asked if I thought it essential to have compulsory voting I said I did not believe it. My backgrounds and that of my dearest late Helvi, ( The Netherlands and Finland) are from very staunch democratic and liberal countries. We grew up with the freedom to vote or not.

To punish people for not voting strikes me as odd.

Of course, a disclaimer; I vote with passion at every possible election. Gerard.

 

The importance of Grape Hyacinths.

June 2, 2020

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Grape hyacinth.

Even though many of the restrictions on the Corona virus have been lifted I noticed still a kind of hesitance amongst people. There hangs a fear to getting close, and all those tape and red crosses on floors and grounds isn’t conducive to closeness. Park seats even have crosses on them. I still am afraid to stand or sit anywhere. A few times at the supermarket I noticed people backing away when I walk past them. There are sign still asking people to respect and consider each other and that we are all in the same position. Patience and consideration are being tested.

I took my daughter last night to the railway station and there too were sign to stay clear of each other. The public toilets were locked and so was the waiting room. There were solid padlocks on everything that had a door. It was freezing cold and we could not be further away from other people because she was the only person on the whole rail station. She told me she was also the only passenger in the rail wagon she had jumped in.

Isn’t it sad how the US is now tearing itself apart? China now does not have to do anything to show that democracies can fail miserably. This is why in order to keep sane we might have to move away from both political and human made failures. I can think of no better way than to concentrate on the good and honest earth;  The joy of making soils with cow, chicken, turkey, and mushroom compost, all of which I have been investing in. I wrote previously that I had planted a whole lot of grape hyacinths bulbs some weeks ago. And, even though we are just at the beginning of winter, the advice on planting bulbs was during late autumn, and they now have started, albeit very gingerly, rearing their little heads poking the soil. I risked pneumonia darting outside in my shirt and socks to take these pictures. It was freezing with a strong wind and just 8C.

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The irises have also reared up.

I had to add gas heating to my town house as the reverse cycle ducted aircon just wasn’t doing its job. I am not of such a stoical disposition to enjoy cold. Some do, though. It always surprises me that during these wintry gales and frosty morning I see some walking about in shorts, t-shirts and thongs. What’s wrong with them? Perhaps it is my old age which doesn’t really matter unless you are a cheese.

So, now that I am settled in my new place, I can look forward to a nice garden, good friends, (including the softer ones) and my Café meetings at the Bradman Cricket grounds called ‘Stumps’, world famous cricket grounds. Life is good.

I’ll leave you with this picture of my cyclamen.

 

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