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Updated 23 April 2014

How CyberShrink could win the election

CyberShrink wants to start a political party called None Of The Above. It might just win him the election.

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There's been quite a bit of fuss about registering all wannabe parties for the election. It seemed as though the authorities were discriminating against tiny groups who wanted to get on all ballot papers just for the fun of it.

Outrageously, they were demanding large deposits to show you were serious, and that you had more supporters than just your Mom and your cat. Obviously a naked political plot to prevent people in one of the long and slow queues at their local Clicks from forming an Instant Party and seeking votes to make shorter queues compulsory, as well as frustrating the honourable political ambitions of the Form 5-D class at the Hoërskool Riaan Cruywagen /Cruywagen High.

Of course this did, on the other hand, prevent ballot papers from running to several thick volumes. However, my main concern is that all the parties I saw mentioned seemed so relentlessly dull. I have no doubt that the Socialist Aardvarks for Green Economy are rather nice folks, though it's clear they'll never govern even their own backyard, and that it'd be no fun at all voting for them.

The issue of not voting

Yet the more possible it is that a party could actually form a government, the more likely it is that they wouldn't give a darn about what most of us might want or care about. Not voting at all actually strengthens the major parties, as Mr Kasrils and others have pointed out. Folks aren't too sure what would officially count as "spoiling" your ballot, and you don't want to look as though you were just too stupid to vote correctly.

I have long been looking for support to enable me to set up an official political party called " None of the Above". This would enable anyone to formally and unambiguously register that they don't care for any of the other parties, and surely we'd gather a large number of votes, and reflect the true sentiments of a majority of voters. Yet probably without the inconvenience of actually having to form a government.

Yet this wouldn't be as much fun as those who have in the past formed really daffy parties. I thought of the Yeti Independence Party, but thought - maybe not yeti, though surely their time will come.

The Monster Raving Loony Party

In Britain for many years, until he came to a really sad end, there was Screaming Lord Such, who ran the Monster Raving Loony Party and stood for election in a great many elections over the years, giving innocent pleasure to millions. I think he usually tried to run against whoever was the current Prime Minister, and part of the joy was hearing the plummy voice of an official announcing " Labour Party, 17,493 votes ;  Monster Raving Loony Parry, 27 votes. "

I understand that there's now a new British alternative candidate, Kevin Philip Bong, of the Slightly Silly Party. He could get my vote.

If I can get NOTA ( None of the Above) up and running, it won't be my first successful venture into satirical politics. Years ago when I was studying in Europe, I grew weary of the many small, noisy and boring political groups and societies that cluttered the notice-boards. Their lofty political theories seemed far more important to them than the actual problems of actual men and women.

The Apathetic Society

Yet it was also obvious that the majority of students were basically apathetic, often profoundly so, and cared rather a lot about not actually caring much at all. So I founded the social equivalent of NOTA, the Apathetic Society. And it caught on. I announced that due to the obvious special nature of our concerns and those of our supporters, anyone who didn't actually and formally apply for exemption, would automatically become a member. Inaction would imply consent. Of course we provided no return address to which people might send such applications, to save them the trouble of responding. Significantly, we received no complaints.

We would set and announce dates and times when the society would definitely not meet. Sometimes we'd arrange a special Theatre or Movie evening, when absolutely none of us would go to see an identified grossly over-rated production.

Maybe best of all, I could write to various pompous and self-loving politicians and celebrities, on a nice and impressive letterhead, and politely invite them not to come and speak to us in the following month. If they were very busy people, I'd offer them a choice of three dates on which not to come. We gleefully received some nicely confused replies from them, though none showing a flicker of wit.

Eventually, we heard from other Universities where Apathetic branches had been formed, or at least announced, across North America and Scandinavia. I was informed that I had been appointed International President for Life because a majority of branches had concluded that nobody else would even be even remotely interested in running for that office. I forgot to refuse the honour.

The 1967 Annual Dinner was postponed, and hasn't been held yet. But unlike all of the other campus political groups, we maintained a large membership, because nobody could be bothered to resign.

Maybe it’s time we charged onto the SA political arena with something similar – but would anyone notice?

Professor MA Simpson is Health24's CyberShrink. A South African psychiatrist, he qualified in medicine and in psychiatry in Britain. He has been a senior academic, researcher, and Professor in several countries. Read more of his columns.

 
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