(I hadn't meant to take this much of a break from writing during the better part of April. It just seemed to happen that way. First I was in Taipei, then I was coping with jet lag (which didn't make me sleepy tired by destroyed my cognitive abilities), and finally we arrive at this week! )
So, #28daysofwriting round 2 post 16! My, my March has gone on a long time!
I hadn't meant to talk about Taipei in my #28daysofwriting posts but my slow debrief (if that is the right word) after my visit, has led me to some observations. One in particular jumps out at me since we are in the lead up to a general election. In 2012, the voter turn out in Taiwan was over 76%. For presidential election in 2000, it was 82%. In the UK, it was 65%. In 2001, it was 59%.
I've been pondering what conclusions to draw from this. I did notice that Taiwan's voter turnout has generally been on the increase, especially since the death of Chiang Kai-shek. The voter turnout in western countries such as the UK, the United States, Canada and France, have gone from high turn out in the 50s and 60s to ever increasing lows.
When I was in Taipei, a lady I met talked about life under the nationalist Chinese and Chiang Kai-shek and compared it to the North Korea of today. Since people have been able to vote freely and had options other than the one party, they have taken to democracy whole heartedly! Do we need a few years of a dictatorship to shake off our lethargy and indifference, (and I do talk here of the west as a whole and not the UK in particular), and make us realise the value and importance of our democratic freedoms.
Oh dear, I do sound as if I am beating a drum here. I don't mean to. Furthermore, I do understand how this could have happened. Slowly the major parties have been merging and at one point during the labour government under Tony Blair, Labour seemed more conservative than the conservatives.
Scotland seemed this fall to have rediscovered enthusiasm for the democratic process and I do envy them the excitement that seems to have been generated.