While on Bitter sorry Twitter earlier today, I was struck by how puerile the argument that we “must” vote really is in the British General Election context. This is the bit that Russell Brand always leaves out, because once he gets on a riff and someone contradicts him, Russell does that thing I do at supper parties: he says something bonkers to be ironic…and then can’t help defending it.
But ‘in the British General Election context’ is the core of the matter. In UK local elections, I was voting and active right up to the time I left, because at the local level there is always someone with an independent view and some original ideas who stands a chance of getting elected. And were I a US citizen I’d sometimes vote in a Presidential Election, because there too one usually gets a minority candidate who is against the entire closed-shop system: Ross Perot and Ralph Nader for example. I’d also vote for candidates who beat the Convention system – like Jimmy Carter. The bastards didn’t let Carter get anywhere as a President, but he was a brave man with genuine ideals.
This time around, I adopted a sort of slogan for my anti-voting shtick: ‘Anything could happen, but nothing will change’. Because I didn’t pay oodles of dosh to get this obvious piece of genius out there, it didn’t get, um, out there. in fact it was so not out there, it was the world’s first slogan with chronic agoraphobia. But one thing I did finally do was lay out the six issues I care about, none of which the key election contenders seemed to GAF about.
This is the bottom line: if the system effectively disenfranchises me, why should I pander to that system by voting for its slaves? Yes yes I know, Hairgel Mirage says he is going to change it, but I’ve grown tired of listing the bleeding obvious reasons why he won’t – ranging from monied donations via slippery behaviour within UKIP, to swanning about in a camel hair coat.
What does strike me as funny about UKIP MEPs is their stance on not voting on issues that they see as reinforcing the structures of an EU they wish to demolish: it’s a wonderful exercise in muddled doubled standards. Please vote for me to be your representative in the EU so I can then, on your behalf, refuse to take part of opportunities to weaken it.
In the end it boils down to this: Tory influence in the media, and Labour strength’s among the former industrialised seats, means that – whatever I or indeed millions of voters decide to do – they and the Cleggies will still be there come Friday May 8th. There is no real choice available for me – and the circa 45% who won’t vote – and so we won’t.
Now if there’s one thing most politicians have trouble with, it’s getting past a mirror without looking in the thing. So I invite them this evening to look in the next available mirror and say, out loud: