Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage


This article was written on 14 Apr 2017, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Why I don’t vote

A blog about why you don’t do something is always going to be a difficult sell, but I’m going to persevere because this something is fairly fundamental and I want to make my reasons very, very clear. I will be forced, in the course of arguments on Twitter, to show people this post for some while yet,  and I will get the responses that I normally get, which will include such pearls of wisdom as ‘people died for you’ and ‘you have no right to an opinion.’ With that in mind, here it is.

I don’t vote. I’m not evangelical about not voting and it’s not a position that I feel compelled to force on anyone else. You may think differently, act differently or hate my rationale, but having heard the arguments to the contrary, none have ever made me reconsider. The most simple fact is that, as I live in a safe Tory Parliamentary seat and even the local council are true blue, there really is no point in me bothering at all. Whoever the Tories put forward will win and my lonely vote will make absolutely no difference to that.

As well as being substantially pointless, I don’t ever remember a more ideologically barren period. May is obviously vile for reasons I don’t need to rehearse, and Jeremy Corbyn has taken Labour from dark horses to the glue factory in a bewilderingly short space of time. We no longer have an official Opposition because the head of it is a walking, talking PR disaster who is trailing around allegations of anti-Semitism like a fart that won’t ever dissipate. As to the Lib Dems, they have nine MPs and about as much chance of holding the balance of power again as I do of becoming Prime Minister. To wit, none at all. Their entire Parliamentary presence wouldn’t fill a minibus, but could perhaps be squeezed into a Renault Espace, and they’re an alternative?

Of course they aren’t. So between May, Corbyn and Farron, whose unique selling point its that he isn’t May or Corbyn, there’s nobody to actively vote for. And when all the options on the menu are some version of excrement straight from the Bristol Stool Chart, I think I’ll pass. And as a final disincentive, as the final thing that shows the whole system up as an inordinately pointless farce is the fact that Britain, since time immemorial has been wedded to First Past the Post, or FPTP.

Under this system, your vote only counts if you happen to have voted for the winning party. If you didn’t, you may as well have stayed at home and fashioned your ballot card into a paper plane or done what I always do and either burned the fucker or stuck it in the recycling. There is no value in voting for a loser, because we don’t have Proportional Representation and because, absent a lost deposit, there’s as much value in getting one vote as there is in getting 49,999 if the winner happens to receive 50,000.

Confronted by the impenetrability of electoral mathematics, people have appealed to emotion as a reason to vote, pointing out things such as the Peterloo Massacre and the gradual and grudging extension of suffrage to working class people as a reason why I should participate. Had they met my great granddad who was perilously close to 99 when he died and who insisted that the local Labour Party sent a car to take him around to the polling station so that he could vote for them, then they’d no doubt use that as well.

None of it, however, moves me in the slightest. Nobody is talking about restricting suffrage or taking the right to vote away altogether. In fact, I’ve even tried to have my name withdrawn from the electoral roll and been told, in no uncertain terms that I cannot. It remains wholly sacred, as far as I can see and my failure to turn up at the village hall and cast my vote for some gurning nobody will not change that. In fact, the volume of people who haven’t voted, as in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in which about six people showed up across the county and elected someone whose name nobody can remember, may persuade people the system is broken beyond repair, but this, it should be noted, is not my main reason for not voting. I stay at home purely because there is no good reason to do otherwise. However many other people choose to do the same and what people choose to believe that ‘says’ is neither here nor there.

There will be elections here for the local council on May 4 at which the Conservatives will win by a large majority and the world will continue to turn. More importantly, nothing will change the national picture, at all, because the Comrade Corbyn’s antics mean that, in England at least, we are now living in a one party state and participation, if you do not happen to be in that particular party or support that particular party, is irrelevant. I shall continue to have opinions, and to air them, as there is no legal instrument which prevents you from doing this if you do not vote, and will look upon the doings of politicians with bored resignation. Just don’t ask me to take part in a glorified beauty contest, that’s all.

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