The Word Rabbit

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This article was written on 09 Mar 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

On not voting

I don’t plan to vote in the forthcoming EU referendum just as I don’t plan to vote in any future General Elections. Twitter has been getting predictably steamy about this, with people saying that I don’t have a right to an opinion and that I ought to be ashamed of myself as people died to give me and people the right to vote. Living in a democracy is a fine thing, they say. I ought at least to appreciate it and play my part. Here’s my response.

The MP of the area I’m moving to is Nicholas Soames. At the last election, he received 32,268 votes. To put this into perspective, second place won 7,982 and third came UKIP. And for the area I’m living in now, Anna Soubry won 24,163 votes and the Labour candidate got 19,876. You don’t need a degree in rocket science to know that whether I voted, stayed at home or pedalled around on a unicycle playing the kazoo, the result would have been the same. Soames and Soubry would have been elected, the Green candidate would have received one more vote and electoral history would have remained the same. No overall change.

Under PR, the proportion of votes cast counts, in which case, I could be tempted. Under first past the post, every vote which doesn’t go to the winner is wasted. This does not commend itself to me as a wise or just system and, as there is no legal mandate for me to participate, I choose not to. Were there such a mandate, I’d either pay the fine or, if it was financially prohibitive, I’d serve whatever jail sentence was called for by the law. As an alternative, I’d draw a huge, spunking cock on the ballot paper and nobody would be any the wiser.

With regard to me not having a right to an opinion? Balls. Show me the law where that is written and I’ll have a liar stood in front of me. If people under the age of eighteen are allowed an opinion and people who cast a vote that wasn’t for the winning party are allowed an opinion, then I get one as well. Theirs seems like a cheap way of saying ‘you say or think things I disagree with, so I’ll discount what you say,’ and, while we’re about it, it’s also a way of avoiding thinking about the electoral system and the mechanics of it. Call into question something people believe in, and some of them will start getting edgy.

Finally, there’s the ‘some people died to give you the vote’ faction. The people I’m aware of who campaigned for the right to universal suffrage did so to give people the choice. Nobody wanted laws to be passed forcing people to vote and, by that simple metric, I elect not to take part. While I know that the suffragettes had to fight, hard, for the vote, I’m not a woman. While I also know that the working class, like, me had to lobby hard, I like none of the available options and I’m not going to participate in some, gibbering pantomime because it gratifies a weak rhetorical trope.

The add on to this is that I simply don’t like England. I’d live elsewhere, but my partner likes it here and is involved with a million community projects while jobs for English language copywriters overseas are bastard hard to find. This means that, whatever people choose to do with their vote and their country, particularly pertinent for the EU referendum, is none of my business. Whether the foul and stinking place decides to remain in Europe, in which case, I’d just throw it out, or stomp off in a huge snot, doesn’t move me. It’s yours. Do with it as you wish.

My hopes are that the UK leaves, Scotland goes independent and then joins the EU, at which point, I’ll hopefully move to Scotland. I want no part of what happens next. Were it possible to take a different EU citizenship, I’d do that, but sadly it seems impossible. My sole engagement with UK politics, particularly now that Corbyn has decided to back the legalisation of prostitution and I’ve realised that I want the SNP to wipe Labour out north of the border, is to laugh at the whole, sorry carnival as it shambles past. I can do no more.

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