Over the last few days, a dozen or more of us have been enjoying a spirited Twitter debate about ‘to vote or not to vote’. For me, the answer will always depend on the political choice, the voting system, and the issues involved.
On the contemporary UK landscape, I have been disenfranchised for many years now. That’s because:
1. A ridiculously unrepresentative voting system dooms the entry of new players into the market. The denial of my right to tick a box called ‘None of the above’ is an obvious ploy by the Establishment to retain their oligarchic privilege in perpetuity.
2. Of the two ‘major’ Parties, one advocates a laissez-faire economic system that has failed wherever it’s been tried. The other fails to oppose many of the elements of that system, while at the same time offering a set of unaffordable and opportunistic policies that were tried and failed before. Both accept globalism, and neither are avowedly mutualist communitarian. Both have paymasters that do not represent the electoral mainstream.
3. The single plank in any acceptable Party’s manifesto with which I agree is that of secession from the basket case formally known as the EU. This is put forward by UKip, a collection of muddled and accident-prone wannabe MPs led by a spiv who swans about in a camel-hair coat and guffaws into his bitter.
4. None of the current alternatives want all contributions to political Parties made illegal. This is so obviously the reason why the two main runners work for special interests (not the majority) I’m amazed anyone even wonders why I don’t vote any more.
5. I will vote in any democratic election where there is genuine choice. Don’t ask me to vote in a corporacratic election where choice is limited to six versions of wrong-headedness.
6. It is not I who should be asked to justify my abstention: it is the job of our current crop of oligarchs and fraudsters who should be asked to explain why more than 2 in 5 people don’t vote.
And don’t put to 2 in 5 down to apathy: faced with a real chance of dumping the appalling Neil Hamilton 25 years age, 89.2% of the electorate turned out.
Today, a political row is raging in the UK about Grant Shapps – the chairman of the Conservative Party: a man who made money as an online fraudster, and then used bombast, influence and his grubby solicitors to try and shut up those who were on to him. He is being defended by a Health Secretary who despises the NHS, and who used undue influence in a quango to make a fortune out of his shabbily run, tax avoiding company. A man who abused his Office to give favour to a Newscorp takeover bid. A Newscorp found guilty of phone hacking on an industrial scale, whose CEO was close to the Prime Minister, and whose top editor was sent to prison, having resigned as Cameron’s press adviser.
And people are really asking me to believe that all this shady privilege and jobs for the wide-boys would stop under a Labour led Coalition….or a Tory Party in alliance with Ukip – the former having dumped its leader as too nice? Ed Miliband spent his opening weeks as Labour leader trying to lick Rebekah Brooks all over.
Offer me a viable alternative to a rotten system – and the promise of a return to the Rule of Law, depoliticised police, reduced media owner power, banned private donations and zero dependence on a corrupt EU – and you will get my vote. But please: don’t preach to me about “being in it to win it”. I will only ever be ‘in’ if there is a reasonable chance of winning.
Which is, I have to tell you, why I don’t do the lottery either: at 13.5m to 1, I don’t like the odds.
Earlier at The Slog: Unreformed banks make an unmitigated Crash inevitable