On the ballot paper in my region there are no less than five extremist Right-wing parties.  Six if you include the Conservatives.  Apart from that there are two centrist neoliberal parties: Labour and the Liberal Democrats.  I know a fair few very nice, likeable and principled Lib Dems (online and in real life), but as a national political force the party is part of a coalition with the Tories and, as such, constitutes a de facto Right-wing party.  So that's seven Right-wing parties of various shades running from crypto-fascist to poujadist to centre-Right - none of which has any serious quarrel with the neoliberal consensus - and one centrist neoliberal party, Labour... which is now so degraded and debased that it seperates itself from the Tories and Lib Dems by a few whiskers.  Centrism has itself been shifted so far to the right that the modern Labour party is to the Right of the pre-Thatcher Tories on many issues.

That's democracy for you.  That's apparently the best we can do.  That's the freedom I'm supposed to relish and celebrate.  What a barren wasteland of horror.  What a terrifying landscape of hatred, dishonesty, bigotry and unthinking compromise.  This is politics, supposedly.  This null, anhedonic, empty, contentless, vicious, small-minded, dead, echoing, dreamless nothingness of non-choice.  This is what the best of all possible worlds looks like.

But, I'm going to vote.  Not because I want to.  Not because I like any of the 'options'.  I don't want to.  I don't like any of the 'options'.  I consider the trip to the Polling Station to be a humiliating chore that will drain me of what self-esteem I have, that will degrade and compromise me, that will implicate me.  I feel physically sick at the prospect of ticking a box on that ballot paper.  I feel that I will be signing a contract with a panorama of bullies, agreeing to let them come and kick me in the balls any time they want, agreeing to thank them afterwards, agreeing to sit by and nod and share their guilt when they rob and exploit and lie and torture and kill.  But it has to be done.

I cannot not vote against such an artillery of closed-minded, spiteful, minority-hating, jumped-up, Little Englander swine.  I cannot not vote against the BNP and UKIP and the English Democrats, etc etc etc.  I don't expect my vote against them will change anything.  Ultimately the only thing that will prevent these scum from wreaking any havoc they get a chance to wreak will be the mass mobilisation of activists against them, will be blockades and counter-demos that stop them marching, will be barricades that stop them getting into the BBC where the corporation is drooling to promote their agenda.  Ultimately, they will only be stopped when their empty heads are acquainted with pavements.  Roll on the day.  But, meanwhile, I have to vote against them.

I also cannot not vote against the current government, which is possibly the most evil and wantonly destructive in living memory, a wrecking ball being swung through the last ruins of the social-democratic consensus, through all human decency.  It is a moral obligation - I feel - to vote against the Tories and the Yellow Tories. 

If there were no Green Party candidates in my wretched, squalid, parochial, bigoted little rural shitpit of a region, then I would have to hold my nose, gird my loins, keep a grip on my stomach in the hope of not puking up my soul, and vote Labour.  My hand might wither and drop off.  Luckily, however, there are Greens to vote for.  So I'll do that. 

If I felt for a moment that abstaining from voting would achieve anything worthwhile, I would do so.  But it won't.  I don't believe that 'the vote' is a meaningful way to change society within the smothering death grip of the rotting zombie of capitalist democracy... but my disbelief in the power of the vote is also why I disbelieve in the power of the non-vote, the withheld vote.  Piffle like that is for the likes of privileged simpletons like Russell Brand.

I'm not telling anyone else what to do.  I'm just telling you what I'm going to do.


Lucy McGough 6 years, 9 months ago

FWIW I was planning to vote Green too.

Also, I worry about you. If everything and everyone is so awful, what makes it worth fighting for?

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Gavin Burrows 6 years, 9 months ago

“but my disbelief in the power of the vote is also why I disbelieve in the power of the non-vote”

I think that's it's the fetish over the vote that finds its mirror in the fetish of the non-vote. The vote is so often raised as a prima facie proof of our “freedom”. (Even though, in my experience, the very people who make that argument will tell you seconds later they've never voted themselves and can't stand any politicians.) Which often leads to the counter-claim that the vote is an integral part of our oppression, the suggestion that people who vote are akin to collaborators and so on. I probably tended towards that sort of thinking in my younger days, sad to say.

These days its more important to me that people see the vote for what it is than whether they then go and exercise it or not. At no great surprise to anyone, I'm going to argue that power lies with a political class rather than any specific building or institution. Clearly, Cameron's background would bestow power on him, irregardless of anything that voters did or didn't do. After that, voting becomes merely a tactical question.

Personally, I'd have to say I don't really bother much with voting. I just can't see it achieving all that much. (Despite having one of the country's few sensible MPs, the Greens' Caroline Lucas.) But its not like I imagine non-voting is somehow going to bring the rotten system crashing down. There are more important things to do than voting. But then the same goes for non-voting.

While criticisms of democracy largely focus on the paltry choice between parties, the process itself seems part of the problem to me. Its individualising to the point of alienating, the very opposite of a neighbourhood getting together to deciding what they'd like to see done. Voting is often even expressed in terms of consumption, like you're purchasing a party's services. The bad content and bad form go together.

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Tallifer 6 years, 9 months ago

If Green stands alone, and there are five Rightist parties, it sounds like the Left is more united and less divided. Looks good for the Left.

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Gavin Burrows 6 years, 9 months ago

Well it can work that way. Some years ago, when the British National party were gunning for a breakthrough, the National Front developed a policy of running 'spolier' candidates against them. Sometimes your enemies do just decide to fight each other, and you can have a nice sit down and a cup of tea.

But, this time, despite the bewildering array of these Rightist parties, with their endless variety of euphemisms for 'white', I don't think that will happen. Firstly, UKIP is such a front-runner among them that the others won't really make a dent. And, as is common, the problem with UKIP isn't their sweeping to power. It's the 'mainstream' parties simultaneously denouncing them while swiping their stances. (You have to say stances. You can't really describe UKIP as having policies.) Labour say things on immigration now that are almost interchangeable with UKIP.

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Matthew Celestis 6 years, 9 months ago

I suspect the Greens would become a lot more neo-liberal if they achieved any more success.

Even as a Tory, I sympathize with your disgust. I'm appalled by the way my party panders to the xenophobia and disguised racism of UKIP.

I think part of the problem seems to be that Labour has shifted so far to the right that the Conservatives feel they have to move right-ward. I rather wish Labour would move to the Left, so we Tories can move back to the centre a bit.

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varalys the dark 6 years, 9 months ago

Since moving to Macclesfield, a constituency that has remained Tory for nearly 100 years, I find myself unable to bother voting. The right wing paries do seem to be out in full, having been left alone by all parties for the eight years I have been here, UKip have stuffed several leaflets through my letterbox, which of course went right in the bin unread. I realise that as a woman, the spectre of Emmeline Pankhurst scolds me for my apathy, but lacking a extreme leftist candidate to vote for as I have in the past, I just have finally reached the "whats the bloody point" stage of political disenchantment.

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Anonymous 6 years, 9 months ago

I ended up choosing Green over Liberal Democrat, when I decided to look at their published policies regarding Europe to decide, and only the Green party website actually had their raw policies in some easy to find location.

I tend not to pay quite so much attention to the left-right spectrum, even though it's clearly incredibly important, because economics is incredibly complicated, so my confidence in any opinions I have about it is low. Whereas on issues like Middle East wars, drug prohibition or national ID registers which put the last Labour government amongst my enemies, things seem very clear. But that might be an over-privileged position, worrying about ID cards when some people are losing their ability to feed themselves just because the latter is a more difficult problem and it's not right in my face personally.

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Anonymous 6 years, 9 months ago

>Voting Green

Fuck the Greens. Fucking NuLabour 2.0

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