I don’t vote. I tried it once and didn’t like it so I can’t see the point of doing it again. The last time I voted was during the heady days of ’97 when Tony Blair promised us change and I was swept along in the excitement. Although the dream soon started to come apart, I clung to the idea that Labour were better than the Tories right up until the war in Iraq when, as with the rest of my generation, I realised they were all as bad as each other. Since then my politics have gone all over the place and I just can’t envisage any one person, let alone a whole political party, appealing to me. In fact, I wouldn’t even vote for myself.
I’m absolutely sick of these people who suggest I have some sort of moral duty to be involved in the political system. Why sign up to something you think is rotten to the core?
As I understand it the arguments run something like this:
a) If you don’t vote you have no right to complain when things go wrong.
b) If you don’t vote you’ll let extremists get in.
c) People died for your right to vote.
All of these arguments are clearly nonsense.
a) Firstly, the idea that I have no right to complain about how my taxes are spent doesn’t hold any water. There was no ‘opt out’ on the last tax return I filled in. I’m bound by law to pump money into this system. That’s why I have a right to complain about it. Casting a vote implies I consent to being taxed and suggests I support these people who spend the money I earned. I don’t. To say that because I don’t support the system I’m not allowed to criticise it is the very essence of totalitarianism.
b) I’m not responsible for the people who vote for extremists. They can take responsibility for their own actions, thanks. Let’s be clear about this, the political system in the UK is geared against fringe politics and “extremists”. We’re very unlikely to see the political elite loosen their grip on power anytime soon. In the event that, for example, the BNP were about to take office perhaps I would vote in order to stop that from happening. Until such time arrives I’m not swayed by the idea that I should go and assent to be ruled by anyone simply because they are the least worst option.
c) People have died for all sorts of causes I don’t support it doesn't make them any more worthy, the same is true for voting. The argument that a cause is more worthwhile simply because people have died for it is moronic and exactly the sort of logic that inspires suicide bombers, religious nut jobs and street gang battles. Anyone who puts it forward should consider that first.
Notice that all the above reasons which are supposed to make me want to vote are very negative. Instead of being inspired by visions of how great the world will be if I do vote I’m being coerced to via the attraction of having a moan, the fear that it’ll be bad for me if I don’t, or finally the suggestion that people being killed makes it mandatory.
People who think they support democracy should learn to deal with the fact that the majority of us (ie those like me who do not vote) have just got bored of pretending it’s going to do any good. It won‘t. Sorry to be the one to break that to you. Tomorrow I'm going to explain a few things about The Easter Bunny...