Wednesday, 4 May 2016

I won't be voting, thank you

Joyce MacMillan was right
I have voted a few times in my life. I never liked it much. I mean, I think democracy's a good idea and everything, only on those rare occasions that I have voted for a political party who have, like, won, they have quickly betrayed me and gone back on the policies that I wanted them to enact. And before we start, the right not to vote is part of the freedom to vote, m'okay.

I would vote Green, but the Patrick Harvey issue still bothers me. He's too much front and forward all the time, and I'd need a short memory not to recall what happened the last time a left-wing had one man giving it all that, with the rest of the party in his shadow. Nothing against wee Pat in himself, just a worry about a cult of personality. 

About a year ago, or after the referendum possibly, I did ask my friends to suggest which party I ought to support. On Facebook, and no-one stepped up to evangelise for any party. It was that time when everyone seemed to be joining some party or another (okay, mostly Greens and the SNP, but still...). I can't get past the idea that most political debate on social media is virtue signalling. 

Problem is, I am a reformist anarchist: this makes me disinclined to vote, and not voting, in a zen way or something, is the same as voting. Most political parties are too right wing for me, and I include socialists in this. I'd like to replace voting with a spot of activism: I campaigned for Govanhill Baths back in the day, and that, for a while, was satisfying. 

I call a plague on all the houses of politics, all of them. I'd like to see some collective action against the house of Cameron and Boris - it annoys me when Republicans rant against the monarchy when our elected politicians are more actively noxious - but I don't see the existing parties achieving this. The SNP has strands of neoliberal thought within its wide membership and policies and, while I was interested in the feminist party for a bit, they haven't got their message across to me. 

Time to roll up and tell me why I am wrong. I know I am: simultaneously believing that the state is inherently corrupt* and not wanting a revolution (on the grounds that they never work) is an unstable position. But fans of political parties: you bore me and have failed to convince me that I ought to do anything today that I don't do the rest of the time. 

*or perhaps... 'the current condition of the state has been corrupted'. I might think that the notion of the nation state is inherently corrupted.


  1. I understand your frustration and I know a lot of people don't vote as a protest but feel it is a better idea to go and spoil your paper. Spoiled papers make a statement. They are counted and recorded the same as regular votes. Abstainers are disregarded. If you have an increasing percentage of spoiled papers, the parties need to start taking note.

  2. Thank you, Caroline, for taking the time to comment. A few people have suggested that I spoil my ballot... and that attracts me. The next election (the referendum for Brexit) might not be the moment to encourage this strategy (I think that there is more at stake than in even a Scottish Parliament election), but I might write 'Why I am going to Spoil My Ballot' next time.

  3. It's an interesting concept to consider, the spoiled ballot...

    Democracy is viewed as a way of everyone having their voice heard, but when no party speaks for you, what do you do? Bow out and hope for the second coming? Why is there no "None of the above" option on the ballot?

    I can certainly confirm that I would have ticked that box at least once a few weeks ago. Democracy isn't inclusive, it's exclusively for the loudest, biggest voices and can't carry those with less financial backing.

    Many of my friends were members and supporters of RISE and were predicted to turn a modest campaign into possible list vote MPs but that didn't happen. However over 30000 people voted for them. It's never going to support fringe voters so why bother at all if you can't let them know this?