Thursday, May 6, 2010

There's that election thing today, yeah?

As I write this I genuinely don't know who I'm going to vote for. I've got it down to two parties but that's all I know.

But I am going to vote. And I hope that if you're a member of the electorate you do too. I'd love it if there was a high turn out for once. The theory is that a lot of people don't vote because they think there's no point because "politicians are all the same" but there's at least the possibility that voting this time might lead to electoral reform and that, even if this lot are all the same, that means next time things might be different. They might not. But they might be. And if you want them to be, you'd be foolish not to vote and find out.

That's not an endorsement of any particular party by the way. You might just as well want there to be no electoral reform... in which case there's just as good a case to be made for you to vote. And of course there are all sorts of other issues too.

It'd be great if I woke up tomorrow morning and discovered that most of my fellow countrymen had voted the same way as me. But I'd hate it if I thought anyone had voted that way because of me. I couldn't cope with the pressure. What if I was wrong? How Simon Cowell could write a front page for The Sun telling people how to vote is beyond me. Regardless of who he backed (and the fact that it was in The Sun should make it obvious) imagine being given the chance to wield such influence. I couldn't do it.

Of course there are lots of opinion pieces by lots of writers and there's no reason why Simon Cowell shouldn't throw his opinion into the mix. So maybe my point is that it just shouldn't be on the front page of a newspaper. It's not exactly the news is it? Oh, I don't know.

Look, here's a piece by Johann Hari from today's Independent. I liked it. I liked it a lot. But it hasn't persuaded me how to vote. Yet. Like I say, I genuinely don't know what I'm going to do yet.

But the key phrase for me was this: "democracy isn't a twice-a-decade trip to the polling booth, but a constant ongoing process of monitoring and pressuring your government."

I like that. I wouldn't dream of trying to tell you how to vote. But I do think this is good advice. Whoever you vote for you should stay engaged in politics after the election. You never know, it might make it easier to choose how you vote next time.


Vicus Scurra said...

If I may pursue the apparent argument we got into over on twitter (I am not stalking you, even though you are a damned handsome young fellow), I am in broad agreement with you, but find my attitudes tinged with an overwhelming cynicism. I am not just slightly nostalgic for the days when the left had a voice in parliament, but saddened by how many intelligent young people accept the consumerist culture without question. I have voted, for a party who represent about 10% of my views, and hope that we get some electoral reform. My hopes are not in alignment with my expectations.
I expressed my views on the value of my vote here:

Anonymous said...

To all those who say that there's no point, I give you Noam Chomsky:

"Choosing the lesser of two evils isn't a bad thing. The cliché makes it sound bad, but it's a good thing. You get less evil."

Scottish Nature Boy said...

Stephen Fry was interesting (if lengthy) on this - you can read his seven (!) page blogpost here: He doesn't tell you what way to vote either (did you exect him to?). But since my granddad died to protect my right to vote, amongst other things, I do feel I ought to make the most of the opportunity. The only wasted vote is one that isn't used. Couldn't agree more about Cowell and the Sun - whatever happened to news?

maddie said...

It was a pretty clear choice for me, but I wouldn't presume to tell others how to vote. Just to vote is the thing. I live in a split household and, as you'll see from my blog, my husband and I have different coloured stickers on our front window. Still, it's a democracy, although I know I'm going to be outnumbered at the election party at my house this evening.

Jack said...

The thing I hated most about the Cowell/Sun front page is that I don't think the reasons Cowell gave is the actual reason why he's backing said party.