There have been elections today in this country, and yours truly has felt guilty because I have not done my civic duty. It would have been the first time I voted. Truth be told, I do not want to support any of the major parties with my endorsement.
I have actually thought that little protest through, and I fall down on the conclusion that if I were to give my voice to one of the parties simply to ensure that another party didn’t win, then I would implicitly support the party I voted for.
Think about it. With my voice, if the party I voted for won, then the intention behind my vote would not be counted. That I held my nose and voted tactically, in order to prevent another party from gaining momentum, would be disregarded. We would still have people on the telly saying they had a mandate for their whole platform based on my vote.
The morally right thing, it seems to me, is to withhold my support from any party, or to spoil my ballot. Maybe spoiling my ballot would have been more appropriate since it would have been a signal, but since I wasn’t going to vote for anyone I couldn’t be bothered. It wouldn’t be counted anyway, and nobody would see the signal as it was lost in the hue and cry of victory or defeat.
Another thing that has been on my mind is that Surrey County Council has the following make-up. The Tories have 34 seats. The Liberal Democrats have 12, and Labour has 2. Even if the two main opposition parties combined into a local coalition, the Tories have an absolute majority here. Since I was never ever going to vote Tory, it seems that my vote would have been wasted anyway.
Now, the objections to this is of course that if I do not participate, then I do not change anything at all. And I concede that point, probably. But given the political make-up of this bit of England, the effect of participation is granular. A vote for Labour here would be as if it was a vote for the Raving Monster Looney Party, because they are so infinitesimally small. That would leave voting for the other three parties: Tories, UKIP and The LibDems.
No. No. No. Mark wanted me to go and vote, said it was my duty. But my duty is to be consistent, and to do what is right. It is not to allow myself to become a tool for partisans, directly or indirectly. He thought that was silly, but I stand by it. He went and voted himself. I’m sure he was one of the very few our age that went, but he’s always been keen like that. As I’ve said before, Mark is far more political than me. 🙂