Don’t vote – it just encourages them

In years gone by, I deplored the above view, as articulated by Billy Connolly.

It stank of apathy, ignorance, a smack in the face of those who fought so hard for the vote.

I’ve been politically aware, and opinionated, since I was 11 years old. So far in my life, I’ve voted at every general election, and at almost all local and EU elections.

If you’ve not voted, you’ve forfeited your voice; your right to complain. So the argument went.

Yet, I didn’t really notice that I have, by degrees, completely abandoned that position over the past 3 years or so. More or less over the period Cameron has been Conservative leader, in fact. This is unlikely to be a coincidence.

Over the 18 months I’ve been blogging, I’ve explained, more or less obliquely, why I cannot vote for any of the major parties, or most of the minor ones.

So I face a choice between a tactical vote while holding my nose, or a spoilt ballot paper. The latter is ahead by several orders of magnitude.

This was all crystallised by a most commendable article from Mr Civil Libertarian, who comprehensively takes the position apart and articulates my current views with aplomb.


Tory Radio is playing the “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” card.

He mentions a twatter who argues the opposite. That twat was me.

There’s a slight problem with the reasoning he uses; namely, that it’s bollocks.

Around 40% of the electorate turn up in the past few elections. Despite this, those same people were taxed, legislated against, and controlled by the people who were elected (on a very shaky electoral system) by the remaining 60%. Apparently, those 40% have no right to complain.

40% is not voter apathy. 40% is voter disgust. And with the options we have, you can’t blame them. Yet, apparently, these people are in no position to moan about what the Government does to their lives, their money. What?

What TR fails to notice is that the opposite is in fact true. When you cross that little bit of paper, you’re accepting the terms, and the result, of the election and the system. Those who, like me, do not vote, are not consenting, either because of disgust, or because we view the system as illegitimate. It’s not the non-voters who lose any right to complain; it’s the voters.

That’s a superb opening proposition. Read on.


8 thoughts on “Don’t vote – it just encourages them

  1. No he doesn’t take it apart. He suggests none of the main parties represent his viewpoint – but then for want of a more polite word, can’t be arsed to stand himself – which allows him to continue his theme of “no one represents me”.

    Why should it be left to others to represent you? If you dont like the three parties or four or five what us stopping you or anyone at the next local election knocking on every door in a ward and standing yourself?

    The answer to that was the usual excuses. Of course it is always easier to moan and do nothing than try to do something.

    • I half agree, although one could argue that standing for election is still accepting the terms of the system.

      There’s also the matter of the poor not being able to risk losing their deposit (assuming they can find the money in the first place).

  2. I think two things need separating here: spoiling your ballot paper, and not turning up at the polling station.

    Those who are disgusted should be encouraged to spoil their ballot paper. That gives them a voice that positively rejects the system.

    Not bothering to do even this should be seen as apathetic.

  3. I am sure we wait with baited breathe.

    You dont need any deposit to stand for local or county council.

    I can accept a view that in certain areas no candidate may represent your beliefs, BUT to also say when suggested, that you may want to do something about it – by for example standing, that it’s not possible, is in effect to say…. I don’t like what’s on offer but Im not prepared to stand up and stand myself.

    So what is being said is that I want someone else to. Sorry – why wait for someone else?? If you want to change your local community don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. Do it yourself.

  4. As long as I can remember, my parents doctrine was “vote always for the party that will do the least damage”. We may not like them but realistically that the Tories. Despite the fact that I live in a safe seat I think I’ll stick with that principle

  5. None of the 5 wars that Labour took us to were in their manifestos for any election.
    Nor were the tax increases.
    Nor were the National Insurance contribution increases.
    Nor was the Islamification of Britain.
    Nor the importing of Indian workers to take British IT jobs.

    What was in the their manifesto were:
    A promise of a referendum about the EU – this did not happen

    So what the fuck is the point of voting? You can’t believe what they do put in their election manifestos, and you don’t know what they are planning to do, which they leave out of their manifestos.

    You’d have to be fukin mad to vote – it just gives them a veneer of legitimacy.

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