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.
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.