Thursday, 3 May 2012


Today is one of those rare days in which I do something which makes me feel like a proper grown-up. I went to the local polling booth and voted in the local elections.

I have my doubts about just how democratic the process is anymore (a discussion for another post, maybe), but nonetheless that feeling is dwarfed by the sense of importance attached to voting itself. It's a hard-fought-for right, after all, and we're seeing enough of those being eroded (legal aid for those on welfare benefits; a health service free at the point of use thanks to NI contributions, etc) by the smash-and-grab tactics of the coalition government.

I'm well aware of the difference between local elections and the general election, yet it's hard not to want to vote according to my view of the political situation nationally.

So I looked at the ballot paper.

Conservative? Never. Never have, never will. I couldn't ever, and my levels of sheer disgust at Conservative policy - their attacks on the poor and less fortunate, their elevation of monetary value above that of society, their use of austerity as an ideological lever - are higher than they've ever been.

Lib Dem? Before the last general election, they seemed like one of the few remotely credible choices. Untainted by any association with the recent interventionist policies (i.e. wars) of the last decade or so - but then, untainted by any association with office. Seemingly left of centre, and certainly left of New Labour. Obviously since the election it's been a totally different story and they are forever tainted as the enablers in the coalition government, over and above any restraints they claim to have brought to bear on the Conservatives.

Labour? No. See above in terms of interventionist policies. Also, I always considered myself a "natural" Labour voter, if not necessarily a tribal one. Left of centre, from a working class background, and hence feeling all the more betrayed by the last Labour administration in its abandonment of the working classes and social democratic principles to the extent that so many of their policies are barely distinguishable from those of the Conservative.

UKIP? Don't make me laugh.

Any others on the ballot paper I confess to remaining ignorant of, and therefore don't consider it a good use of my vote.

So, for the first time in my life, I spoiled the ballot paper. I'd rather not have, but I didn't feel I had any choice. Again, what the respective parties offer on a local level does not do enough to deviate from my thoughts about them in principle and I couldn't vote for a local candidate if I have such strong feelings about their party on a national level.

So today I rendered my vote invalid, as an expression of my sheer disgust. I'm not happy about it, but I felt I had no alternative.


Beth said...

At ours there were a mere three choices.
And 'the Focus Team'.

Yep, our Lib Dems are so ashamed of their national party that they didn't actually use their name.

I'm kind of half impressed by that and half disgusted.

(also, I kind of made sure my vote was cancelled out by the hubby's vote. it felt undemocractic, but i couldn't think of a better choice.)

trousers said...

Hi Beth, I wouldn't say that was undemocratic. Just...strategic :)

But..the Focus Team? That's quite something! I'm disgusted with the whole lot of them, and feel disenfranchised.

nmj said...

I totally understand, Trews.

Agree with everything you say.

I really swithered who to vote for (like you, would never, ever vote Tory, and can never again vote Libdem, and totally pissed off w Lab), so I went for SNP 1, Green 2, and Lab 3 (though Lab was an afterthought). We had STV system here (not sure how it is in England?).

I'm not a big SNP supporter but it was an option - no more, no less.

I have no idea how I will vote in the referendum on Scottish independence but I figure nothing could be worse than the jamboree of swines who are currently leading UK.

And am so glad Lib Dems have been gubbed.

trousers said...

Hi nmj, it sounds like you had perhaps slightly more in terms of options than I felt that I did - at least you had the SNP as an option though I appreciate what you say about them. Plus, we have FTP system - one X and that's it.

I just hope that this marks a significant downturn in the fortunes of the jamboree of swines, to borrow your phrase. It would be fun to watch things get steadily worse for them, if it weren't for the all-too-real human cost that their policies are responsible for.

Fire Byrd said...

Oooh you're a wicked man.
Fortunately I didn't have to vote or I may have been as wicked as well.
What a bloody shower politicians are now.
You can hardly get a cigarette paper between any of them.
I don't know we can possibly vote in a general election when the choice is so appalling.
And no-one seems trustworthy.

trousers said...

Wicked, or principled ;) There was, really, no choice - which is the crux of it on many levels.

And yes, I agree - you can hardly get a cigarette paper between them, and our trust has been betrayed far too many times now.

Carol said...

I hear you loud and clear and couldn't agree more! Sad state of affairs!

C x

D.J. Kirkby said...

But at least you recognised the fact that we live in a democrat and took the time to turn up and make your views know.

trousers said...

Hi Carol and Deej. Yes a sad state of affairs. I see your point, DJ, but I believe that we don't truly live in a representative democracy any more. Certainly the political classes don't seem to represent anything other than their own careerist interest and those of big business etc.