Select Page

Oh Good! Another Fucking Election!

Oh Good! Another Fucking Election!

Voting: Such Fun, Eh?

With the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, the General Election in 2015, the EU Membership Referendum in 2016 and the upcoming Local Elections, you have to conclude that we Britons just love voting. No doubt, Theresa May, tired of babbling on about how the country was coming together in an orgy of unity, thought to herself that there could be no better way to heal societal divisions than more fucking voting.

Ostensibly, she seeks a mandate for her rock-hard, already dripping, throbber of a Brexit. If a 52/48 mandate for a course of action that was never actually put to the vote isn’t enough for her, then I doubt a General Election will indeed give her the go-ahead to go balls deep. In 2015, the Conservatives won 36.9% of the popular vote. Under our ludicrous first-past-the-post system, having little more than a third of the votes allows you to form a majority government. That seems fair, doesn’t it?

Perhaps she merely wanted to get in on the action? The Dutch had an election not too long ago. The French elections are currently ongoing. The Germans have their federal elections in September. Clearly, we’re the odd one out, and those dastardly Europeans cannot have all the fun! Maybe none of this is about Brexit? Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn certainly believes it isn’t; it’s about bank holidays and trains.

General Election 2017: The Empire Bores Us All

For May, the General Election does distract the public from the Conservative election fraud scandal. Thirty Tory MPs are currently under investigation for failing to declare their expenses for 2015 correctly. Therefore, an election serves a purpose other than gaining some mandate for the Great British Wank Off. Mainstream media attention is diverted from the scandal, while simultaneously giving the Tories the chance to re-contest the seats against the backdrop of a wider vote. Clever.

A General Election also halts the Liberal Democrat resurgence. Council elections have tended to go the Lib Dems way over the past year. They have gained a greater number of seats than all other main parties combined. Furthermore, as seen in the Richmond by-election, the Lib Dems are capable of overturning large majorities when standing on a pro-EU ticket. Only a few days before May announced her plan to force us all to sift through yet more political bullshit on Facebook for two months, reports suggested the Lib Dems were poised to win Manchester Gorton and take their tenth seat in the Commons.

Silencing the Opposition

If the Liberal Democrats were to pull off a comprehensive local election victory and take a few more Commons seats in by-elections, the #LibDemFightBack would gain wider credibility. It could also be enough to convince fervent Remain supporters that there was indeed a viable alternative to the political ping-pong game of Tory vs. Labour that we’ve seen for the past century. All people need is the belief, and suddenly the FPTP advantage is not quite enough. Better to nip this shit in the bud. Afterall, Lib Dems winning seats in by-elections is one thing. By-elections and local elections are much the same: nobody really gives a fuck.

These votes are the perfect opportunity to make that protest vote because the stakes are relatively small. We might vote for our local MP, but few of us ever interact with them. I’d imagine a significant proportion of the electorate couldn’t even name their local MP. Regardless of the actual format of the election, we’re voting for what party, and what Prime Minister we want. The stakes are much higher in a General Election because, unlike the rarest of by-elections, you can force a change in government.

Governments survive on the illusion of choice and quiet acceptance of the status quo. We do not have a truly representative system. Instead, our system showcases the political leanings of constituencies coalesced into a whole. If you live in a Labour/Tory marginal and vote Green, your vote doesn’t matter. That is why Gina Miller and Tony Blair have been advocating a tactical voting drive to oust the Hard Brexit backing Conservative government led by Theresa May. In some areas, this might work. May’s Maidenhead seat was pro-Remain, and if the pro-EU sentiment is strong enough, then she could lose it. That seems unlikely, however, but not impossible.

Tactical Voting is Not Without Flaws

The problem with tactical voting is that it is also unrepresentative. You end up voting against the party/candidate you don’t want, as opposed to voting for the one that you do. When your goal is to topple the current government by any means necessary, this makes sense. However, simply because you loathe the Tories, it doesn’t mean that you will dislike Labour any less. If only there were a better system; perhaps something where the people were represented proportionally to the popular vote?

What makes this whole thing even more unpalatable right now is that this is likely the most important General Election for some time. Regardless of what Corbyn says, this is about Brexit, the type of Brexit we want and whether we want to have input on the final deal. Leaving the EU will have dramatic implications for the foreseeable future. It may turn out to be a great thing for the UK, it may end up destroying the UK as anti-union sentiment grows in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and it may end up being suicidal. I, for one, believe this deserves more consideration than a snap election called with little notice.

More than Just Brexit

At the same time, Corbyn is right in that this election is not about Brexit; rather, it’s not solely about Brexit. The Tories would turn this into a one-policy vote because it suits their agenda. The vast majority of opinion polls show that the people support the NHS; something that the Tories are slowly privatising. Individuals who care about freedom and liberty cannot be happy with the laws enacted by this government. Those with a heart surely cannot support the repeated attacks on the most vulnerable in society? If you truly wish to heal social divisions, then the divisive rhetoric of May and her cronies cannot be something that sits well with you. The Tories would say they’re the party of Brexit because they do not want you to consider what else they stand for at this point.

I believe this election is cynical. May doesn’t care about her mandate. She intends to capitalise on polling that consistently shows Corbyn to be unpopular. In doing so, she hopes to strengthen the Conservative majority so that she faces fewer challenges in Parliament. Let’s not ignore her utter disdain for our democratic procedures; they are nought but an annoyance to her.

Overturning the Democratic Deficit

The democratic deficit of a General Election, where the majority get what they don’t want, is the perfect ruse to cement her position. Doing so allows her to continue her assault on civil liberties, as we’ve seen with the Investigatory Powers Act, the Digital Economy Bill, the new version of the Espionage Act and her plans to scrap the Human Rights Act. If the Lib Dems retake some pro-Remain seats in the South West, it’s an acceptable loss as she expects to take pro-Leave seats in former Labour strongholds.

If people want to strike at the Tories, if they want to save the NHS from privatisation, if they’re fed up, like I am, of freedoms sacrificed and of political rhetoric designed to exclude, then they need to hit back at this system. The first step is for the 15m or so who didn’t vote in 2015 to vote this time around. Call May’s bluff and make her regret this cynical ploy. She would not have called the snap election if she didn’t think it was already in the bag. Show her that the people she serves are not the hapless morons she considers them to be. If you voted to Leave to take back control, then surely you’d want to take back control from the increasingly authoritarian May and her disgust for all who oppose her single-minded thinking?

Furthermore, just have your say. You’ve earned it. Even if you disagree with everything I have to say about May and the Conservatives and are the most ardent Conservative supporter, make what little voice you have heard! Even if our system is a big hairy arse with dingleberries, democracy needs an engaged electorate. I’m not one of these people who believes that those who don’t vote have nothing to complain about because I understand how jaded people get with politics. However, I do believe, now more than ever, it is vital that people tick a box. The system discourages people from using their vote because it fosters the belief that nothing ever changes. This self-fulfilling prophecy must end and once it does, perhaps we can begin the push for real representation?

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before the Dawn’s Light

Hidden Horror

Subscribe

Recent Tweets

Copyrighted Image