Tales of idiots voting are filling the current void in politics. We won’t know about the EU election results until Monday (Scotland is set to announce after midday Monday, some places earlier). Every member of the Tory party seems to want the job of leading the party to oblivion and it’ll be a while before we even know the finalists. I’m not a party member (of anything) so I’ll have no say. So I won’t bother speculating.
The old adage ‘they didn’t know what they were voting for’ has been bandied about a lot for the last three years. Usually Remainers say it to Brexiters (and this really is starting to sound analogous to Cavaliers and Roundheads, with a useless Parliament in the middle, isn’t it?). It could be levelled at both sides, of course – you could point to the misleading bus slogan and also to the flat out denials that the EU wanted its own army. Can Remainers really claim they knew what they were voting for? Did really know in advance of Darth Thermostat’s plan for a federal EU with no separate countries and his own army to keep it all in check? He’s been quite open about all that in the last year or so. Did they know?
Does anyone actually, truly know what they are voting for in any election? Both Labour and Tory parties went into the last general election with the firm promise to deliver Brexit on time, and both of them lied. What was the point of voting for either of them, really? Actually, what’s the point of voting at all?
Twitter user dwatch related the tale of a voter overheard on a train on Thursday, proclaiming their pride in voting in the general election and hoping Nigel Farage wins. That voter is going to be disappointed to find Nigel Farage isn’t on the prime ministerial shortlist currently being drawn up.
No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in. Sage words from the Bonzo Dog Band there. So is there any point?
Not too long ago, only men could vote. Some time before that, ordinary peasants weren’t trusted with the vote. Before that, we had kings and queens and nobody had any votes at all.
Not voting is a statement. Sometimes you turn up to the polling booth and there’s nobody on the form you’d want in any position of authority. So you draw a knob on it and put it in the box. What else can you do?
On the other hand, voter apathy is very useful to those in charge. People who are sick of the established order tend to not bother voting, or to draw a knob on the ballot. People happy with the established order are happy to keep voting for it. Those who would change that established order don’t stand for election because they are almost certain to lose their deposits – the people most likely to vote for them are the ones who don’t vote. Stalemate. Nothing changes.
It takes someone willing to risk that deposit, willing to take a stand and willing to get out there and persuade people to vote for them. Nigel Farage did that, and whether you like him or not, he did it very effectively indeed. His previous party, UKIP, seems to have gone off the rails somewhat so he set up a new one. Mere weeks before the EU elections. If the polls are any reflection of reality, he’s damn well smashed the established order this time.
Experienced politicians set up the Changey McChangeface party on the same timescale and it has utterly bombed. Maybe we should now recognise that a bit of business experience can be a useful thing for a politician to have.
The Brexit Party pulled a lot of support from Tories and Labour and that’s their own fault. They lied at the last general election. Tories have monumentally screwed up Brexit to the point where Tessie Maybe’s deal actually makes our position far, far worse than remaining. Labour have consistently both supported and denigrated Brexit to the point where nobody has a clue what the party wants.
Most of all though, I suspect the Brexit party has mobilised a lot of the ‘no point voting’ people. If so, the next general election will be interesting.
That party will need a manifesto for a general election and they’ll need a lot of candidates. A snap general election will not give them time to do it. Let’s hope they are preparing, because Labour have said they will immediately move for a vote of no confidence in whoever replaces Crocodile Tears Tess as PM. That’s a bit unfair, since whoever takes over should be given a chance to show how useless they are before they are declared useless.
On the other hand, several have said that the loss of a Prime Monster should always trigger a general election and there is some merit in that argument. We are about to get a Prime Monster elected by that fraction of the population who are still members of the Conservative party. Then again, whoever it is will have already been duly elected by their constituency. Just like the current one. So it’s just a change of face at the top table. A different captain on the Titanic just before it slips below the waves.
There is a school of thought that wants compulsory voting. As long as that includes the right to draw a Picasso rendition of the male human genitalia on the form, I wouldn’t be against it. However, compulsory voting would be likely to require you select an actual candidate and knob-papers would have the Election Police at your door. Yes, they can work out who elected the erection. The number on your ballot paper is written next to your name when you get it.
I can imagine the EU going for the North Korean model on voting. You have to vote but all the names on the form are for the same party. Or maybe the Panoptica model, now developing through modern education – no losers. No matter who you vote for they all get in. And like MEPs, none of them have any actual power.
Someone asked the Twitter user mentioned above if he was sure the train idiot had voted. His response was ‘They all vote down here’ and I immediately ‘heard’ it in my head in the voice of Pennywise the Clown.
If you haven’t seen ‘IT’ (the Tim Curry version is still the best) then you won’t be able to imagine Darth Thermostat in a clown suit, peering at you out of a storm drain.
‘Do they vote?’, you ask
‘Oh yes, they vote. They all vote down here. And when you’re down here, YOU’LL VOTE TOO!’
Let’s just enjoy the political hiatus while it lasts. On Monday, one side or the other is likely to explode.
I think we can all guess which side.