Thursday, March 11, 2010
Complain about the voting system when casting your vote
Their slogans are
"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal"
"No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in"
"F*ck this for a game of soldiers, I'm off to join the anarchists"
While this is all well and good, and the attitude is totally understandable, not voting is the worst possible response to political problems, in fact it makes it worse, because MPs do not have to worry at all about the views of people who do not vote. One of the many reasons that our politicians are worthless is because of the FPTP voting system.
It is a far, far better thing to roll up at the polling booth, and cast a vote for the Green Party, because they are better than a pack of mad yaks, and because they have 100% clean record on the MP expenses scoresheet, and because their ideology is sound, based as it is on the notion that you should not saw away at the branch that you are standing on. If there is no Green Party candidate just write "Green Party" on the voting paper, or say, "What, no Green Party?? This is no good", and tear it up.
But the point is, when collecting the ballot paper (which is numbered, by the way, so that they know which way you voted. What did you think it is, a secret ballot?) just say, clearly and firmly to the clerk
"Hey hey hey, ho ho ho,
First Past the Post has Got to Go".
If you are a bit inhibited, you can leave the "hey hey hey" bit out and just tell the clerk "First Past the Post has Got to Go".
Be polite, it's not the clerk's fault.
If preferred, you can make up your own terms of protest, but make sure that you mention that it is the voting system that you are protesting over, otherwise people might think you just have Tourette Syndrome*.
On its own, yes it is a bit minimalist, but it is a matter of Critical Mass. Polling stations are normally quiet places, so if is an FPTP protest every 5-10 minutes, it would make quite an impression.
Better still, if groups roll up chanting heyheyheyhohohoFPTPhasgottogo all the way from the pub to the polling booth, it will make a lasting impression.
All this is far more effective than simply staying away from the poll.
So there we have it. A zero-cost, entirely legal protest that if adopted by enough people will end up with the clerks having a quiet word with their employers, who will have a quiet word with Whitehall, who will quietly draw up contingency plans for a change in the electoral system, since it is the Civil Service, after all, who really matter in Government.
*I hope this does not offend anyone who is living with Tourette. I claim to be a mild case myself, so I am allowed to make the reference, I hope. And I'm a psychiatrist, so I certainly would not use it disparagingly.