Discussion of other UK political parties
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
By Abernathy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#343876
So to summarise, then.

1. The people that stand for election are, according to Russell and his pals, all shite.
2. So if you agree with this view, you shouldn't vote at all.
3. Erm...... that's it.

Why are we wasting time on this? *

* Abernathy is tragically aware of the ironic fact that he started this thread.
#343903
Abernathy wrote:Yes it does. The number of spoilt papers is part of every election result declaration, and all are reported in news media.
Yes, but again as just a number all lumped together, which is meaningless and useless and hence all to easily ignored. It does not indicate what the intent of the voter was. The public do not get the breakdown that the candidates get. Take this page, for example:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/f ... rk-central" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There's more information on the Monster Raving Loony Party's performance than on spoilt ballots (which here are referred to as rejected ballots, again immediately classing them as something they may not be). And to ward off the response of "but it was only 66 votes anyway", I'd argue (a) that's irrelevant because every vote counts and deserves to be counted and (b) it's entirely possible that it's because it's currently such a useless indicator of anything that in many cases hardly anyone makes use of it.
But what would reporting spoilt papers with an explicit NOTA message separately actually achieve? The proportion of the electorate not voting seems to me to provide a good enough, if not actually better, measure of this already and the problem of how to increase turnout and achieve greater electoral engagement is a problem that has actually been engaging political types for decades, believe it or not. There is simply no point.
The only reason to say there's no point is if you believe that everyone who doesn't vote still wouldn't vote if they had a specific option to say "None of you are good enough". At present, that option does not exist, and you have no idea of how many people would vote if they thought that they could express their dissatisfaction with the current system and candidates in a clear, meaningful way. And if voter apathy has been a problem for decades as well, then for flip's sake why the hell not try something new that would be simple to do, increase interest and potentially yield useful information? It seems the main parties are willing to try anything *except* an option that will allow people to tell all of them off at the same time.
Sorry, but by definition an explcit NOTA message is a spoilt paper (which term by the way I don't view as being pejorative). The turnout in any given election, or more particularly the proportion not bothering to turn out, already provides a more than adequate measure of those who do not consider voting for any candidate on the ballot paper to be worth their (minimal) effort, and is both recorded and widely publicised. I see no point at all in categorising separately those who at best are slightly less lazy than their fellow abstainers.
Well then the definition needs to change - it's only spoilt now because there is no option, which is the whole point. And you may not view it as pejorative, but I do and I know others who do as well. If I want to vote and want to make it clear that I think none of the candidates are up to scratch I do not want it implied that I may have just cocked up, not do I want candidates trying to claim my vote as theirs, not do I want my vote to be classed as "spoiled" when I have correctly completed the form and the process. I want it recorded that I exercised my democratic right to vote in a correct manner and that I reject all the options available because they were not good enough, and I want those numbers recorded specifically and publicised. I want it to be unavoidable for candidates and parties to ignore because everyone knows and everyone has access to the same information. And all the moreso because the other argument all the parties wheel out is that if you don't vote you don't have a voice. In a nutshell, they won't change the system to give people an option to say no-one is good enough and they class anyone who doesn't vote as not being bothered. They insist that everyone play by their rules, then complain when people won't play. It's one of the reasons people are disenfranchised with politics and politicians, it comes up time and again, and yet no party has the guts to change it because at the end of the day they'd still rather have the chance of a vote going to them or have someone not vote for anyone and thus avoid a vote going to a rival than have a vote recorded as saying "you *all* suck".
Well some of them really aren't as bad as the others (Nick Griffin anyone?). But no, he was rightly criticising Brand for offering no solution to the perceived problem whatsoever other than shrugging the shoulders and not voting. If you do not consider that any of the candidates that choose to put themselves forward for election are worthy of your vote, then arguably it is open to you to change that, either by putting yourself forward for election, or by working to try to ensure that you influence the decisions of those responsible either for deciding to stand for election, or for selecting the candidates that do stand.
I agree some of them aren't - that's plainly obvious. But some are, and some people do not sit comfortably with any party and do not want to be tribal. Some people may not wish to vote Tory, but may have inept/limp/unpalatable options otherwise. Some people simply don't want to be involved in politics on the whole and shouldn't have to be - everyone needs to go to the dentist but we don't all have to actively engage in dentistry to expect competence, nor train as dentists and join the BDA if our local dentist isn't up to scratch - but that doesn't mean they should have to happily vote for anyone who pitches up for the party they broadly support with no proper option to say otherwise. Not everyone can put themselves up for election or wants to join a party. But they're still part of the country, still contribute and still therefore have a right to say that no, they don't want to choose anyone who has been put forward without that choice being essentially lost.

It's interesting that whenever I've raised this idea before or heard it discussed it's always been shouted down by people who are already heavily involved with/in a party, but always supported by those who aren't in a party (even if they tend to be clearly left/right wing), and it's always dismissed for the same reason of it not being worth it (even though parties are always going on about wanting to increase engagement), or the option already exists (except, it doesn't of course). And the feedback to Brand has been broadly more of the same. If politicians genuinely want more people to vote and get them invested in politics, they'll have to take the risk that it might not go their way but give them more choice to express their opinion. It might lead to more engagement, more interesting choices of candidate, maybe even more parties and independents. The status quo is leading to ever-dwindling turnout and engagement, dwindling party membership and increasing apathy, because when people see their choice of candidates is another row of identikit suits and skirts with no option to say "someone else, please" it immediately says to them it's the same again and nothing will change. So really, what's the worst that could happen by trying it???

EDIT: and also, Abers, how dare you class people who deliberately spoil their ballot as lazy abstainers. How DARE you. It is arrogance of the highest order to consider anyone not wishing to vote for an established party but wishing to cast a vote as somehow not being bothered. They are, arguably, making considerably more effort than someone who trots up and votes obediently for the same party, time and again. They are engaging with the democratic process and expressing their opinion that no one has measured up and is deserving of their vote even though they know that it will be ignored. They are trying to work within the system in precisely the way you think they should rather than being open to change the system, and this is the result - they're classed as lazy. It's exactly this sort of attitude that has led to the mass voter apathy we see today, and quite frankly makes a mockery of your claim that you don't see "spoilt ballot" as a pejorative term.
Last edited by crabcakes_windermere on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
By Abernathy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#343945
EDIT: and also, Abers, how dare you class people who deliberately spoil their ballot as lazy abstainers. How DARE you.
I don't think I did. As a matter of fact I said they were less lazy than their fellow abstainers. But the point is, they're still abstaining, just actively rather than passively. Sorry I haven't got time for a longer response right now.
#343951
Abernathy wrote:
EDIT: and also, Abers, how dare you class people who deliberately spoil their ballot as lazy abstainers. How DARE you.
I don't think I did. As a matter of fact I said they were less lazy than their fellow abstainers. But the point is, they're still abstaining, just actively rather than passively. Sorry I haven't got time for a longer response right now.
I haven't seen you Say that Abers
#343959
You said "at best slightly less lazy". I think the inference is pretty clear, guy. And they're only 'abstaining' (as much as actively doing everything short of conveniently plopping down a vote for one of the choices is abstaining) because there is no option to express their disenfrachisement that is not classed as abstaining under the present system, which is why the system should change. I'm not sure how many times I can say it. It's only the case because the rules define it that way at present - not because it's some irrefutable fact.

Regardless, apathy and laziness are not the same thing. Not at all. I think everyone on here (bar the trolls) would not classify everyone who tries to get a job but fails and so is thus still unemployed as a consequence as "lazy" - it's a vastly oversimplistic view at best, and a deliberate smear at worst that redefines the victim as the problem so that responsibility can be shifted to them for their 'failure' and away from the powers that be who have in truth failed them.

Classing everyone who does not vote or spoils a ballot because they feel no one represents them or their interests and that whatever they do nothing ever changes as lazy is also a vast oversimplification that redefines the victim as the problem. The real problem is why they feel that way and the solution is to address that through new initiatives and freedoms (such as, say, giving them the option to say they feel that way at the ballot box), not simply demand they fall in line with the system as is and until they do frame them as simply slacking off to a greater or lesser degree.

Come on, man. You're better than that.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#343968
Voting is only one aspect of political participation - there are plenty of people who do useful work in the labour movement and in their communities who don't go to the polls on election day. By the same token, being anti-Westminster isn't synonymous with being 'anti-politics'. Granted, Westminster and its media lackeys would probably prefer it if voting was the only form of political activity people engaged in (I don't recall seeing many of them lamenting the decline in union membership) but it isn't and shouldn't be. It's not that surprising many people are turned off by parliamentary politics when the major parties themselves are dominated by unaccountable managerial cliques. The parties can't be bothered to offer something resembling internal democracy - why would people listen to them about voting?

I thought this was a good response to Webb's liberal smuggery.
Webb decides to deliver lessons in prose and in history to Brand, and by extension, to the readership.

First the prose:
In putting the words “aesthetically” and “disruption” in the same sentence, you come perilously close to saying that violence can be beautiful.
And then, the history:
Do I wake up every day and thank God that I live in 21st-century Britain? Of course not. But from time to time I recognise it as an unfathomable privilege. On Remembrance Sunday, for a start.
The implication in Webb’s prose is that the liberal democratic regime of 21st-century Britain -with its food banks- is a privilege won through war.

The Remembrance Sunday on which the hapless impoverished victims of imperial carnage are remembered as ‘Our Glorious Dead’ and the victims of British military atrocities are conveniently forgotten. But Russell Brand is the one apparently suggesting violence is beautiful.
It’s telling that Webb appeals, in his attempt to slap down Brand, to the jingoistic military pageantry of the British establishment that identifies monarchy as compatible with democracy, and not, for instance, the substance of democratic movements during the English Revolution- the Levellers, the Diggers, the Ranters or the Muggletonians: their challenges to social authority and refusal to accept the norms imposed by the regime of private property.

You see, the truth is, he has a great deal more in common with Charles I than any of those groups.
http://hiredknaves.wordpress.com/2013/1 ... s-a-prick/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
By Abernathy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#343978
crabcakes_windermere wrote:You said "at best slightly less lazy". I think the inference is pretty clear, guy. And they're only 'abstaining' (as much as actively doing everything short of conveniently plopping down a vote for one of the choices is abstaining) because there is no option to express their disenfrachisement that is not classed as abstaining under the present system, which is why the system should change. I'm not sure how many times I can say it. It's only the case because the rules define it that way at present - not because it's some irrefutable fact.

Regardless, apathy and laziness are not the same thing. Not at all. I think everyone on here (bar the trolls) would not classify everyone who tries to get a job but fails and so is thus still unemployed as a consequence as "lazy" - it's a vastly oversimplistic view at best, and a deliberate smear at worst that redefines the victim as the problem so that responsibility can be shifted to them for their 'failure' and away from the powers that be who have in truth failed them.

Classing everyone who does not vote or spoils a ballot because they feel no one represents them or their interests and that whatever they do nothing ever changes as lazy is also a vast oversimplification that redefines the victim as the problem. The real problem is why they feel that way and the solution is to address that through new initiatives and freedoms (such as, say, giving them the option to say they feel that way at the ballot box), not simply demand they fall in line with the system as is and until they do frame them as simply slacking off to a greater or lesser degree.

Come on, man. You're better than that.
Well, yes, I am better than that. The fact is I did not class people that choose to spoil their ballot papers as lazy, I specifically said that they were not as lazy as those who do not vote. Any inference was drawn by you, and you can't in truth hold me responsible for that.
#344002
Oh come on - if Emmett came out with something as ropey as that we'd tear it to shreds and rightly so. You said they were "at best slightly less lazy". Your words. That states that you think people who don't vote are lazy because it's not even "worth their (minimal) effort" to vote (again, your words) and those that do who spoil their ballot papers are barely any better, and that's on a good day. I'm not inferring anything because I don't have to. If you didn't mean to call people who spoil their ballot papers somewhat lazy, just say "sorry, I didn't mean it that way". Let's not get into the bullshitty world of "mis-speaking" and claims that something that was clearly intended to mean one thing wasn't that at all.

Regardless, I really can't see why there's so much hostility to giving people more choice and a new option when it's universally accepted that engagement is historically low and nothing that any of the parties have tried to date has been a success. It's not exactly a demand for anarchy, is it?
#344007
OK, maybe not hostility - but certainly complete dismissal without consideration. And again, we *don't* already know what it would tell us because it's not currently an option. You can spoil a ballot, but the number of those spoilt specifically as protest votes are not disclosed, and there is no current "none of the above" option - therefore absolutely no one has ANY idea whether it would attract more voters overall if such an option exists or not because it has never been tried. It's simply not true to say we already have it, or that it wouldn't tell us anything we don't already know.

Saying we already know is like saying there's no point setting up a new party because no one votes for it at the moment, or like saying there's no demand for a new motorway to town X even though people keep asking for it because no one drives there on the route it would take at present - it's a complete logical disconnect. You have to do the thing before you can conclusively say what the thing has told you. This is proclaiming results and conclusions without having done the experiment first, based on what happens under another set of conditions!

EDIT: also, I don't want it to damage anyone's vote. I want it to *improve* their vote. I want, in my case, Labour MPs to find out who in their community is feeling neglected and then connect with them in a way that Tories would never do because for the most part their interests are actually elsewhere (corporations and large donors). I want it to improve things, to get candidates more info and to get better and different candidates. And hey, if the Tories do learn a thing or two along the way about listening to ALL the electorate then so much the better.
By Big Rob
#344009
It would only achieve something if it reduced the votes for other candidates.

At the end of the day, as "none of the above" cannot hold office, one of the other candidates will still win.

What I think is that will make no difference whatsoever. We already use turnout and spoiled votes to measure what you are suggesting.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
Mark Francois MP

Just had a look at his Wiki page. A stint at Lloyd[…]

Boris Johnson

Wouldn't it be good if newspapers had an imposed p[…]

Labour, Generally.

I suspect this has come about becasue the trigger […]

GE 2020

You've a knack for getting right to the heart of t[…]