Discussion of other UK political parties
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By Abernathy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#344044
Indeed. Rob has it right. I'm not hostile to the notion as Crabcakes seems to be suggesting, I simply don't think it will reveal anything that we don't know already about people who view voting as a waste of their time, or more pertinently, have any practical or discernible effect on the continuing problem of voter disengagement.

Of the abstainers, I think there is a significant core of people who are quite simply congenitally averse to voting and genuinely are incapable of understanding how democratic representation can and does affect their lives. They don't engage, broadly because they never have engaged.

Another group of abstainers affects cynicism : "they're all the bloody same - voting makes no difference" is the too-often parroted turn of phrase that some imagine to be the height of sophistication, a mark of how their unique, dazzlingly perceptive insight has rumbled the whole sham for what it is. These are the people who won't bother even spoiling a ballot paper with a NOTA message, and - yes, Crabcakes - I do consider that attitude to be not only phoney, but indeed lazy. I've lost count of the number of people I've told that far from voting never changing anything, it is in fact, short of bloody revolution, the only thing that ever does change anything. My view is that such people simply haven't thought things through. How do we reach them? We just keep trying, is the only possible answer.

Then there is the constituency that Crabs, if you will, advocates for. A deeply principled band of active objectors for whom the appearance on a ballot paper of a candidate they deem worthy of receiving their vote is akin to hens' teeth on a blue moon during a month of Sundays. They think it's all shit, and they say so by sending a message on a ballot paper that grants nobody their vote. But nobody knows about this message - apart that is from all the candidates in the election, their agents, the returning officer, and some of the counting staff. I suspect that actually, the actively protesting abstainers form a relatively small constituency. But I'm not convinced it would get much bigger if more people officially knew about how pissed off they are. I even suspect you'd need to change electoral law to make it clear that a "NOTA" ballot option could not win an election - though logically you'd think that a "NOTA" "win" would lead to a re-run election. But then we could be running and re-running elections until doomsday.

Maybe Crabs is right and an official "NOTA" option would lead in time to scores of progressive (or reactionary) candidates that people will be falling over themselves to vote for. But I seriously doubt that. Crabs will doubtless say that this is because I'm a rancid old Labour Party hack, to which charge I suppose I must plead guilty, but I can't but help my skepticism.

If it helps, Crabs, I'd be open to giving it a trial. If only to find my misgivings supported by reality.
By Esqui
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#344045
Also, I would say much of the cynicism comes from Brand's presentation of it - as if a NOTA vote would spark some sort of political revolution. It won't "change the political landscape", it won't change results - unless a very large number of potential NOTA voters currently abstain from voting.

Brand is prone to hyperbole and this is another example. It would, in my opinion, be a good thing to have. It wouldn't be a game changer.
#344064
The problem is I'm always far too optimistic about this sort of thing and get carried away by it, when the likelihood is most people who don't vote probably are just exactly as Abernathy describes - lazy and/or convinced nothing will change because *no* change would hand them precisely what they want, which is almost certainly an unreasonable and/or unworkable selfish set of demands. So yeah, let's not bother with none of the above because it probably would be a waste of time - on reflection it would prove virtually nothing because chances are things are more or less *exactly* as shit as they seem. The people who don't vote probably don't because they're rubbish, not because they're too principled to vote for someone they don't fully believe in.

If anyone is wondering where this change of heart has come from, other than the posts in this thread I was reminded on a Facebook thread about Brand's speech by a mate about precisely what has happened over the last few years. We had a chance for a fairer voting system and it died on its arse. We had a chance to change the political landscape and we ended up with the Tories and a bunch of orange yes men who ditched their principles for power, and we have a country where more people than not buy into the benefits = scroungers mentality. There's no point giving the people more choice because they let you down time and again.

And on that depressing note, I'm off to bed.
 
By Abernathy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
#344065
crabcakes_windermere wrote: There's no point giving the people more choice because they let you down time and again.
I'm going to have to quote Churchill again.
The best argument against democracy is 5 minutes spent with the average voter.
By Big Rob
#344080
crabcakes_windermere wrote:The problem is I'm always far too optimistic about this sort of thing and get carried away by it, when the likelihood is most people who don't vote probably are just exactly as Abernathy describes - lazy and/or convinced nothing will change because *no* change would hand them precisely what they want, which is almost certainly an unreasonable and/or unworkable selfish set of demands. So yeah, let's not bother with none of the above because it probably would be a waste of time - on reflection it would prove virtually nothing because chances are things are more or less *exactly* as shit as they seem. The people who don't vote probably don't because they're rubbish, not because they're too principled to vote for someone they don't fully believe in.

If anyone is wondering where this change of heart has come from, other than the posts in this thread I was reminded on a Facebook thread about Brand's speech by a mate about precisely what has happened over the last few years. We had a chance for a fairer voting system and it died on its arse. We had a chance to change the political landscape and we ended up with the Tories and a bunch of orange yes men who ditched their principles for power, and we have a country where more people than not buy into the benefits = scroungers mentality. There's no point giving the people more choice because they let you down time and again.

And on that depressing note, I'm off to bed.
To be frank if more people could show the ability to critically think like you just did there, by challenging your own position, then we would probably not even need this conversation. We would quite possibly have the political landscape we desire.

The only depressing note is that more people cannot challenge themselves like you do.

I suppose that's, one reason at least, why we're here.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#344163
Not to worry everyone, the Tories have got a surefire cure for Westminster antipathy.
The Conservatives are calling up combat veterans of the war in Afghanistan to stand for Parliament and fight public cynicism about “professional politicians”.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... cians.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Desperate, clueless, embarrassing, laughable.
#344229
davidjay wrote:A NOTA option would decimate UKIP for a start.
I'm not sure of that.
If you are so unable to make the necessary compromises to choose one of the parties standing, why would you fuss yourself to go to the polling booth? You'd have to be actively uninterested to do that. UKIP supporters aren't just protesting in the sense of a spoiled ballot, they are sending a message about the direction of travel they would prefer. In that sense it's a protest vote, because they won't get UKIP elected, but they will send a message to the other parties about where they want them to go.
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