Thursday, May 05, 2005

a "Not" vote

So though I'm eligible to vote in the British election as a citizen of the Commonwealth, I have decided against casting my ballot.

Why? Good Australian friend, avid politico, and fellow "soldier of the king" (jousting expedition reference -ed.) Tim Soutphommasane lays out some interesting principled reasons over on his superbly written "Confessions of an Oxford Dilettante" blog. Honestly, my reasons are simpler.

Maybe it's just simple laziness, but I truly feel that no party deserves my support. For all the newspaper coverage, I haven't seen a single flyer or poster for the Lib Dem candidate here, the only real choice being considered at this late stage. Forget any arcane notion of "civic duty" - rather than rewarding these lacklustre efforts, I would prefer to vote against the efforts of all three major parties, especially the sure-to-be victorious Labour. My prescence among the "no-shows" goes at least some way toward that goal.

Electoral democracy faces a deepening crisis, and a "not" vote for lower turnout may be the better way to signal that none of the parties have begun addressing these systemic problems. Blair is likely to get less than a quarter of eligible voters to tick the box next to Labour today, and still the only suspense of the evening seems to be on the overall size of his majority. Crazy.

So I am consciously "not" voting. Count me in with the "whatevers", the "disenchanted", the "unconvinced". It's not apathy. It's just I don't feel it necessary to vote for the least worst in a country I'm calling home for a mere 9 months, regardless of the eligibility rules. Let me mark my small protest instead by just not bothering this time. Keep the problem of increasingly lower turnout on the agenda. And see what happens next.


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