In this morning’s post I got some shit off my chest by sarcastically congratulating non-voters. The motivation was inspired by @HollySmither on twitter. She had adopted the irritating strategy of using multiple tweets to make a point. I asked her to blog her thoughts part way through the bombarding she gave me.
Evidentally, she has read my blog post and not liked it one little bit. In fact, she has written her first ever blog post in response to it! She ignored that request on twitter but it does seem that my fingering her in my own blog has galvanised her into action. I’m rather pleased because, although I don’t know her, she seemed like the sort of person who is more than capable of articulating her radical views. Unfortunately, twitter is not a suitable medium for enunciating anything sophisticated, complex or detailed. Blogs are. She’s given an interesting and well argued response.
I don’t propose to develop this debate any further. Why would I bother? There’s little point. We both have settled opinions. I believe that refusing to vote or spoil your ballot is antisocial. Very broadly speaking, she seems to think that voting or spoiling a ballot is antisocial. I will pick up on some points of detail though these are by no means my only thoughts on her blog post.
Firstly, I think there is a contradiction in stating that deliberately spoiling your ballot paper endorses the political system. Surely that’s a bit like vandalising a train to support public transport. Secondly, I think its a bit rich to claim that you would fight for the right to vote if you did not have it whilst at the same time insisting that it brings no benefits. Thirdly, at no time have I ever claimed that voting was an alternative to other forms of political action. We should use all the means at our disposal.
Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, the Green Party in Brighton & Hove originally proposed a budget which sought to raise council tax in order to protect jobs and services. That budget was amended by the other parties, which hold the majority of the seats. The Greens voted for the amended budget because otherwise none of their other policies would be adopted by the council. This is hardly the place to list all the other policies but the introduction of a living wage might be used as an example. The Green Party manifesto specifically pointed out that it couldn’t “stop the cuts made at source by the Coalition”. Unlike the other local parties, you can still download our manifesto. [correction: the Brighton & Hove Labour Party 2011 manifesto is also still online.]
Finally, I neither agree with capitalism nor with the idea that all parties within shouting distance of power succumb to it. Odd that the thieving Tory bastards routinely describe the Greens as Marxist but HollySmither makes out that we are as bad as the rest. Other parties have been pointedly anti-capitalist, though to be fair the two Communist Party MPs elected in 1945 or the Independent Labour Party never got near real power. I don’t think the Labour Party in 1945 could fairly be described as capitalist. It set about nationalising everything it could and set up our National Health Service.
So, yes, shame on you, HollySmither for refusing to vote or spoil your ballot and thanks for explaining why with a degree of cogency. As arguments go, it could have been better but you fell into the trap of making it a constant argument with me personally. My blog post, on the other hand, was just me getting some shit off my chest; only one-third of it was aimed at you specifically. The difference between us? You represent your trades union members. I represent no-one but myself. I happen to be a member of a political party but I hold no position in that party. I was a hunt saboteur once but I didn’t represent the entire animal rights’ movement. See what I’m saying here?
Overall, I’m pleased you channeled your views into a blog rather than soak up my timeline. I hope you blog some more. I hope your trades union gains in power and I hope all of your members, including you, vote or spoil your ballots. Presently, sadly, the trades union movement is a husk of its former self. Those of us old enough to remember the times before Miners’ Strike, know how wonderful real working class power is but even then, there were some issues which could not be resolved by it. Some issues require governmental control and for those we have elections.
By the way, try not to muddle up an image file name with an actual sentiment! It was just some way for me to remember which image to upload later.