Thursday, 4 June 2009

Election Problems

I believe that we all should vote, come election day. No matter how pissed off you are at politicians, or politics in general, I honestly don't think apathy helps. I don't support any political party, nor do I particularly like MPs (well, maybe Caroline Flint), but the thought of having a vote, and an equal say, means I couldn't bear to just let it pass and ignore it.  

So, at about 11:20, I found my voting card, and took a stroll in the sunshine down to my polling booth, which for me is an annex right next to a garage and a pub. It is also about 30 seconds away. Outside the annex, there was a board up, listing the parties standing - I can honestly say that looking at that board was the first time I knew who was standing in my area. Although, to be honest, I still don't know what "area" I fall under for this election. Never mind!

I went in, (after saying hello to the pub landlord, who was in his dressing gown, amusingly) and was greeted warmly by the two women running the operation. At the time I thought they were being friendly, but thinking about it, I was probably the first person they'd seen in hours.

So I got my form, I went to the booth, and I voted for The Green Party.

And there's a sentence I thought I'd never write. I made the decision a few days ago to vote for The Greens, as they were "the least worst" in my opinion. I didn't want to vote for any of the 3 main parties - I don't like the Conservatives or the Lib Dems anyway, and New Labour are just pissing me off. I'm not going to vote for the BNP, nor UKIP. I'm not interested in parties I've never heard of, like the Christian Party, or Libertas. And there was no party called Joss Ackland's Spunky Backpack, so I plumped for The Greens. Meh.
I put my vote in the ballot box (which appeared suspiciously empty) and exited. There was no-one else around, and no-one else had come in to vote whilst I was there. 

To be honest, I found the whole thing a bit depressing. I had voted for a party which I don't really care for, and most people can't be bothered to vote - my parents aren't going to either. But what is the solution - how do you increase turn-out without forcing people to vote? I'll leave that one to the clever people out there, and I'll just apologise for using the word "I" 33 times in this blog post. T'was not intentional!


  1. Shame about Joss Ackland's Spunky Backpack not standing in your constituency. I gather they're concentrating on winnable seats in the North West.

    I'd probably be a bit happier about voting Green than you are - they're credible these days - but it is all a bit depressing. I suspect the answer to getting people to vote is make the consequences more noticeable. Also, PR would help because it abolishes safe seats. At the moment, only 40-50 seats out of 650 in the UK parliament might actually change hands, which means that a vote for any party in most constituencies makes no difference to the national outcome. Preference voting in the PR system means that no seat is guaranteed to go to the sitting member without a huge amount of hard work.

  2. I ended up having to vote here in Wales (even though I will have left Aber by the time the votes are counted!) due to a cock-up by Telford & Wrekin Council which meant they failed to issue me a postal ballot after the first one they sent went 'missing'. I'll admit to feeling a bit depressed about it all as well really. I did consider voting Green but ended up settling on the Lib Dems.

    I think the apathy thing is certainly a problem, especially with European elections. For what its worth, while the information is out there if you look for it, I think the EU (and those representing us in Europe) need to be a bit more proactive in letting people know what the EU is doing for them. The likes of UKIP are able to continue propagating myths, but the parties that represent us need to do more to show the good things that come from EU membership.
    Additionally, I agree with the Plashing Vole that electoral reform would go some way to solving the apathy issue.