Hello, you in the future!
I am writing this last night, a little while after recovering from my extended Danny Dyer rant which should be a little further down the page. If all’s gone well, it should appear on a delay sometime Thursday morning, so that you don’t get too saturated with me and I have some more time to plug that last entry again on Twitter before this one appears.
Anyway. I just have a couple of brief thoughts left over about politics and stuff, which I never got around to airing properly, but which deserve a mention before this election thing is technically over.
– Skeptical Voter has done great work bringing the policies and agendas of many politicians to light, but I never got around to exploring a slightly different approach that occurred to me a while back. How about if voters worked together to form some sort of pincer movement to really nail down where a candidate stands?
For instance: one concerned constituent asks what the candidate will be doing to preserve the noble and treasured institution of the traditional British family unit, while another asks whether they plan to extend fundamental human rights equally to all members of society and minority groups, such as affording legal protection to gay couples under the law. It might be revealing how flexible their principles become when trying to keep people happy.
It’s not my favourite idea, because it’s quite disingenuous and unkind, but something about the sneakiness of carefully phrasing loaded questions like this appeals to me.
– I’m planning to vote tomorrow (or today, by the time this goes up – don’t worry, I won’t miss it), and I get the impression that turn-out will be up this year. But if anyone chooses to exercise their right not to vote, that is also fine.
Yes, political involvement is good. People should be encouraged and urged to take an interest in these things. But a lot of people don’t know enough of the details to have a solid factual basis for supporting any particular candidate. I don’t understand how it helps democracy to compel or oblige someone to pick a name from a list for no sound political reason.
And fuck off with all the “If you don’t vote you don’t get to complain about anything for five years” thing. Like people have no right to expect and demand a better class of candidate anyway. Like supporting the least awful of a shitty bunch is really so meritorious. Like opting to play the role of 0% of the electorate instead of around 0.000005% is so damnably unpatriotic that it excludes you from playing any part in this country’s democracy. Like voting is the only way any of us can ever play any role in our democracy any way, so anyone who doesn’t do it must be completely politically inert.
– A hung parliament will not break into your house and kill your family.
– And I’m still not buying the voting tactically thing. I sympathise with people feeling compelled this way; I don’t deplore anyone who decides that this is the best way to employ their vote. I just can’t get behind it as a strategy.
I’m not really bothered about whether voters are “lying” by casting a vote for some party other than their favourite, as that post discusses. And I don’t think I oppose it on philosophical grounds, either. That sounds like my objection is based on some fundamental ethical principle which can’t be further examined. But I think my discomfort with tactical voting is a pragmatic thing that I’ve reasoned through, and I’ve tried to explain my thinking on this quite recently.
The Practical Ethics blog there says:
As to the claims that tactical voting is undemocratic, it seems clear that it is more democratic than the alternative, which is allowing a candidate to win even when the vast majority of people think they are the worst candidate.
I don’t find that clear at all. If tactical voting is used to oust the party that did have the greatest number of followers, then an even vaster majority of people will think that the winning candidate is not the best. And then we get into the self-perpetuating cycle I discussed yesterday, where nobody ever realises how popular that distant third party really are, because all its supporters are busily voting for someone else.
I will be so glad when this is all over.
… Unless the Conservatives win.