Why Not Voting Is Such a Pitifully Ineffective Form of Protest
Why Not Voting Is Such a Pitifully Ineffective Form of Protest
By Thomas G. Clark / anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk
May 7, 2015
Of the most commonly recurring themes that keeps popping up in the comments sections beneath my work is the "if only everyone stopped voting ..." type is probably the most infuriating. The reason that I find these appeals for people to "just stop voting" so infuriating is that not voting is just about the most blatantly ineffective form of political protest imaginable.

The first and most obvious reason that not voting is such a feeble form of protest is that the result is totally indistinguishable from total apathy. If the opponent of the political status quo does exactly the same form of non-action as the hopelessly apathetic fool who doesn't care a jot about who rules over their lives or how the political system is structured, then how is it even possible to tell how many of those non-votes are ill-conceived protests and how many are manifestations of sheer apathy?The "just stop voting" advocate will often try to claim that if enough of us stopped voting then the election results would become illegitimate through lack of participation. Without explaining the mechanism by which the Westminster establishment parties would be removed from power after a mass non-vote, and without explaining what the system would be replaced with in the short-term, the "just stop voting" advocate is promoting a sheer fantasy. If they want us to believe that not voting is a sensible form of protest, the onus is on them to explain the mechanism by which the government is replaced with something better as a result of simply not voting. 

The idea that the Westminster establishment would just give up their grip on power if enough of us refused to vote is hopelessly naive because not only does it fail to explain the actual mechanism by which the election results would be rendered void, it also ignores the very real precedent set by the farcical 2012 PCC elections, which had an average turnout of just 15%, and in several regions (Hampshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Norfolk, Humberside, Cumbria & Lincolnshire) the winning candidate garnered less than 5% of the eligible vote! Did any of these new PCCs refuse to accept their £65,000 - £85,000 per year jobs because of a lack of political mandate? Of course they bloody didn't!

If 99.2% of us stopped voting, then it's absolutely clear that the 0.8% of us who are actually members of the three Westminster establishment parties would continue voting for themselves, and the rest of us would simply be dismissed as not caring about politics enough to even bother.

It is also obvious that not voting is an ineffective protest because it simply increases the political power of those who do choose to vote. If the majority of people who oppose the system choose to not vote, those who support the system will be at an obvious electoral advantage. Some 40% of the electorate are political tribalists who will always vote for their favoured Westminster establishment party, so if 35% of the public refuse to vote then it's obvious that they are essentially condemning the rest of us to perpetual Westminster establishment rule. 

Not voting is also a very good way of ensuring that unpopular extremists manage to get into power. A good example of this is the way that UKIP managed to become the biggest UK party in the European parliament after winning just 9% of the eligible vote. The remarkable thing about this victory for UKIP is that for every person who voted UKIP another seven didn't bother to vote at all! If just one in six of the non-voters had voted for a genuine political alternative, then the election wouldn't have been won by a Tory Trojan Horse political party pushing a "more-of-the-same, but even harder" right-wing economic agenda.

It turns out that people who go around telling others to "just stop voting" are actually useful idiots who are of great use to the Westminster establishment parties (and to extremists like UKIP) because without this propaganda war against political participation, far more politically disillusioned people would actually vote against the Westminster establishment rather than implicitly supporting them through non-participation.

If we despise the current political system, then surely it is better to find a political party that is proposing to change the system, than to simply abstain and actually increase the chances that things will stay pretty much exactly as they are. 

If we want change, we've got to do like the Scottish, and actually vote against the Westminster establishment parties. However it is possible that there are simply no decent candidates in our particular constituency offering a better alternative than the status quo. In this kind of case it's really important that people at least turn out on polling day in order to submit a blank or spoiled ballot paper so that their protests are actually distinguishable from outright political apathy.

Whether you want to oppose the Westminster establishment by supporting a smaller political party that wants to reform the political system, or oppose the political system by voting "none of the above" by submitting a spoiled ballot paper, it's really important that you make sure that you are registered to vote. If you don't even bother to register to vote, your ill-conceived protest is going to be totally indistinguishable from complete political apathy.

Follow this link to register to vote. It only takes a few minutes.

You can support the author's work with a donation, if you like. It's entirely up to you.
 
3.3 ·
2
Trending Today
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 19,374 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 8,718 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 8,057 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 7,961 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 6,093 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 4,672 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
The Fire Within
Words by Sophie Scholl - Illustrations by Gavin Aung Than · 4,410 views today · Sophie Scholl (1921-1943) was a German activist who is famous for speaking out against the Nazi regime. Scholl was a member of a protest group called The White Rose, which...
The London Anarchist Group Squatting Mansions to Fight Homelessness
6 min · 4,202 views today · London squatting activists ANAL (Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians) are squatting empty multi-million pound buildings and opening them up to the homeless.
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 3,681 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 3,360 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
To Change Everything, Start Everywhere
8 min · 2,194 views today · To Change Everything, Start Everywhere! The case for complete self-determination—a guide for the furious, the curious, and the pure of heart. To Change Everything: An...
Voices of Standing Rock
49 min · 2,166 views today · Short stories told by water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Part 1 - Introduction: Since mid-August 2016, thousands have set up camp near the Standing Rock Sioux...
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 2,061 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 2,009 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
From Sanctuary City to Liberated City
Frank Lara · 1,677 views today · In just one week, with several strokes of a pen, Trump unleashed upon the working class in the U.S. an attack not seen in decades. From his attack on the flawed Affordable Care...
Transition From Caterpillar to Butterfly as Analogy for Social Change
4 min · 1,613 views today · An exceprt from Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview in which Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about the fractal nature of reality and compares the current global awakening and the...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 1,390 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
The Lessons of Standing Rock
Michael Emero · 1,220 views today · In mid-November of 2016, I was a Water Protector at Standing Rock. At first my goal was to play investigative journalist; documenting then writing about every detail for my...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,116 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Michael Moore Wants to Help You Find Your Next Anti-Trump Protest
Sarah Ruiz-Grossman · 1,096 views today · The Resistance Calendar lists upcoming rallies across the country.
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Why Not Voting Is Such a Pitifully Ineffective Form of Protest