One Vote…

6 05 2010

Over the past few weeks, I have been subjected to various facebook updates from people telling me who to vote for today. Most of these I have read, and subsequently ignored. However, that’s changed today. Not because I read an update which convinced me to vote one way or the other, but because I read an update which really got me worked up.

It was a negative update, meaning it wasn’t a ‘vote for them’, but instead was a ‘don’t vote for them’ update. Of which I must have seen about a million in recent times. However the message, paraphrased, was ‘think of the rest of society and don’t vote for them’. This angered me.

Voting should be a distinctly personal thing. You vote for the person who you think will do the best job for you. There should be little more to it than that. If the system works then the result is what society wants. You should not feel pressurised into voting for a party because it is for the good of a society, large (the entire population) or small (your local sports club). You should vote for the person who identifies with the issues that you have, who seems to have at least some of the solutions, and who appeals to you (bearing in mind, of course, you are not voting for the party leader – unless you live in their constituency – you are voting for an MP to represent you at parliament). This means, therefore, that all the talk of tactical voting which has been had in recent days has been, effectively, about removing power from the electorate, and letting the parties (in this case the Labour party) make the decision for you. I reiterate the point, if the system works then it should be a clear indication of what the significant percentage of the population want as a government. You cannot, and should not consider the rest of society when voting. You should vote for who you want to vote for, free from peer pressure, social pressure, or any other forms of pressure. There is a reason, after all, you are placed in an individual booth to vote. If we let society dictate how we should vote then the damage has already been done. You need not have individual voting booths, as show of hands at a town hall would suffice instead.

It really annoys me that people should feel pressured into voting a certain way. The vote, a decision you should reach based on what you have heard, read or seen, should be yours to do with what you wish. Of course there are electoral problems with the British system, the Independent has been fighting this reform battle for years, and the outcome of Brown getting in with the most MP’s, but the fewest votes would serve to further highlight the systems failures. I remain unconvinced that a proportional representation system would or could work, but it is clear that recent boundary changes made by the Labour government have worked towards making the outcome mentioned above a possibility. The solution is to better redefine the boundaries so there is a more even spread of votes per constituency. Of course, how you do this whilst simultaneously reducing the number of MP’s as suggested by Cameron will prove much harder.

Whatever the result, the key thing is that politics doesn’t win with tactical voting. The voters, so very disillusioned with MP’s in recent times, should be free to have their say, without the feeling of pressure from anywhere. They should, and I hope, will vote for whoever they want to vote for based upon the grounds that matter to them. There is, and should be, nothing more to it than that.

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8 responses

6 05 2010
Alex McCall

Hey Luke! long time no see etc etc

anyway back to the meat,

I have a limited laymans knowledge on most things, but there is now an area in which I have pretty good knoledge. If I know a party is producing missleading information about something I know, do you think I should stop mouthing off about it?

By the way I found this article which kinda shock me a little and i’d think you’d appreiacte it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-welcome-to-cameron-land-1962318.html

6 05 2010
Luke_D

Thanks, had read that already. I must say it’s a change to read Johann Hari writing something anti-tory. He has never done that before has he?

Anyway the point is, it is fine for you to ‘mouth off’ about whatever you want, but do not make the assumption that (a) you speak for all of society, and (b) you should pressurise people to voting the way you think it should go.

There’s a difference between pressurising people into voting a certain way, and merely exercising opinion. I was advocating that the practise of the former should not be part of politics as it removes the ‘freedom’ which should form the basis of any vote. I mean, if it’s not there then we have an election like they held in Iraq. As I said, it should be a personal thing. The voter should not be expected to conform to what his or her society expects.

And I still don’t believe there is a place for tactical voting.

7 05 2010
Alex T M

hmm if you changed the name from tactical voteing to ‘voteing for the best person who has a chance of winning’ would that be better?

7 05 2010
Alex T M

ohh and you haven’t said wether the pergressive thinking by the tory councels (and members) should be implimented nationally?

8 05 2010
Luke_D

Firstly, no, changing the name wouldn’t be better. I maintain that for politics to work, the people should vote for whoever they want to vote for, based upon what the politicians are saying and how the inevitable changes will affect their lives. You should, I believe, vote for the MP who will best represent your interests in parliament. You should not vote as a spoiler (tactically or indeed, for the person with the best chance of winning) as (a) it has the arrogance of assuming that what you say is what is best for society, and (b) it doesn’t then give an accurate representation of what society actually wants.
I’m assuming from your second question you wish me to say whether I agree or disagree with what Hari has written, and whether I think that the example he uses would become national norm under a Conservative government?
I’m not going to because I accept Hari’s piece for what it was, an anti-tory article published the day before the election. I cannot comment on Hammersmith and Fulham local council as I simply do not know the facts from the fiction, and I would suggest that neither do you.
My own experience under a Tory county council hasn’t been all fun and games, I will admit that (I’ve even blogged about it before). I will also freely admit that there is some Tory stuff I do not really agree with.
However, over two million more people wanted the Tories than wanted Labour. This suggests to me that the ‘progressive thinking’ of which you seem so damning, has actually been accepted by quite a few people nationwide.

9 05 2010
Alex

Well by the logic of numbers you could say that more people voted centre left, i.e. against these progressive polices then centre right or even total right. (36.1% for, 52% against).

Wow numbers are useful in debates arn’t they : )

9 05 2010
Luke_D

By your logic of numbers, 59.1% of people (ignoring, of course, all the minority parties etc) rejected Labour. You can manipulate the numbers any which way you want. You know that, I know that.
Effectively you’re suggesting that we just categorise Lib Dems and Labour as one party. If so then why not let us just adopt the 2 party state they have in America now. I think British politics is much more centre of the road than American, but by trying to split it, as you have, you are making it a much more rudimentary choice between left and right. Of course the centre party is needed, it keeps both the others in line with the general liberal nature of the British electorate.
The numbers that are useful are the simple ones: Tories gained 36.1%, Labour 29%, Lib Dems 23%. Three separate groups, with different aims, ideals and ethos’. If the Lib Dems were so closely aligned to Labour as you seem to suggest then why have they not simply joined with Labour in the aftermath of the election, as they could, so easily, have done?

9 05 2010
Alex

I think that untill we get that voteing system I can’t quite remember the name of (it ain’t past the post and it ain’t PR) we wont really be able to see who rejected who. (apart from mabye what the swing tells us)

I’m not saying that Labour have anykinda mandate but mabye the centre left as a whole do, but…

Well Nick Clegg kinda fucked himself there when he thought his party was gonna come in second dissmised the idea.

If he goes with Labour he’ll be seen as weak now and lose the general populus.
If he goes with Conservatives the lib dems will lose there grass root surport.

And as rolold ragen said “first you gota preach to the choir” (or something).

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