May the 6th is an important day for many people. I’m not going to beat around the bush with some over elaborate explanation, because everyone in Britain knows it’s the General Election. Either Lib Dem, Conservative, or Labour are going to win, and it’s most likely going to be a Hung Parliament because no one can really strongly come out on one side or another. However, this is not a piece about who to vote for or scaremongering about a hung parliament. Though, it is about the elections.
Now, the problem with writing any sort of election piece is going to of course, bring in people who want to communicate their political ideas, and will eventually betray some kind of bias to a particular party. Then it’ll turn into a stupid political debate.
Let me start by saying that as far as I know, I have no political bias towards any parties, and consider myself a “comic neutral”, in that I don’t take a side so I can make jokes about every side. I’d also not do something like tell you who I was voting for if I was decided. I don’t want people to know my political views and I don’t want to force them on anyone, and I’d prefer it if people didn’t try to do it to me. This article doesn’t take any side, and doesn’t encourage you to vote for anyone. If you think it does, you’re doing it wrong.
However, the only reason I’m writing this is because I’m sometimes surrounded by people whose opinions and views are ones I disagree with to the point where I actually feel like I have to speak out against what they’re saying. Which pretty much fundamentally happens all of the time. I apologise in advance for the lack of images, and the ranting nature of the piece. It’s been a while since I’ve done a rant, and I felt like I needed to write this to let off some steam. I also apologise for the lack of images. It was hard getting images that were completely neutral, which I could then caption comically, and I feel it works better without the images. It means its a bit harder to read, but it works better this way. Also, I apologise because it isn’t the strongest thing I’ve written in a while, and it’s a weak piece to go out on before my extended break from writing. Nevertheless, you may disagree, which is fine.
So, enough of the prolonged intro, let’s actually have the article, and I hope you enjoy :D
Recently, due to the Elections coming up, I ended up in a conversation where Politics and people’s political views came out. After a couple of jokes, someone said “Oh, I’m just going to waste my vote on someone like the Green Party or the Monster Raving Looney Party“. The problem? They were serious. This isn’t the only time I’ve come across this, and it’s probably not for anyone else. I don’t imagine I’m one of the only people who knows someone who thinks like this. I don’t mind it so much when it’s people who aren’t old enough to vote, because they can’t vote and by the time they can vote, they’ll probably change their mind. It just bugs me when people say it who can legally vote and say it seriously.
Q: Why do people say this?
A: It’s because of one of two reasons:
1. They think they’re making a funny joke. However, it’s the same joke so many other have done that it’s not funny, and just groan-inducing. That may be my opinion, but I’ve yet to know a single person to laugh at that “joke”.
2. They think they’re making a statement. In that, it’s normally followed by the phrase “It’ll make a statement to the major parties if I don’t vote for them and waste my vote on a lower party.”
Yes, they think they’re making a statement. They are, in fact. It’s just not the statement they’re trying to make.
The only statement they are making is that they’re trying to make a statement.
If they genuinely wanted to vote for those parties, then fair enough, but they’re deluded enough to sit and believe that if they vote for one of the lower parties, it’s going to make a statement to the larger parties. It doesn’t actually work like that, guys, sorry. Despite your deluded thinking, the Government party leaders don’t sit on thrones of skulls, going “Drats!” and/or “Curses!” when you don’t vote for them.
As I was discussing with my good friend Dom Dove (www.domdove.co.uk), he said that “Their vote, potentially for an unworthy party, WILL count“. This is something I strongly agree with, of course, or I wouldn’t be introducing it to prove my point. The point being that if you vote for someone just because, or because you’re trying to make a statement by not voting for a major party, then you’re giving them unwanted validity. If everyone voted for one party just to make a statement, then that’s either everyone wasting their votes, or everyone votes in a party that shouldn’t be in, because people think that trying to make a statement will give their lives some validity. Then we’re stuck with a party in power we shouldn’t have, and you just ruined everything for everyone. Not that that’s likely to happen.
On that subject, if anyone makes a joke about or says they’re voting Monster Raving Looney Party, you deserve to be punched. Hard. You’re exactly the kind of person who thinks you’re being funny when everyone else around you wants to beat the living hell out of you. It’s not funny past the age of 15. If you still believe you’re being genuinely funny, you should start believing in the ability of flight, shortly before jumping off a cliff. You prick.
Getting back on topic, the point of their pointless voting is to “make a statement”.
Surely, the biggest statement you can make is not voting? So, if you truly want to make a statement, why not… Not vote?
I know I’m sounding incredibly new age, and probably coming across as some kind of dirty hippy by saying this, but why don’t we try this revolutionary idea of just not voting if we don’t know who to vote for?
Here’s a short, simple guide on Hot Not To Vote:
Step 1: Do not vote.
It’s just that easy! If you need anymore than those steps, you’re doing it wrong.
My revolutionary system on not voting is bound to attract questions and statements, so let’s address them now!
I want to make a statement! What do I do?
Stop being concerned with trying to make a statement. The only person you’re impressing is yourself. Everyone else is secretly judging you behind your back, you attention seeking jerk.
Or, Don’t Vote.
I don’t know which party to vote for! What do I do?
As Dom Dove said: “If someone genuinely doesn’t know which party to vote for, they shouldn’t pick one just because they think they have to”.
I’d say this:
Carefully look at each party. Look at their policies, the people in charge, what ideas they want to enact, and then ask yourself: Do you really want these people in charge? Do you really want these people to run the country you live in? Then, vote for whoever you think is most suitable for running the country in the way you want it. If you feel none of the parties or people in charge represent you or your views most effectively, then I feel there’s no shame in not voting. After all, as Dom says, why should you feel pressured into voting for people? You don’t have to vote for someone just because people make you think you have to. There’s actually no shame in not voting if you don’t want to, or feel no one represents your view.
“You can vote for who you want, as long as it’s not…”
Okay, I’m going to stop you right there. You’re still forcing your political opinion onto others with that kind of statement. What if they want to vote for that party? Then you’re making people feel like their opinion or views are wrong. Why not just let people form their own opinions and vote for who they want? Or, would you rather they just not vote at all? If someone says the above quote to you, why not refuse to vote, just to spite them? After all, they’re trying to spite you by telling you who you can’t vote for.
Aren’t you forcing your political views onto others with this, Ed?
That’d be odd if I was, seeing as I haven’t shown any political views so far. I’ve just been telling people How to Not Vote. That’s not a political view. I’m not telling you if I’m voting or not, and I wouldn’t tell you who I voted for if I did. I’m not telling you to vote for anyone. I’m just helping people realise they don’t have to vote if they don’t want to, and providing them with a guide on how to not vote. That’s not forcing my political views onto anyone, and I think you’re trying to read too deeply into this in order to judge me. You’re doing it wrong.
If you don’t vote, you have no right to an opinion.
If you believe this, you have no right to an opinion yourself.
Once more, I’m going to invoke the words of Dom Dove:
“I don’t like ‘No Vote? No Opinion’ – you can have an opinion and be smart enough to know you’re not a reliable voter”
And yet again, Dom is completely correct. I mean, I write humourous articles for the internet, I play a dangerous amount of videogames, and have morals and opinions that many other people disagree with or find weird. In my opinion, I’m not a reliable voter. So if I decided to not vote, it’d be my own decision. It then wouldn’t mean that I wasn’t allowed an opinion. Surely, my opinion would lead me to not voting? Just because someone doesn’t vote, doesn’t mean they’re not allowed an opinion. There’s plenty of reasons why people could choose not to vote, and it doesn’t make their opinions any less valid than someone who does vote.
Besides, in my opinion, those who tell others their opinion is invalid if they don’t vote are just trying to make themselves feel important and like their opinion matters more than other people. So they’re just as bad as those people who believe they’re making statements by voting for lesser parties. See? I tied it all together in the end! Bet you didn’t see that twist coming!
After that dragged out affair, it’s easy to conclude with this:
It’s perfectly fine for people to not vote. They shouldn’t feel pressured to do it if they don’t want, and if people are desperate to try to make some kind of statement, their best way to make a statement is to not vote. “Wasting a Vote” is if anything, worse than not voting, because you’re actively pointing out that your right to vote doesn’t matter, and you’re wasting the opportunity you’re given. If you want to give your vote power, and make it matter, then research into the parties and try to pick the party that best reflects your views and what you want to happen in this country. If none of the parties do that, then don’t feel pressured into voting. Even if you don’t vote, you’re still allowed an opinion, no matter what anyone else tells you.
Thanks for reading.
P.S: Special Thanks to Dom Dove. He can be found at www.domdove.co.uk. Please read his stuff.
P.P.S: Benjaminrees points out this article, which would also pretty much solve all of my problems. http://chris-coltrane.livejournal.com/402634.html
P.P.P.S: Due to Uni and Exam commitments, Life’s A Game will most likely not update until after the 15th of May. This is the last unique article written by me until then. Thanks for reading Life’s A Game beforehand, and hopefully see you after the break :)