I have always voted, ever since I was old enough to do so, aged eighteen. I voted in the General Elections, and always in the Local Council elections too. In most of the places I lived, and the one where I live now, my party of choice rarely if ever won, but I carried on voting anyway. If I lived somewhere where there was no candidate that I was enthusiastic about, I voted tactically, to try to reduce the majority of the party I liked the least. I never once failed to vote, not in the forty-seven years I had the opportunity.
When other people told me that they didn’t vote, or had never voted, I would pontificate on the history of the working people’s struggle to gain the vote, along with a mention of the bitter struggle of the Suffragettes, to get that same right for women. I reminded them that people died so that they had the right to vote. If after all that they were still determined not to bother, then I would tell them that I was ashamed of them.
Some people made the claim that it made no difference which party was in power, so that was why they didn’t vote. I was quick to remind them that The National Health system that they enjoyed had only been brought in because of a Labour Government. Had the Conservatives remained in power, it would never have happened. I might also add that laws pertaining to the working week, safety conditions, and rights to holidays and weekends off, were all brought in by Labour Governments. I would assert that it made a great difference which party was in power, especially in Local Councils, who control the distribution of money for things like care of the elderly, education budgets for schools and colleges, and the provision of social housing.
I was a ‘Voting Evangelist’. God forbid anyone in my hearing mentioned that they had no interest in voting.
Then came 2016, and The EU Referendum. I voted to leave the EU, as I have mentioned many times before. To my great surprise, the Leave side won. I spent the next day in quiet contemplation of the power of the ballot box, the will of the majority, and the triumph of a well-managed voting system. But I soon became uneasy. The losers on the Remain side started to make noises about refusing to accept the result. Court cases were brought, and lost, and many leading politicians openly spouted about the fact that they did not really accept the vote was ‘informed’, based on a real knowledge of the issue. In other words, the ‘Plebs’ had won, and they were too stupid to understand the consequences.
To make matters worse, we had a Prime Minister who had been firmly convinced we should stay in the EU, and she was now charged with taking us out. So the machinations began, behind closed doors in Brussels, or other European cities. Two years later, the so-called ‘best deal’ was presented, which amounts to us staying in the EU in all but our name on the paperwork. Mrs May went to Europe, and came back with their deal, already written down in a sealed envelope, presumably. Nobody likes or wants that deal, not even most of her own party. But it is being presented by her as the only deal on the table, and when she was told that it was not the deal the Leave voters wanted when they voted in the referendum, she may just as well have shrugged and said “So what?”, for all she cared.
So after a life time of voting, I can finally see that if I ever vote for something that does not suit those in power, it will be overturned. Not in a bombastic fashion that might actually cause disgruntled workers or revolutionaries to take to the streets, but in a superior, ‘We know better than you’ manner. Slyly showing us, with a knowing smile, that they will get their way, whatever the actual vote might have been.
That’s it then, I’m done with voting. Sorry to the Suffragettes, and everyone else that fought valiant struggles to get the vote for all adults over the age of eighteen. It might have been worth your trouble for a hundred years or so, but now it has become pointless, in this deceptive modern age.
Please feel free to turn in your graves.