They're not voting because...
- Malcontent not Apathetic
I am 33 years old and have only ever voted once in my life; when I was 18 and it was a new thing that I could do.
One of the main reasons for my serial abstentionism is the use of negative campaigning. Parties and individuals spend more time telling us why we shouldn't vote for the other parties instead of why we should vote for them.
Example: Iin the last by-election, I received an A3 mailshot from my local Labour candidates. On one side was a picture of a frail old woman, with the words 'In April, Conservatives and LibDems voted to close local nursing homes.'
'Ah!' I thought, 'On the other side they are going to tell me about their alternative strategy.' Wrong! Instead it made a personal swipe at a LibDem candidate who had been charged with a drink-driving offence two years earlier.
Instead of my usual tactic of spoiling my ballot paper on election day, I wrote 'No more negative campaigning!' and posted it through the door of the candidate responsible, along with a letter thanking him most sincerely 'for restoring my complete lack of faith in politicians.'
Imagine you were going for a job interview, and when asked what you could bring to the company you respond with, 'Well, the other guy dresses up in his wifes clothes. You don't want to employ him!' I think you can kiss that job opportunity goodbye.
I am NEVER going to vote AGAINST someone. I will only ever vote FOR a candidate who I am conviced is worthy of my vote and will represent me and my views in Parliament.
Another complaint is the current 'first past the post system'. I would like to vote for any of the parties standing in any constituency in the country, rather than being stuck with the main three (plus the Communist Party) who are the only ones standing in mine. We supposedly have more choice about our schools, GPs, hospitals etc now, but not about our voting choices.
I could go on for hours, but I won't bore you much longer. I will however make some closing comments:
People often say to me, 'If you don't vote, then don't complain when things go wrong.' I say, 'If you DO vote, don't complain when things go wrong because YOU gave them your approval.'
If you must vote, vote for something you believe in whole-heartedly and not because you feel obliged.
If you are not going to vote, take some positive action by SPOILING YOUR BALLOT PAPER. This way, politicians will see that it is not apathy that gets the majority vote, but malcontents who are willing to take a stand. I dream of the day when more than 50% of the electorate turn in spoiled ballot papers. Perhaps then the powers that be will have to take note.written 26th Apr 2005