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Archive for the ‘European Elections’ Category

To folk who think that spoiling your ballot paper is a wasted throw in the democratic world – I’ve found that Lord Tebbit [the tory bulldog with little room for any sympathy for the working men and women who famously gave the ‘on your bike’ quote…] has indeed done the same as me.

After being warned if he voted for anybody else other than the conservative party he would be thrown out – he has declared that he spoilt his ballot paper… You can find his reasoning here but you’ll have to scroll down a bit.

Now, as he was a faithful Thatcherite, I’m no fan of Tebbit and from my vantage point in The North whilst Thatcher ran the whole place down he seemed to be personally unmoved by the plight of the unemployed and as someone intrinsically wrapped up within and a supporter of the government of the few [How many MPs? How many people do they represent?] I have little time for him but even he can see the point in doing what you think appropriate in the polling booth – whatever that might be…

No doubt he was just fustrated at not being able to vote for UKIP and rather than feeling he could lie he maintained as much of his position as he could to be able to say what he did. Torturous logic to be sure but therein lies his willingness to be able to be honest and open about what he did and being prepared to take the consequences. Whatever I think about Tebbit, I do acknowledge the stand he took.

If more of us thought we could vote according to our consciences rather than believeing we have to vote for the least disagreeable candidate would not our system have to adjust or would the political parties actually try to represent us more fully – thereby openning up for a good debate over political issues and perhaps the odd referendum?

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I was listenning to Hearts and Minds, on Radio4, the second episode about Isaiah Berlin is the one I think has more going for it…. and was struck by one of the quotes of Isaiah about dictators and happinness that reminded me of one of the prominent thinkers of New Labour.

Lord Richard Layard,that economist come cheap hack, in his book ‘Happinness: Lessons from a new science‘ says that we can find out what will make us happy and thus the government should then ‘provide’ that – either by limiting behaviour in certain respects or by forcing us to have these things…

Berlin states in the second episode that Hitler, amongst other dictators, knew what would make folk happy and that once the regime was in place then the governed would appreciate the new regime…

Setting aside the seat belt regulations which declare we must have fasten our seat belts front and back in the privacy of our own vehicles for safety reasons this government has banned hunting and smoking in public whilst gearing up for alcohol amongst a host of  restrictions in other areas of our lives… We have had a shift towards a totalitarian view – ID cards and the like. And here I’ll add the proviso that at the moment the current government has decided that it can’t get enough support for the ID card not that they  would not want it…

A symptom of this is that we have, quite recently, the Archbishop Rowan Williams swat away at selfishness with the phrase ‘excessive individualism’ here and in other articles, despite the fact that not only is the phrase down right misleading and erroneous [somebody excessively individualistic would also be excessively responsible, if that’s possible] it also attacks the basis of defending individuals’ rights…

In a time when CCTV cameras are sprouting up everywhere and ever more details of our lives are being catalogued and liberties curtailed – is it right that someone dropping litter should have a photo of them in the local paper with the words [in effect] saying ‘Wanted‘? Becuase that’s what happens in a town in the north of the UK where the CCTV operators not only watch but can tell people to ‘behave‘… as documented in the first episode of Who’s Watching You?

Perhaps it’s time to shake the political tree and try to get the political class to rethink the value of Liberty…

Because, in the end, even if Layard can find out what would make us, generally, happy other studies show that once you repress folks’ ability to be responsible – that, Dear Reader, that makes us all unhappy… and we are on the path here in the UK with the biggest prison population of any comparable society by a large margin…

So, I ask you to join my cry and Vote ‘Liberty! in the coming elections and try to give a shock to all those jockeys who think they know best…

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To start with a provocative statement – I know folk who have so much faith in the ‘democratic process’ that they were reduced to idiocy when I told them I had not voted; claiming that I had no view worthy of debate…

So why spoil your vote?

In a representative democracy, which is what the U.K. and the E.U. has, you vote for folk to represent your views. If no-one represents your views the question becomes do you vote for someone nearest your point of view, do not bother to vote at all or go along and ‘spoil’ your ballot paper? and if you choose the latter – why bother?

The First Reason is that you can foil any argument that you do not hold your views so lightly that you did not bother to turn up to the polling station. Thus you do have views worth debating.

The Second Reason is that this is a completely peaceful protest and without ‘them’ getting a judge’s permission to go through the ballot papers and their coding it is also completely anonymous.

The Third Reason is that this is a fundamental challenge to the system. Either you do not agree with representative democracy and want to be able to vote on stuff issue by issue or you refuse to endorse candidates you do not agree with… There is the argument that you vote for the best candidate for your aims – this allows for a political consencus over various views with differences being at fringe areas over whatever the parties think will make you vote for them as opposed to the other fellow/s.

Some parties say that a vote for them is a vote for change and that is true depending on who you vote for but should we vote for folk when the rest of the stuff they say we do not agree with?

The Fourth Reason rests on every political party having bought into the system enough for them to stand candidates. Despite the varying degrees of discontent they have with the ‘system’ they wish to use that very same system to change it. Of course once the system empowers them enough to actually change things the first thing they would want to do is to get their ideas implemented and then change things in a way that would allow them to be able to do so again…

The Fifth Reason for spoiling your vote is that every political party wants your vote and if we turn up in a time which has seen a constant decline of folk willing to turn up to the polling stations – then a spoiled vote is something that they would give their eye teeth for if enough folk do so…  It is a fundamental declaration that you are not satisfied with the status quo.

If enough folk spoil their vote in the same way they would see it as a way of gaining votes. Therefore it may shock the political consensus enough to shift it in a direction we want.

If that’s not democracy in action – I don’t know what is…

On another note it could also show how dissatisfied we are with the system we have and therefore make them think about how they could reshape the system for our votes… It might, and I can’t stress the slimness of this chance, make them think we could actually deal with issues and gain ground towards a system which is more issue driven democracy – with referendums and stuff…

Personally, I’m for consencus politics in that if someone is willing to stick their thumb up at tens of millions of people then they either have a very strong reason why they do not agree or they have been allowed (by the system) to be ignored enough that they are now willing to do the same back…

I’m not saying I think that would bring about an utopian society just that it would be a better one than we presently have where tens or hundreds of thousands of folk are left completely forgotten by either the present system or would be even by democracy ran on issues…

So vote ‘Liberty!‘ and hope for the best – whatever reason/s you agree with.

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If enough folk do, they’ll have to count ’em…

and before I get going I want to say that this post is open to being posted by anybody anywhere – and if anybody has there own pet peeve – throw it in. I want, from this post, to get to as many folk as possible because if enough of us vote Liberty ‘THEY’ will have to count our votes…

Vote Liberty

to say you don’t want an ID card.

to say you don’t want ever more CCTVs.

to say we don’t need our fingerprints or retina patterns captured on our passports because of a few countries’ paranoia…

to say we want our private calls to be private – there’s a CIA listenning post which picks up ALL mobile phone calls in the UK and if you think that’s a paranoid conspiracy theory why did Blair admit the CIA was permitted to do this for ‘our own good’ or some such words… in no less a place than the House of Commons. [I forget the actual quote.]

Vote Liberty to say you want to be responsible for how you defend your own home.

to say you want to be free from paying endless expenses for sitting MPs, or even the endless expenses of MEPs – with the European finances repeatedly being found to be short of good accountancy practises…

to say you want to be free from ever more laws from Europe. The Metric Laws, the growing list of plants seeds we can no longer buy, the general bearucratic consencus that means we don’t, nor does anybody else, have a real debate over the future of Europe… Just look to see how many countries say ‘NO’ in a referendum only to have to vote again until they get it right…

Vote Liberty for your own reasons…

If enough folk do, they’ll have to count ’em.

How do we vote Liberty? We simple write it with the pen they give us in the polling booth on the voting slip and pop it in the box and then we wait to see what happens…

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