If you thought that we would do nothing you’ve misunderstood

Unless you’ve been lost in the outback or hiding under a rock for the past few months you have probably noticed that there is a general election happening here in the UK very soon. Every five years we, the people of the United Kingdom, get the chance to vote for the political party who will doubtlessly renege on most of the promises they made that convinced us to vote for them. I wasn’t sure whether to add my voice to the already swelling number of articles and blogs that are being written about this topic right now. Then I remembered some conversations I had with my girlfriend when I was 18. She was a student at the University of East Anglia and it will come as no surprise that, like many students, she thought politics was really important. I was a school dropout playing drums in a Heavy Metal band whose only aim was to make real the dream I had of becoming a professional musician. To me politics was boring, achingly dull – old people (remember when political leaders were older people?) who just seemed to shout at each other across a table about things that, quite frankly, I didn’t think concerned me at all. I was 18. I had the right to tick that preferred box, but chose not to. Well, I say chose not to, in fact it was more like couldn’t be arsed.

Obviously, over the passing years as I collected the mandatory mortgage, marriage, and children, my interest in politics began to grow. I hung up my drum sticks and started my own business. At that point it occurred to me that almost every decision being made in that house in London was in one way or another affecting my life. I had no choice but to take notice of those shouting people.

You are the Weakest Link, goodbye...

You are the Weakest Link, goodbye…

I remember the last election clearly. It was the first time I had seen the leaders of the main parties debate on live TV. In truth I found that aspect very compelling. I saw the sad and weary Gordon Brown tumble, the fresh-faced Cameron trying his best to emulate what had worked for Tony Blair, and Nick Clegg turn in a very convincing role as the obvious third alternative that very few people had really noticed up until those debates. So on that day in May I made my way to our local polling station and added my voice. I had voted Green every time up until then but last time I, like so many others, had been convinced by the smiling face of Clegg to go yellow. As the results started to arrive it became apparent that my vote had inadvertently voted in the Conservative party. A party who I had learned to despise during the 80s. I had voted Lib Dem, and they had chosen the party of my nightmares. It taught me a valuable lesson. The way our voting works is not black and white and every vote really does count. When we make that little cross on that paper it not only goes for the party we want, it can also help the party we want the least get into power through the back door.

A few days later I had the most intense shower of my life. Water and suds were flying everywhere (if you’re visualising this I’m sorry, go to your happy place) as I remembered the last time we had the Tories in power. Exclusion zones and riot police around Stonehenge, the Poll Tax, a police state destroying the homes of New Age Travellers, the road protests and battles for Twyford Down and Newbury. And pretty much the first thing they had tried to do was to sell off England’s publicly owned forests. Deja Vu just doesn’t cut it. During that shower my song Sons and Daughters (of Robin Hood) was born.

As I drive along I see the placards for the various parties and most seem to be driven by fear – suggesting what would happen if you voted for ‘them’ rather than what we will do if you vote for ‘us’. Oddly the only party who seem to be telling people what they will do is UKIP, but I wonder how many people who are considering voting for Fromage’s party have actually read their full manifesto. The country’s woes will not suddenly be fixed if we leave Europe and come down hard on immigration. If you are considering UKIP and haven’t already done so please read the full manifesto and see what you are letting yourself and the rest of us in for. If you still want them in after that then go ahead, but please be fully informed.

My love affair with the Green Party might also be faltering if I’m honest. I’ve read their full manifesto and there are also some things in there that I would find it very hard to vote for. I am still amongst the undecided. But I make this pledge, I will be there on polling day to add my voice. The vote I give will be fully considered and will reflect not only who I want in but also, after last time, who I want to keep away from power.

I wrote, How do we vote when there isn’t a choice? The choice of party is a tough one, but let’s never forget that Some have died to pave the way, so we can vote come polling day. So we do have the choice to vote. Something that many around the world are still denied. Even if you spoil the ballot paper, or vote for the party you dislike the least, please please still go and make your voice heard.

It’s true what they say. No matter who you vote for the government still get in. But it’s hard to complain about what happens next if you had nothing to do with how things turned out.

See you at the Polling Station on the 7th.

By | 2016-10-14T11:00:34+00:00 April 21st, 2015|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , , , |46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Kathy Zimmerman April 21, 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply

    I find voting to be very tricky, too. I would always vote green if I could but every vote (to the right party) will most likely end up where I don’t want it. I feel the corporations have already won and there is little hope for any of us getting a fair shake. Good luck with yours.

    • Damh the Bard April 21, 2015 at 11:48 am - Reply

      As one of the oldest animals once said, “This stone was once a mighty mountain, and I have scratched my beak on it every day and thus worn it down”. Things change, but slowly x

    • kevin chesters April 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      I will vote the Greens but not happily. I know people who do not vote. How about “none of the above” or a nice big X through the paper. It still goes as a vote. You can only pray to the lord and lady the scum Tories do not carry on raping our land.

  2. Si April 21, 2015 at 11:19 am - Reply

    At least we got some LibDem policies acted on and the Tory machine somewhat controlled.
    The Libdems couldn’t go into coalition with Labour for obvious reasons but I will still vote for whichever party has the most believable and appropriate manifesto.
    There at least is some honesty in the Yellow corner.
    As they say ‘look right, look left and then cross’ 😉
    BTW Sabbat is a great Album… Thank you for it!

    • Damh the Bard April 21, 2015 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Yes there is that. I wonder what the journey of the last 5 years might have been like without the Lib Dems there. Glad you like the album!

  3. Stephen April 21, 2015 at 11:37 am - Reply

    For me it has to be Green.. Even though there are parts of their manifesto that make me think “” mmmmm”. They are the only party that have a genuine concern for the environment. There is to much reterick on NHS, Immigration, Corporation tax etc driven by the other parties through the media. If we really want a shift in consciousness on the enviroment it’s has to start with the only Party that flys our flag . Many acorns make a forest. /|\

    • Damh the Bard April 21, 2015 at 11:56 am - Reply

      I agree Stephen, and that’s how I thought for many years, and still do to be honest. Brighton has had Caroline Lucas and she is an amazing woman and MP. There has also been another Green Party councillor here who has acted dreadfully and now I think they will have a heard time holding the seat. As I said, I’m still undecided. I’ll know on the day.

      • Michelle Brown April 21, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

        Except that the Greens cannot deliver on their promises. Their plans are extremely expensive – where are they going to get the money from?

        • Damh the Bard April 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm - Reply

          Well. They might open a huge scrap metal business recycling all of the cars we will no longer need due to their improved public transport system?

          • Michelle Brown April 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

            LOL! Hardly a money spinner. Where’s the rest of the money going to come from?

  4. Michelle Brown April 21, 2015 at 11:55 am - Reply

    100 years ago, women were being beaten, imprisoned and force fed so that women like me could have an equal and real say in how our country was governed.

    I now find that my vote is largely meaningless. 60% to 70% of the laws that affect my life are made by unelected Commissioners in Brussels, who take an oath to represent the interests of the EU super-state, not the interests of me or my country even when my country has appointed them.

    I am asked to vote for an MEP whose role in the EU Parliament is merely to propose amendments to legislation written and decided by the unelected Commission.

    Whilst big business has the money to lobby the EU in favour of laws that affect me (there are more lobbyists in Brussels than there are in Washington), I have no one to lobby.

    My vote has been surrendered by successive governments that have agreed to a political union that the rest of us never agreed to. I don’t believe Cameron’s referendum pledge and Labour, LibDems and Greens will all deny me my say in this issue.

    Only UKIP are listening.

    I want friendship and trade with the peoples of Europe. I also want my vote and the governance of my country back.

    • Damh the Bard April 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks for you comment Michelle and for your honesty. I have trouble with this one-policy argument to be honest. I always want to know what are the UKIP policies on the environment? Are they pro-fracking for instance? Will they help protect out national parks and countryside? How do they stand on supporting disabled people, and what are their policies on mental health? Is the NHS safe in their hands? Things like that. I know their stance on Europe and immigration. It’s all they ever talk about. But a government needs to be able to run a country as a whole, and I don’t think UKIP have a clue how to do that, but that’s just my observations.

      • Michelle Brown April 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

        Thank you for your answer and wow, lots of questions.

        Immigration – UKIP aren’t anti immigration or anti immigrant. UKIP just want the British people to decide what immigration policy is, not the EU. I’d also remind everyone that the EU itself controls the borders of the EU & doesn’t let people across those borders.

        Fracking issue – Fracking itself is subject to safety and environmental impact. No fracking would take place unless local people affected by the fracking voted in favour of it in a referendum.

        UKIP also have the policy that local people would also be able to trigger a referendum on local development which would also protect greenfield and the local environment (or at least put its protection back with the people), re-enfranchising local people whose views are largely ridden roughshod over under currently planning legislation – particularly since the Tories brought in their licence to develop for their pals.

        Mental health – An additional £170m funding, which will come from EU savings. Mental healthcare will be given parity with physical health care, patients diagnosed with a debilitating long-term condition or terminal illnesses will be directed to mental health professionals when appropriate. UKIP are also offering direct access to specialist mental health treatment for pregnant women and mothers of children under 12 months of age.

        NHS – NHS will be (a) free at the point of use and (b) FUNDED OUT OF TAXATION (as per Louise Bours, UKIP NW conference). An additional £3bn investment, plus £2bn in cost savings from charging visitors to the UK for using our NHS. 8k more GPs, 20k more nurses & 3k more midwives. PFI to be rolled back and cancelled where possible (unfortunately, Labour allowed the PFI companies to nail our ******* to the floor on PFI).

        National parks & countryside – UKIP are against building on the countryside and will protect the countryside. They will put some of the money saved from leaving the EU in grants for the regeneration & clean up of brown field sites, maintain a brownfield site register and make it more attractive for developers to develop brownfield sites than greenfield ones.

        Export of live animals for slaughter – UKIP will ban this practice, which is currently impossible to ban under EU laws.

  5. Patrick Corcoran April 21, 2015 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    In the United States, our Green Party is still a minority third party…in a country where two parties, the democrats and republicans, have held a duopoly for the entire 20th Century. The same goes for the state level. My state of West Virginia, the only state to fully reside in the gloriously ancient Appalachian Mountain Range, is blessed with the greatest biodiversity in the country. Yet, WV has been completely controlled and exploited by the extractive industries throughout the 20th Century…our natural assets plundered for quick-term gain. Our state green political force is the Mountain Party and it’s full of really cool people. The majority of people just need to get involved…if the majority looked at our bylaws, they would see that there are great points for human survival! I don’t know why I’m writing all this…I guess I just want Britain to know that the US has similar political issues. Oh, and I’m very proud of you all for putting your foot down against fracking…it has free reign right now in West Virginia and we are beginning to experience the repercussions in the form of disease and earthquakes!

    • Damh the Bard April 21, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Thanks Patrick. It must be tough having an either/or political climate. It’s your turn soon to get voting I believe?

      • David April 21, 2015 at 4:50 pm - Reply

        If only it was that simple. As a Brit living in the States, let me explain how I see American politics:

        When the U.S. holds its biennial election in November 2016, voters can “choose” between two parties, each with two bickering factions. The Republican Party consists of traditional Thatcherites mixed with Nigel Adams (of Selby and Ainsty) and the rising power of extremists of the Thatcherite+Adams calibre who seemingly seek to change U.S. government into a white male-dominant Protestant Christian theocracy (as opposed to the white male-dominant Protestant Christian republic it is now). The Democratic Party consists of liberal Thatcherites and the youth-based Lib Dem progressives. The parties won’t give the time of day to the other; large elements of the factions refuse to compromise with any other faction and each faction has its own media to ensure no one strays from the chosen path.

        As often as UK manifestos are filled with lies, at least a reader develops a picture of how the country will be run within the confines of the individual manifesto. American manifestos contain almost exclusively moral platitudes and empty tropes. “This politician supports a living wage.” “This politician will work with oil and coal companies to produce cleaner energy.” Can anyone tell me what these mean? Do they mean anything? Are they intentionally empty so you can project your personal politics into it long enough to press a button on the monitor on polling day?

        Political debates in the United States reveal how much credence organisations like the United Nations hold within the U.S. Common topics are “Should Atheists and Muslims be treated equally to Christians?”, “Do young people have a right to be educated?”, “Should citizens be able to see a dentist?” and “Should a billionaire be gifted a sports stadium free of charge (including taxes and rent) from a municipality?” On the day in 2013 when Parliament voted not to join the planned U.S.-led invasion of Syria, the United States Congress held a vote on whether to rename a post office. It took a protest from the military for Congress to be able to vote on invading Syria. Of course, nowhere in any of these debates is the U.N. Charter or Declaration of Human Rights brought up, despite the U.S. Constitution mandating that these treaties be honoured. National parks, NHS, and mental health are far from the concerns of U.S. politicians and most of their constituents.

  6. Jackie Rainbow April 21, 2015 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    I will vote. I always have, that vote was too hard won for me. But like you I am betwixt and between.

  7. Amanda April 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Great post! Like you, I didn’t care for politics when I was younger… My sister was really big on politics, studying it at A Level, doing work experience with our local MP etc but I just didn’t see how it related to me (much to her dismay!!) I voted at 18 (just 5 days after my birthday in fact) but only following my daisy’s lead, not because I knew about the policies and promises… I think I missed the election whilst at uni as I was abroad. So the first time I really cared was the last one, and that’s because I was older and far more aware of how politics affected everybody’s life!!

    Like you, again, I was swayed by the debates to vote Lib Dem. I was also dismayed by the outcome of that! This time I was really unsure… I was considering Green but then after watching the debates (on catch up, we don’t have live TV and it has been the only time I have ever missed it!!) and reading the manifestos I am certain I am voting Labour now. Out of all the parties I feel they have the best balance of ideas to move the country forward. I have no doubt they will renege on promises, but there seems to be more substance, for me, in there. I guess the fact we’re private renters, struggling to make ends meet, working hard (despite I’ll health) to afford the very basics, beaten down by childcare costs etc sways my vote a lot right now, and that’s what my vote comes from. But what I find astonishing is that even if I had wanted to vote Green I couldn’t, because there isn’t a Green Party candidate in our area anyway. I still find the British electoral system confusing…

    We’re actually moving this Saturday so I had to reregister us at our new address, but there was no way I was missing the chance to vote. I agree that we should all consider how lucky we are to have a vote before deciding if we really want to vote or not, because sometimes I think we forget how lucky we are in that respect!

  8. Chris April 21, 2015 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I voted Liberal Democrat to keep try and keep the Tories out, never again. As for UKIP, bunch of right ring, xenophobic, little Englanders, Farage is a Thatcherite, need I say more. It always makes me laugh when people say “where will they get the money from” we found money to bail out the banks, we could afford tax cuts for the rich, we will find money to replace Trident and we always seem find money for the foreign wars we keep getting involved in/starting. The worst thing that could happen to this country would be a Tory UKIP coalition, because then anyone on benefits, the low paid, disabled, retired on state pension, public services, NHS, immigrants, social housing tenants, and the environment are up shit creek without a paddle.

  9. Alan Gale April 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Before you vote Green, take a look at one of their main pledges, To scrap the cap on immigration, to scrap the cap on how much benefits those coming in can claim! In short every bugger is welcome and be damned if our infastructure can’t cope! Whilst i’m all for protecting nature and wildlife, I am growing increasingly concerned about just how we are coping with a rapidly increasing population. I am not racist by any means, but I do think that immigration MUST be controlled in the same way that it is in Germany for instance, where a point system is in place, Anyone coming in MUST have a job to go to, MUST be able to speak the language and CANNOT claim benifits straight away. I believe Australia has a similar system. Where I live we now have a massive East European community, Most of them work on the local farms and they are welcomed as they are hard workers. However it has lead to a shortage of housing because of it. It has also lead to many of the Doctors surgeries now being full and having to turn away patients. Of course it also means that there are now a lot more foreign plated vehicles on our roads and many of them are not as well maintained as would be expected over here, badly maintained cars and vans cause a lot more pollution, (certainly some of the old wrecks that have arrived in Bognor would never pass an MOT) This is repeated right across the country, a fact that the Greens seemed to fail to realise. Until the problem is resolved it is madness to suggest that the controls are lifted. More vehicles, More houses built on greenfield sites(we have several massive new estates around the edges of Bognor Regis that were built on what was farmland until around 5 years ago!) That is NOT GREEN, That is DAMAGE! Generosity is one thing, opening the door to every Tom, Dick and Harry is just stupidity.

    • Jan O'Donnell April 21, 2015 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      The Green Party manifesto claims that it does not have an open door policy and reject an open borders approach and state that some controls on immigration will be needed for the foreseeable future.

    • Kae Sera April 25, 2015 at 10:22 am - Reply

      I don’t understand why people seem to think it’s so easy to immigrate to the UK. It’s not – it’s very, very difficult unless you are highly skilled and your skills are in demand (like doctors).

      We have a freedom of movement agreement with all EU countries (as does Germany) which is completely different to applying for immigration from a non EU country. We have illegal immigrants – these are here without permission and whether we were in the EU or not, they would still find a way to get here and we have laws to deal with them.

      I have been an immigrant in another country (I am British) and I was welcomed and treated with respect. I was never once told to “go home” even when I found myself without a job – I had paid into the system and I therefore had the right to withdraw from it. I despair and often find myself weeping at the xenophobia and small mindedness that is raising it’s ugly head in my country. This latest dangerous Tory “vote catcher” of setting the English people against the Scots is the last straw!

  10. Alysa Blackwood-Bevan April 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    As ever, sound common sense posting about the political system. The mantra I always took from Sons and Daughters of Robin Hood, was ‘How do you vote when there isn’t a choice?’ This election time highlights it even more.

    • Keith C April 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      I sympathise Alysa. I suppose the answer is either to spoil your vote or vote for someone you vaguely agree with or against those you like least to try nd see to it that they don’t get in.

      Difficult I know, but if you don’t vote the government gets in anyway

      • Alysa Blackwood-Bevan April 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

        🙂 Thanks Keith, I will certainly be voting in the election, but am using a tactical vote to keep the worst of the parties at bay. It has become a vote for the lesser of the threats to the economy and to keep parties with sinister agendas at bay. Blessings

  11. John Cumming April 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Damh

    I live in Scotland. I know you can’t vote for them but what do you think of the Scottish National Party (SNP)?

  12. Chris April 21, 2015 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Alan Gale, dress it up however you want but you seem to only be interested in blaming immigrants. And I can’t believe you virtually said “I’m not racist, but”
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=I%27m+not+being+racist%2C+but
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuRT-eEYEUo

    For any animal lovers thinking of voting UKIP think again they are pro fox hunting.
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/out-touch-nigel-farage-backs-4882531

  13. Chris April 21, 2015 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    My conscience means I can’t vote. I know I should but when I see chemtrails in the sky, GMO foods on our shelves, fluoride in the water, and warmongering (to name but a few) and a complete lack of respect for the environment shown by all parties, I cannot give my vote which would effectively condone these acts of barbarism. Where I live we have no green candidate, by the way.

  14. Lauri Holmes April 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Very interesting column today. As a person who has never been outside of the US, except for 3 brief visits to Victoria, BC, it is enlightening to read about another country’s politics. I understand your lamenting the lack of choice. Now multiply that by some frightfully large imaginary number, and you have the situation we have in the states with our supposed two-party system. They spout different ideals, but in reality they all bow to their moneyed overlords. I am fed up. I don’t want my vote-by-conscience to go to waste by voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning. But I also don’t want to vote for a party which is liberal in name only, but not in actions. By the way, I love The Sons and Daughters of Robin Hood. Blessed be.

  15. Paul Pearson (Greenmantle) April 21, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    For the first time in a very long time we have viable alternatives. Until recently, it was a three party race in England, but with the LibDems losing favour due to their broken promises and their (guilt by) association with the Conservatives, and the loud arrival of UKIP and the rise of the Green Party, the political is changing and now is the time when real changes can be voted for. It’s time to let the politicians see that we are no longer just going to throw in the towel or just vote for one of the “big three”, now is a time when change can be seen. Okay, the Green Party or UKIP won’t win the election, but they can make a difference and demonstrate public opnion shifts. Rebuilding the political landscape won’t happen overnight, but don’t just vote because the party may just be a winner, vote for the policies you believe in. Nobody is perfect, but if immigrastion and the EU mean a lot to you, vote for the parties who share your view, if renewable energy is an issue for you, check out whose energy ideas mirror yours.
    Vote, for heavens sake, but vote for the right reasons.
    You don’t win a prize for picking a winner, but later on you may have a bigger prize you can be proud of.

  16. Duncan April 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    Really difficult to decide this year which way to go. I feel I would love to vote Green but I cannot bring myself to accept some of their policies anymore than I can bring myself to accept some of those from other parties.

    It is such a shame we cannot pick a couple fo good policies that each party has put them together and make a party that has real genuine interest in making things better for us all and ditch the rest of them. It will never happen but it would make voting that much easier.

  17. Peter Trapp April 22, 2015 at 2:14 am - Reply

    In Australia we have ‘preferential voting’ – you vote for ALL the candidates, in numbered preference. They count the votes and the lowest toital drops out, but their votes are then redistributed based on the ‘2nd preference’ given on each. And so on until you have only two left – based on their own ‘1st peference votes and all the ‘best alternative’ votes they have accumulated. The parties preference eachother so – for example – your ‘Green’ vote may be allocated to some arsehole who you put last on your paper and who you would hate to get elected…..because the Greens did a deal with the arsehole’s party.
    In South Australia we have a government voted in on 47% of the vote – the Opposition got 53% (2 party preferred) but Labour won more seats with their 47% because the Liberals won all the country seats with massive majority (lots of votes but still only one seat). The Labor Party (without a u’) is the urban party and wins seats by small majorities (lots of seats without huge vote margins). So much for ‘every vote has equal value’.
    Good luck – you can only replace one bunch of scumbags with an equally obnoxious bunch of scumbags.

  18. Andy April 22, 2015 at 7:56 am - Reply

    SNP for me. No to Trident, and a big yes to positive, progressive, inclusive policies – and (not least) a huge Scottish kick-up-the-bum to the tired, same-old snout-in-trough Labcon parties who are, let’s face it, hard to tell apart these days.

    Shame the SNP isn’t standing south of the border!

    • Keith C April 24, 2015 at 1:45 am - Reply

      I can understand your cynicism Dave, I share it too and like you I still think people should vote. If not for someone then against. The choice is imperfect and frequently we have to hold our noses for the least worst option. This time I think though it is especially important. Not since 1979 have we faced a choice like this – though at the time I don’t think most people realised it.
      The free market god has caused immeasurable damage to our world for the benefit of a very few people. From the polluting of the land, to the selling off of millions of hectares of Rain Forest to pay back Brazil’s debt, to poisoning of Bees which threatens our very existence.
      With the advent of TTIP, fracking and the culling we are faced with the real possibility that the country we knew and loved is going to be bought up and chopped up for the benefit of multi-national corporations, it may be too late to stop it but I think that if no party has an overall majority there may be hope.
      What happened North of the border during the referendum gives me some hope. People came together and talked, debated mostly without anger and attacking each other. The young were permitted to vote and communities became engaged in the debate, it was quite remarkable and that is what we need. It should not be about putting a mark in a box every five years but should be a living breathing spirit. At the moment the SNP are the beneficiaries of this spirit, but I sometimes get the impression that they have let a genie out of the bottle and can only control it because they despise the lies and fear of the Westminster parties so much.
      IMHO what we need is some of that spirit, communities talking again and deciding what should be done then telling those at Westminster who it is that is actually in charge.
      This country badly needs constitutional reform, but until we can get that we need to deprive the carpet baggers of Westminster their power, no party should have an absolute majority. So for me a Labour minority government with the backing of the SNP, Greens and PC would be the best of a poor lot.

  19. Treegod April 22, 2015 at 9:06 am - Reply

    For the first time in years since moving to Spain I’ll be voting in the general elections this year (by proxy). The unfortunate thing is that my vote goes to a Tory stronghold, so is in effect “wasted” if I vote for something else. Still, I like the feeling of participating, even from afar, and the candidates will surely look at the numbers of votes for each candidate.

    My own idea of democracy is that it is in general a facade, but it does have an important function, which for me is “neutralisation of the political extremities”. This neutralisation doesn’t change anything, but keeps things from devolving into bloody revolution every five minutes, since we do live in a world of often conflictive diversity. It creates a safe space where I can live my life with a modicum of security and freedom, and with that in place I use my own life to make changes in the world.

    My vote in the general elections is a vote for stability. But I live a more vital vote every day of my life with every choice and every action, and I don’t think I could live that without the “nominal” democracy taking place in London, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona and the local councils.

  20. Tim April 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    With regards to UKIP they are giving the impression of listening ,but what they are actually doing is trading on the fear of people who are do not understand the world today with most of their supporters living in places with no immigrants!
    They are by there own admission are Rightwing party who are never going to support the disabled as they want a smaller state and will sell off the NHS as soon as they can .
    Anybody who believes that ex Tory’s are for the people is rather naive.
    Great album BTW
    All the best Tim

  21. MorningAJ April 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    I’m having a real problem deciding this time. I’m sorely tempted to scrawl “I don’t support any of you” across the ballot paper but that’s just the same as a Tory vote in my area. I wish I believed that anything else I did would prevent the same old Blue guy getting in, but I suspect I’m stuck with him as my representative whether I like it or not. I AM going to vote though. People died so that women could have a say and i’m not going to let them die in vain.

  22. Grey Dove April 23, 2015 at 11:24 am - Reply

    I was born and grew up steeped in Montreal Canada’s politics. The province of Quebec seems not to want to progress past their own sour self centred focus. When I was twenty-seven I moved across the “border” into the province of Ontario. I still care but now at least politics and the language I speak is no longer a daily focus and struggle. Perhaps it was that first quarter century of my life but I have a profound appreciation for the right to vote, even when it appears not to accomplish much, or anything. I also have a deep rooted respect and honour for those women here and in Britain and the U.S. who fought and struggle to give me the right to cast my ballot, I am greatful and will honour their memory with every election by exercising that right. In Quebec they held out, women only got the vote in 1942, … 1942, that is a full twenty-three years after the federal elections allowed women to vote! I do not like our system (very similar to yours), and I vote for a representative I do not like or respect because I do have marginally more respect for his leader and prefer to have him as our Prime Minister. It is a flawed system, but those who rush to criticize it and do not wish to help make it better need to look around the world, we (that is your country and ours, and even the States where for all their bold words individual rights are under attack) are extremely blessed. Thank you for this post and its emphasis on what matters. I follow British politics quite closely (like the BBC more than our radio stations) and have no idea who I’d choose in your place, but yes, please do acknowledge that you live in a country that does give you that right, and please do vote!

  23. Ciara April 24, 2015 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Just two little comments From Ireland. I always voted Green, till they got into power through a coalition arrangement and plowed ahead building a white elephant motor through our most sacred landscape, the screen valley.
    Second, extremist views however nice the frontman can sell himself cause real pain and real harm and danger to any society. both of our countries can atest to that.
    Good luck with hard choices.

    • Slaine Della May 3, 2015 at 1:38 am - Reply

      Yes. That horrified me also. How ever it did not surprise me. In general, politicians are completely despicable and never to be trusted. I say this alot but am always surprised how few people believe me.

  24. Carl Johnson April 24, 2015 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    I think the only real difference in voting green is that all the policies are voted in by party members. So it is possible to change the bits you don’t like. I agree at the moment they do not have a perfect set of opinions to reflect all of us, but, in my opinion, they are the closest we have at the moment. The potential is there.

  25. Ebany April 29, 2015 at 8:55 am - Reply

    I was born in Cornwall and grew up partially in Wales and after that spent my teenage years in Worcestershire. I decided for various reasons that I wanted to move on and ended up coming to the Netherlands after meeting a young Lady at the Cambridge Folk Festival. The main reason was not the young lady, but had more to do with the climate at the time (it was 1979, need I say more?).
    Anyway, after 35 years I’m still here. To my frustration, I am not allowed to vote in either the British elections or the Dutch. I do my bit for the democratic process by running a polling station in one of the cities every election. I can see that you have a problem over there this time, as always, what should you do for the best? I used to always vote Liiberal while I was still in the UK, I always hated the two party system and longed for alternatives. They never even got close in my time there, so I was pleased when they finally got to form a coalition this time. I truly believe that a coalition is a good thing, each party can reign the other in if they drift too far from the agreed policy. It was unfortunate that (in my opinion) they got into bed with the wrong partner, but they have finally had a say in the decisions which have been made.

    A hung parliament is unusual in Britain, but here it is the norm. The difference is that we have proportional representation and Britain still has it’s outdated district system. With PR, a party that gets 25% of the vote across the country would have approximately the same percentage of seats in parliament. It is a fairer system. The downside is that more parties are represented leading sometimes to very fragmented discussions, the upside is that smaller parties get a say in things at the end of the day.

    I honestly do not know how my vote would go this time if I could vote, I do most definitely know who it woud not go to.
    I wish you all wisdom in making your choice.

    One last small thought, I was in England at the beginning of April and my nephew told me that he was following everything very closely and that he found it frustrating that he turns 18 a month after polling day and so cannot vote. I think that’s great, gave me a warm feeling to hear that young people still care about such things.

  26. Slaine Della May 3, 2015 at 1:32 am - Reply

    As I have a deep dislike for politicians, I am hoping for either a conservative or labour majority but who are so weak they need to enter a coalition with all of the following: Libs,Greens,UKIP and SNP. In that way, they will be so ideologically opposed that they will spend all the time arguing with each other and hopefully not get a chance to cause any “real damage”. Plus it should give the bast**ds a hard time of it.

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