Saturday, 18 April 2015


Many are totally disengaged from the political process:
Futures Forum: "Do you vote?"... or: How much voter engagement is there?

Observers might suggest this is not by accident:
Futures Forum: Managed democracy: "The deliberate undermining of people's perception of the world, by creating confusion and contradiction ... undermining any opposition to existing power structures ... which leaves us feeling helpless and depressed and to which the only response is: 'Oh dear'."
Guess Who’s About to Buy Congress | The Nation

Non-voting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Russel Brand has made this point more than once:


Paxman vs Brand - full interview - BBC News - YouTube

Sorry Paxman, Here's Why I Don't Vote

Posted: Updated: Eve Sharp
What would I do with a ballot paper? Practice the art of origami, or maybe draw a crude stick man cartoon? Anything, really, but actually vote with it.
Does that mean I'm an angry youth hell-bent on anarchy or a lazy student, too drunk or asleep to have any interest in politics? Surprisingly no. I am one of many young people disillusioned with the current political system and refusing to pick a lesser of the evils we are offered every few years.
Russell Brand caused a stir (when doesn't he?), when he told a baffled Jeremy Paxman that he had never voted, and never will. He outraged the Newsnight host further by urging young people not to vote, something I think Brand got completely right.
Voting these days seems to be a choice between which posh man in a suit is going to lie to us least. As always the general election will be a two-horse race between parties who are completely out of touch with modern Britain. Unfortunately nobody understands that connecting with the youth of today is going to take more than a few Tweets and putting policies on an app. No political figure is accessible to the general public, they can talk about unemployment and understanding life on benefits but I doubt any of them needed grants at Oxbridge.
Think tanks constantly 'reveal' that young people don't trust politicians. Nick Clegg, the poster boy for our mistrust, apologised for the rise in university fees under the coalition. The Lib Dems gathered support when their manifesto promised to stop a rise, a support that has dropped since that spectacular u-turn. The unachievable promise was made with good intentions, apparently. Good intentions, Mr Clegg, won't pay for education and certainty won't build voter confidence.
Despite the countless times I've heard 'nothing will change unless you vote', 'if everyone had that attitude we'd be nowhere', we are nowhere whether young people vote or not. We are constantly bombarded with the message that we'll never be able to get jobs or own property. Why plan for the future when it seems unattainable? If we can't get to the places that policies are most effective, then why vote for them?
The worst lie I am told is that if I don't vote, when things inevitably go tits up I haven't earned the right to be angry. Voting doesn't give you the authority to make political judgments, that's a right we all have as part of this democracy, regardless of whether we cross a box or not. Surely it is better that I refrain from voting than choosing a party because 'a change would be nice' or 'X isn't as bad as Y.' No vote should be better than a pointless or purely tactical one.
The BBC released figures recently that only an estimated 32% of 18 to 24-year-olds voted in the 2013 local elections. Now that's hardly a surprise. What do councillors actually do? Even less than local MPs, who are only known to their constituents by the obnoxiously bright leaflet through the letterbox. It's a trivial post, only taken by the smug and delusional. They have the unrealistic belief that communities actually still exist and fancy popping down to Westminster for an ego boost. It's hardly worth the walk to the voting station.
Does this indifference to the current political system mean I'm not interested in our country and its government? Of course not. If a party came along that expressed views that met my own or close to, then I would be first to the ballot. It isn't about apathy, it's about believing the current system is wrong. And just because a man with a questionable beard shouts that you should vote, doesn't mean you have to.
In the same way that it's claimed we can't change things by not voting, we can't change things if we comply with systems we oppose. By not voting, by protesting and arguing against the system, we let the government know they're doing something wrong and that this generation wants change. So I for one am joining Russell Brand's revolution. Where do I sign up?

Sorry Paxman, Here's Why I Don't Vote | Planet Ivy

Although many would disagree with him:
Russell Brand is wrong – if you don’t vote, you just won’t matter
Ricky Tomlinson: 'Russell Brand is a k***head - everyone must vote in the General Election' - 3am & Mirror Online

The libertarian Murray Rothbard made this comment back in the 1960s:

“ Let's put it this way: Suppose we were slaves in the Old South, and that for some reason, each plantation had a system where the slaves were allowed to choose every four years between two alternative masters. Would it be evil, and sanctioning slavery, to participate in such a choice? Suppose one master was a monster who systematically tortured all the slaves, while the other one was kindly, enforced almost no work rules, freed one slave a year, or whatever. It would seem to me not only not aggression to vote for the kinder master but idiotic if we failed to do so. Of course, there might well be circumstances—say when both masters are similar—where the slaves would be better off not voting in order to make a visible protest—but this is a tactical not a moral consideration. Voting would not be evil but, in such a case, less effective than the protest.

But if it is morally licit and nonaggressive for slaves to vote for a choice of masters, in the same way it is licit for us to vote for what we believe the lesser of two or more evils, and still more beneficial to vote for an avowedly libertarian candidates. ”

Non-voting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mises Daily | Mises Institute
Center for a Stateless Society » If You Vote — or Don’t Vote — Complain

Nevertheless, on Democracy Day earlier this year, whilst the Harvard professor Michael Sandel lectured on the merits of democracy
BBC - Podcasts and Downloads - Michael Sandel: The Public Philosopher

... the East Devon Watch blog pointed to the perceived failings of democracy in East Devon:
For "Democracy Day" (and for the forthcoming meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee) we offer these small contributions. Note that ex-Councillor Brown was subsequently investigated by Devon and Cornwall Police but no charges were brought against him. These are illustrations of how "democracy" can take many forms and not specifically concerned with the conduct of any councillor.
‘Democracy Day’ today, 20th Jan 2015. | East Devon Watch

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