A rant about British “democracy”

When you skip voting it’s not rebellion, it’s surrender

This was posted on a friend’s Facebook page earlier. Below is my reply, which I think stands alone as my feelings on the matter. I have only tweaked it slightly for context.

When voting becomes a matter of not just choosing the least bad option then I will wholeheartedly agree with this, but until they start putting “none of the above” options on ballot papers then whoever is elected, even if they are so with a tiny fraction of the population, will continue to believe that they speak on behalf of the majority of the country.

The Conservatives here were elected in 2010 with 36% of the vote on a 65% turnout – i.e. less then a quarter of the country voted for them, and more people didn’t vote *at all* than voted for them, but yet there they are. It doesn’t help that all three major parties here are just variations on a theme of awful.

Even the Liberal Democrats, who claimed before entering government that they’d try to curb some of the more extreme tendencies of their coalition partners, swiftly capitulated on most of their principles once they got their grubby little mitts on some actual power.

Politics on both sides of the Atlantic has been tainted by the rise and rise of the professional politician. Here it’s no longer the person with a vested interest in their local community being elected; now it’s the high-flyers with their Oxbridge PPE degrees that rise up the party ranks and get pushed into safe seats who reach the highest levels of government, fuelled all the way by rich backers who naturally seek to influence their parliamentary puppets once they’ve achieved office.

Until the “none of the above” option appears I shall continue to hold my nose as I take my ballot paper, go into the booth and mark my ballot for the least awful option available, but I don’t pretend that this is democracy as it should be, and I’m certainly not happy about it.