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Media desperation: don’t organise, vote for novelty acts

11/04/2010

In Thursday’s Evening Standard, Sam Leith told us why not voting is very bad;

From the very second the 2010 election was called, you could see it.

Voter apathy surged up and down the country like a wildfire.

They’re all the same! Why should I bother to vote? It’s either him, or him, or them, isn’t it? We’ve already had him, haven’t we? And I don’t trust him. And who wants them? And — oh look! A bee!

Easy to fall into that trap, but remember: the real beneficiaries of voter apathy are the Liberal Democrats.

Yes, that convinced you, didn’t it? We’re all off to the ballot box now!

But if the threat of Nick Clegg rising like some kind of third-party Beelzebub to conquer Britain on the back of unused votes wasn’t enough to exercise you into going to the polls, there’s more! The chance to vote for novelty acts!

So if you hate politicians, don’t waste your vote.

Spend it on someone who maybe hasn’t a hambone’s chance in a dog factory of getting anywhere near Parliament — but who has dared to dream the beautiful dream.

You can EVEN vote for Esther Rantzen if you’re lucky enough to live in Luton South.

She put herself forward, originally, because she didn’t like the look of the incumbent MP’s expenses.

But when that MP decided not to seek re-election, Esther stayed in the race anyway.

Crazed with the prospect of power? No, she explains: she had “fallen in love” with Luton.

In Dagenham & Rainham, Gordon Kennedy — http://www.justvotethemout.com — is refusing to leave Dagenham’s future in the hands of “those I do not trust to breathe in and out”.

Sometime forklift driver and lumberjack turned manager of an international coffee-roasting company, he promises to represent Dagenham in parliament, not vice-versa.

He tells voters: “I have made plenty of mistakes and would be happy to make them all again.”

In Hampstead and Kilburn, you can vote for Tamsin Omond — the climate change campaigner whose most memorable previous engagement with the House of Commons was climbing up it rather than being voted into it. This may be your only chance to vote for Joan of Arc.

Then there’s Edmonton‘s super-green Tory candidate Andrew Charalambous.

He is, I admit, an actual Tory candidate — so his deposit may even be safe. But what a man!

He looks like an egg, and in his alter-ego as Club4Climate’s tantric master “Dr Earth”, he promises “all you have to do is dance to save the world.” As I said: dreaming the beautiful dream.

These candidates may be eccentric or narrow in focus. The odd one may not have a clue.

But single-issue candidates have changed the political landscape, and not having a clue has never been a bar to public office in this great democracy of ours.

Vote for these people. They are Burke‘s little platoons made flesh.

Is this really what the op-ed pages of newspapers are reduced to in order to sell us the ballot? Sure, it’s easier than attempting to address the myriad of issues that make people utterly disillusioned with the political process, but still. Not even the usual tosh about pushing for big changes by starting with small ones, or throwing away your right to speak out. (We reject the absurd notion that you have to legitimise the political process to earn the right to say it’s without any merit whatsoever.) No, straight to the  “aw, but voting is fun – just look at these lunatics” line.

Still, he does accept that some of us may not be credulous enough to be sold on such crap;

And if you really can’t bear to cast your vote for even a non-politician, the Whitechapel Anarchist Group has you covered.

Show the whole stinking system what you think of it by assembling on election day to burn your ballot in Altab Ali Park, E1: “2pm onwards, Weather Permitting. Food, drink, music and fun.”

Now that, we can get on board with.

In fact, if any group affiliated with The Other Campaign (or who are looking to be affiliated) wish to hold a similar event in their own area, post it up on the Google Group and we’ll be happy to publicise it.

If enough people are up for it, we could even make it a national event. Thousands, even millions of people across the country gathering to burn their ballots and stick two fingers up at the politicians. What a brilliant counterpoint that would be to the utter farce that is the General Election race.

Get in touch! Get involved!

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