Dear Russell, grow up. Yes you. Grow up. You who thinks you can show an out-of-touch Westminster elite a thing or two by not voting. You, whose hard-won cab driver wisdom assures you that all politicians lie to get the gig, that vested interests always hold sway, that there is one rule for the poor and barely any rules at all for the rich. You who thinks voting changes nothing anyway. Of course your vote doesn’t change anything. Grow up.
Unless you live in a marginal constituency, or suddenly Scotland, your vote means fuck all. In 12 of the last 17 elections, 90% or more seats stayed with the party defending them. For most of us this means our participation in the process is mainly pointless, unless like me you find village halls strangely fascinating. But being powerless in the process is not the point. Of course it’s not the point. Grow up.
Now is not the time to be acting like a disaffected teenager. If you’re disappointed with your politicians, by the lack of big ideas, by the lack of vision, what the hell did you expect? This is modern capitalist democracy, it’s how it works, it is the very nature of the beast. You don’t look at a camel and wish it was more like a jet ski. It’s a fucking camel. You may as well try and imagine Paris without the dog shit. It’s a lovely dream, but a dream nevertheless.
So you’re cynical and suspicious of the system – who isn’t? – and by all means act cynically and with suspicion, but for God’s sake act. Imagine you’re buying a new car or hiring a London builder. You’re going to get screwed somewhere down the line, but do the best research you can. Get informed, then make your best guess.
If you can’t bring yourself to support a particular party then vote tactically to keep out the party you hate most. This may mean holding your nose and voting for some unutterable bunch of shit bags like the Liberal Democrats, just to keep UKIP or the Tories out, but vote you must. What? Did you think that this is like the movies? That you get to vote for the party who best represents your hopes and ideals, they then sweep to power on a wave of popular support? You’re not voting for the fucking prom queen. Or the Green Party. This is mean, vote-grubbing, unhopeful, untrustworthy modern democracy. But it’s the best we’ve got. Grow up.
This is the most important election this country has ever seen. That is no hyperbole. It may also turn out to be one of the closest run. It is the election which will determine who we are as a nation. Do we think that people poorer, sicker, less advantaged than ourselves deserve to be helped? That people other than the privately educated children of the rich deserve a chance to make a success of themselves? Do we think that multi-billion pound industries should pay tax like the rest of us? Are we actually a society, who by sticking together via the infrastructure of the state can weather personal and national storms? Or are we venal, self-interested, embittered refugees from a system and a planet so broken we can’t be bothered to kick the can of civilisation slightly further down the road for the next generation?
Yes, in reality we all know you can’t get a rizzla between the policies of the main parties, but have a look and see where you CAN fit a piece of paper, a small but really important piece of paper, and put your X on it. It’s the grown up thing to do.