Disillusion and NOTA

Following the Article 50 debate in parliament the last few days, and also having a chat to a couple of friends, I have really begun to wonder why I vote at all, esp in Westminster elections.

The quality of the debate overall was very poor with a few exceptions, on an SNP amendment the SNP were only called to speak 3 times in something like 10 hours, and I suffered numerous red and blue Tories basically telling SNP elected Members of Parliament to sit down and shut up with the usual double standards of the speaker’s chair, it was all so predictable but also very depressing.

Then I thought about the way that MSPs are elected with the additional member system meaning that we end up with a lot of career politicians who never actually win an election and many of whom are pretty rubbish. A system designed to ensure that there is rarely a majority and one that was intended to keep the SNP out.

In local election we have the single transferable vote system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked voting in multi-seat constituencies, again another system that ensures that many candidates are elected in third place or worse and candidates that no one really wanted in the first place. I accept that some people feel this system is more representative of the actual views of the electorate but that only works if you can end the stupid petty party conflicts that also take place in local authorities, again all very predictable and depressing.

One of my friends made a couple of good points when I told him that I was considering withholding my vote in the up and coming local elections due to my lack of faith in any of the politicians to really represent the electorate, now I know that voting is important and have always taken the view that people should always vote. My mood was reflecting in my reasoning but this did not take away the fact that right now I am pretty much sick of most of what I hear from politicians of all parties and recently have little faith in any of them to do what is right.

Now politicians can only govern with the consent of the people, but we also know that millions and millions of people don’t vote for a variety of reasons, over a third of eligible voters in the last election did not vote. Some people spoil their paper as a means of protest but does that really reflect an opinion and even Tony Benn noted “ More and more people are concluding that the ballot box is no longer an instrument that will secure political solutions”.

Not voting in Westminster Elections has a strong appeal to me in the current climate, Westminster has become more and more a not for viewers in Scotland Parliament and if we send no one to Westminster then consent has been removed and Westminster would have no mandate over Scotland at all, extreme, but who knows maybe worth while to get the point across.

There is also the NOTA campaign and I agree that none of the above should be on every ballot paper, abstaining (as Labour frequently do) or spoiling your ballot paper is not a political protest, it would just be me not taking part in the political process but NOTA would be a way of withholding consent from politicians that I have no faith in and who do not serve the interests of the electorate in it’s widest sense, they pander to the small minority and themselves in too many cases.

NOTA is currently not on the ballot paper right now so not an option for the May elections so I have a dilemma, right now none of the candidates in my area really appeal at all and I don’t like STV and multi-member wards at all. I would much rather have proper PR as a true reflection of the vote. If I do decide to vote, and not just spoil my ballot paper, it will only be because here in Dundee we would end up with a coalition of the unionist parties and Dundee has suffered enough over the years and doesn’t need more of that but right now, across the board, I am uninspired by politics in this country and the direction of travel.

We often hear about radical politics, esp around the rise of Jeremy Corbyn but is he really radical at all. Maybe radical politics is actually real Social Liberalism, maybe we actually need to really accept that unemployment, Ill health, disability, educational attainment and poverty need to be addressed at a political level, by a party willing to actually do that, the problem is that party does not exist in the UK at this time.

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9 comments

  1. Helena Brown

    Oh boy have I been where you are, but I have never given in. NOT A is unworkable it would have to be an acknowledged choice, right now you just muck up your ballot paper and my other reason is I am damned sure that the Unionists are not getting into power by default. Only Independence can change the voting system, I dislike all those we have presently. I would prefer true proportional representation, if a poo dry gets 50% of the vote it gets the same amount of seats and this gets rid of people who are not elected getting into parliament. I also want the same critical elections.
    Basically the trouble has been that mostly Labour but not exclusively candidates have been poor, or we have business people looking out for themselves. The game needs to be upped.
    I wish though the SON could in all honesty walk out of Westminster, but the the outcry from people we are trying to win over to the (ahem)Dark side.

    • Anonymous

      Helena
      It feels like we are going around in circles right now, fighting the same fights, hearing the same arguments by different people. I think the SNP need to up their game a bit, be a bit more radical in Westminster. I know it’s not easy for them but they sometimes look like they have all just bought into the Westminster way of doing things, yeah they make it interesting and a little difficult for the yoons at times but the right honourable this and that, the bowing at the Speaker, all nonsense and I had hoped that they would have challenged that.

      I agree with you on PR, I would have it for all elections to be honest. Some people argue that it wouldn’t work in local elections as it would end representation in the wards, so what. Dundee could still have 29 seats elected by PR with councillors covering different areas of the City. It would end the stupid multi member ward nonsense in it’s current form and would be more representative of the vote but STV does get near that most of the time, it’s the petty party rubbish that gets in the way.

      Overall though the politicians need to up their game, NS needs to stop answering the indy2 question everyday as it looks like she is playing games by not actually calling one as the yoons report it in the media everyday and it looks like she is just making idle threats, either call one and answer the question by saying an announcement will be made at the appropriate time, no more we will call it if we don’t get this or that.

      The politicians have forgotten that we are talking about peoples lives here and the future of the country, it’s no longer good enough to play silly games, the yoons can do that if they want but I think most people in Scotland have moved beyond that now.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      Bruce

  2. bjsalba

    Your frustration at the situation and contempt for the Tories is understandable. However, this is not a fight that is won in one quick battle.

    Patience my friend, Let the Brexiteer Tories dig their hole ever deeper. They are not quite in over their heads yet.

    • Anonymous

      bsjalba

      Do you think we have that much time to start making our moves? I did a while ago, and was blogging that we shouldn’t rush into things, but things are moving very fast and while I am very frustrated as you correctly pointed out, I am concerned we might get our timing wrong.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  3. squewedperspective

    I think there is time a plenty for move making. It is important the NS is seen to do every single last possible thing before calling indyref2. If called at the right time (post A50 final plea for Scots deal refused by Tories?) with the right pretext (Denial of powers returning to Scotland ?) and the right backing (EU leaders timed announcements? Independent EU think tank impact assments?) it could run fast – maybe using the deadline of leaving EU (UK to become a vassal of Trumps US) to create the feeling of impending doom (you feel it already – others are slower to get message – esp soft no voters of last time).
    Plus there are still cards to play (what deal could Scotland get in the EU to satisfy remain supporters and yes voting brexiteers).

    But then I usually call these things wrong – I wouldn’t be at all surprised to wake up to an NS indyref2 announcement now that I have actually posted saying it could be some time.

    • grumpyscottishman

      squewedperspective

      I think that the negotiations, if both the UK/EU, are to be believed will take years to complete and that could just be the excuse that too many people need to say “let’s wait and see”, and then it may be too late. I do see where you are coming from but given how Westminster works I am fearful of playing their game any more as I think the long game plays into their hands. I think we have to be leading the agenda a bit more, keep them on the back foot, that could be starting to make statements about how things will be for say social services after indy, this is the proposed structure. I guess what I am saying is the YES campaign needs to be up and running now as I don’t believe better together has went away and this time it will have to be led by the Tories and that should help us but we have to get them out in the open now and a YES campaign does that.

      Thanks for taking to time to read my blog and comment.

      Bruce

      • squewedperspective

        I dispute very little in your assessment. I agree it is time to get the YES campaign back in action. I do disagree in your assessment about the negotiations taking years. I think they will be more abrupt than anyone currently anticipates, months, perhaps even weeks.

        I always assume there is more going on than I know about. I hope (and expect) that is true of the SG and EU. Perhaps I am naive in my optimism, but careful EU openness during negotiations could be helpful to both their cause and ours.

        From an SG point of view, I think triangulation is possible, capturing both soft NO/Remain & YES/Leave – securing a comfortable 60/40 YES result, but it will always require a softly, softly approach to show ‘grown up sensible reasonable politics’ versus Tory extremism.

        Imagine, by say September, SG could present the detailed costed effects of Indy v Brexit to Scotland in exacting solid terms. Coupled with a substantial white paper covering currency arrangements, pensions and trade, already prepared for such eventuality, that would be the time to call Indyref2.

        If it could be timed to coincide with WM having a major crisis that would keep their noses out as much as possible, well that would just be the icing…

        • grumpyscottishman

          squewedperspective

          I don’t know about the length of time to negotiate with the EU, while it is possible the Tories will just accept WTA rules I think they will try to save the financial sector in London and that is fine with me, it will show Scotland exactly where it stands in the UK, as if we didn’t already know, but it will take time.

          I hope that the SNP are working on policy papers right now as we really do have to hit the ground running, esp the UK single market rubbish already being spouted by the Unionists, you can bet the treasury is working on that stuff right now, hence my belief that Better Together has not went away, it just works in different guises like Scotland in Union who no one knows who funds it, I’ve looked and can’t find anything. No Borders all over again, Tory front.

          The British establishment are up there with the Catholic Church in information gathering and historical suppression of information and the promotion of lies, and we haven’t seen anything yet. The next one will be dirty, from Fallons no indy2 to Davidson’s fratricide comment, no one is telling me that they are not co-ordinated with the aim of inciting hate and turning Scot and against Scot, like Lennon says if they get us violent they have us.

          I do agree with you that more is going on than we know about, there always is and I would bet that at the same time negotiations are going on with the EU they will be trying to turn the EU against Scotland. I voted leave but will vote Yes at the next referendum even if it’s Yes to the EU as I want our sovereignty back asap. We can’t be stuck in this god awful shitty little British Empire a second longer than we have to, we are one of the last remaining parts of the Empire and that is how they see us.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce

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