Good for you if you voted, have a sweetie, but you haven’t let anyone down if you didn’t.
Democracy is great, isn’t it? It’s produced all of humankind’s greatest achievements, from ancient Athens through George W. Bush and Sepp Blatter. We all love things being run by people who are elected because it stops really bad stuff happening (unless you elect someone really bad, like Hitler or Sepp Blatter) and this means a lot of people are very enthusiastic about people voting.
They’re so excited about the idea of people voting for things that they get all over-excited and convince themselves that these people have some sort of duty to stick their electoral oar in and if they don’t they’re somehow betraying the Suffragettes, everyone who died at the Somme and Winnie the Pooh.
Now, I did actually vote, but I do have some sympathies for people who just don’t really give that much of a fuck. Surely, it’s your democratic right not to give that much of a fuck, given that this election has been about as interesting as regurgitated grouting and the right to vote doesn’t mean a compulsion to vote any more than the right to freedom of religious expression means I’m under some obligation to go around telling people about the word of Jehovah or the space lizards or whatever, even if someone I went to primary school with will insist that I am on facebook until they’re blue in the keyboard.
Politics is actually quite a lot like religion: you’re not going to change most people’s minds, hardly anyone holds their views for logical reasons and nobody, but nobody, wants to hear about it on facebook.
And if people are so concerned about the idiotic political allegiances of their facebook friends that they have to post something every five minutes about why the world will end if X wins the election, I can’t help but find it baffling that cometh election day they devote their attentions to patronising entreaties that they should all vote.
They start off claiming that not voting is a betrayal of all sorts of historical events from D-Day to Steve Brookstein winning The X Factor, and that women have to vote because of the Suffragettes, because obviously women should be more vilified for not voting than men, simply because they were unfortunate enough not to have that right in the past. That’s what feminism is about guys. Yep.
But it takes a real turn for the surreal when they argue that we’ll automatically get a better government if more people vote for it.
No we won’t. Arguably under FPTP and a hung parliament we might well even get the same one, but even assuming that we do get a different one it might well be worse.
So if they think that their facebook friends are all loons whom they need to educate in order for them to vote the right way, why are they encouraging them to vote? Better if their messianically correct vote counts for more and makes the ignorant all better off, surely? Then they’ll understand that they were right all along. After all, otherwise the great hordes might go out and vote for UKIP or a melon or get lost on the way to the polling station because they don’t understand politics/life/science.
All of which makes me suspicious that the knights in shining ‘Please just vote in the name of all that is good or holy’ armour, actually don’t mean you should vote, but that you should vote for whomever they clearly support.
Because it seems to me that the votes of a load of people who aren’t engaged enough to care all that much are unlikely to be that well informed.
Opinions aren’t just made better by quantity of people surveyed, I reckon if you asked fifty thousand squirrels how to build a jet engine you’d have about as much luck as if you asked one: very little, everybody knows squirrels are only expert in nuclear fission.
Loads of people voting with shit selection of options and no idea what they’re doing doesn’t produce a eutopia, it produces the Eurovision song contest.
So, given that whatever result the election turns up, it will have come mostly out of the blind ignorance of most of the electorate, regardless of their political persuasion (if most politicians don’t seem to understand macroeconomics how should we?) then why worry that much about how many people vote? Focus on who you think should win or on an issue you care about, or your life, or the tv, or something.
And stop talking about it on facebook.