Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and that’s not beyond reason), you’ll know local elections are taking place across the UK tomorrow (Thursday, May 5).
We’ll be electing councils to run services in England, Wales and Scotland, and the government in Northern Ireland.
But probably more importantly, these elections will be viewed as a test of the mood on national issues like the government’s provocation of Russia over the war in Ukraine, its disastrous mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis and the row over parties held in Downing Street while the rest of us were in lockdown, and particularly the current cost-of-living crisis affecting most of the population (but not the Tories’ extremely rich supporters).
If that makes it seem that the Tories should take a hammering, don’t be so sure!
Many parts of England are Conservative heartlands where people will vote for a monkey if it is dressed in a suit with a blue rosette.
And Labour has not acquitted itself in any way honourably over the two and a half years since the last election, with outrage over Keir Starmer’s blind support of the Conservatives during Covid, and his persecution of left-wing party members under a pretence of attacking anti-Semitism.
This Writer asked commenters on Vox Political‘s Facebook page for their opinions and the responses may be informative:
“No reason to vote either Tory or Labour, under current conditions,” wrote one respondent. “Green or PAL if available or you could vote LibDems if no other possibility but I won’t, if there is no Green or PAL candidate I’ll vote independent.”
Another stated: “I think people are seeing the light more and more now. I believe there can and will be change if enough stand together. We are reaching the point where many folk have nothing left to lose, and that will bring change .”
And yet another stated: “Why pretend there’s any reason to vote Labour! Say it how it is!”
There was a large amount of support for denying votes to Labour: “Go green or independent – or do the Labour thing: ABSTAIN,” said one respondent.
“If they can abstain on important issues then you can abstain on Election Day. I plan to,” added another.
“Independent socialist if any available or green,” stated another.
One point of view may be easily encapsulated in this comment: “I won’t be voting Labour whilst Starmer is leader.”
Another respondent added: “With Starmer in charge [of Labour] it’s effectively a one party state.”
But another insisted, “We can all bang on about what ifs and maybes but there are only two parties to vote for,” meaning the Tories or Labour. But they continued: “You have to question your integrity, honesty and morals when voting if you can honestly say the Tories have done nothing wrong and hide behind the saying Johnson is doing great for Ukraine what is he actually doing for this country?”
There was a discussion of whether votes should be spoiled – as these are included in the counts and people believed a large enough number of spoiled ballot papers may spur electoral watchdogs to consider changing the system.
“My advice and I say this every year: if a party doesn’t represent you then write none of the above on your ballot slip and spoil it,” said one respondent. “If enough people do it then they’d have to take notice. Spoiled votes aren’t just discarded; they’re actually counted.”
“I’m gonna advise my fellow no political home pals to discuss exactly this,” another commenter stated.
Nobody advocated voting Conservative.
And the only support for Labour was on the basis that “tepid Tory” was better than “Fascist Tory”. Nobody believed that a Labour Party under Keir Starmer would provide a genuine alternative that might offer prosperity to more than a small number of extremely rich political donors.
Most support went to independent candidates or members of the new left-wing organisations that are springing up to replace Labour as representatives of the majority of UK citizens who are poor and struggling – or for spoiling ballot papers.
So, what will you do?
Will you take the tired old route of supporting whichever of the Big Two parties you think can remove a candidate you despise, even if you don’t support the policies of either of them? (Personally, I would call that madness.)
Will you try supporting somebody new, despite fears that most people will take the first option and your vote will be wasted?
Will you spoil your ballot paper in protest at the undemocratic farce that Johnson and Starmer have made of the UK’s voting system?
Or will you stay at home and not vote at all? If you do, then you’ll have to take the blame if a disaster happens as a result.
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