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My June Vote

Posted by on May 30, 2017.

I must repeat what I said before the last general election in the UK: I shall not vote.

I dismiss as absurd the thoughtless claims that I have a duty to vote. I do not. I have a duty to follow my beliefs, to stand for what is right and to criticise what is wrong.

I dismiss as absurd the ridiculous claims that our fathers fought and died against the Nazis so that I can vote. They did not. They fought for the freedom of their country and their children. They did not fight for a society that is more intrusive than Stazi Germany, and more corrupt in higher places than the majority of emerging economies.

That’s why I do not have to vote. The reason I choose not to is equally simple: the electoral system in the UK is broken and undemocratic, and I will not support it.

The problem is the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system. It almost always returns a large parliamentary majority for a party that has more people voting against it than for it.

In the UK, a large majority means rule by the prime minister. The prime minister controls the career of every member of parliament in his or her party, and invariably fills the Cabinet with yes-men (or women). This isn’t democracy, this is an autocracy that the majority of the people vote to reject.

I have heard it claimed that the value of FPTP is that it returns a strong government. But any value in a strong government is long gone. British government, whether Labour or Tory, has become increasingly authoritarian over the last three or four decades — guided, I suspect by the lobbying power of big business and the controlling power of the intelligence services.

Tony Blair was more right-wing than Maggie Thatcher; Cameron more devious than Mephistopheles; and Theresa May more dangerous than either.

Next week’s UK election will almost certainly return a strong Tory government intent on imposing more draconian controls over the British people than we have seen or could ever have imagined happening in our lifetime. It will do this despite the majority of the population voting against it.

I will not be a party to this shambolic attempt at democracy. And if anyone tells me I have a democratic duty to vote, I say simply this: you have a democratic duty to abstain.

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