We all know what it’s like. You go into the booth on polling day, cast your vote, and then on your way out you fall to your knees and weep. Why? Because you live in a safe seat and you’ve just wasted your vote, that’s why. We live in a first-past-the-post electoral system, and that means for millions of voters the election is utterly pointless. An exercise in futility, carried out over and over until the end of time. It’s like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill, only instead of a rock it’s a huge bag of shit. And instead of rolling back down the hill, the bag of shit is elected into government. Geddit?
In 2005 I lived in the Windsor constituency, a safe Conservative seat, which meant that no matter what I did, the Tories were going to win. The Conservative candidate could walk through the streets naked, farting through a megaphone and he’d still pull in an impossibly high share of the vote (incidentally, he tried something even more risky: he knocked on my door and spent about ten minutes debating drug policy, but more on that another time). So for me, 2005 was an utter wash out.
Well not this time! By some glorious quirk of fate I’m currently living in Islignton which means I get to take part in the Islington South & Finsbury election, a tough battle between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Labour hold Islington South by just 1.6% of the vote, which means it’s ripe for Lib Dem plucking.
Not only that but the Liberal Democrats’ candidate is Bridget Fox, whom saw recently at a demonstration against the Digital Economy Bill without realising she was my constituency candidate. At the time I remember thinking it was brave of her to brazenly associate herself with a protest that included a big banner for the “Pirate Party”. In the modern era of smear and snap judgement, that took guts (either that or she’s deeply naïve about the power of a bad photo – Or maybe I’m just more paranoid about things like this…).
So, indeed, I feel terribly spoiled. My vote will count and I have someone worth voting for. Such novelty! This must be what it feels like for the Iraqis, only without the terror and the risk of being blown to pieces on the way to the electoral office. All I’ve got to worry about is a spot of rain or some dog-shit on the pavement.
On second thoughts, I might not vote. That sounds a bit too risky.
SIDE NOTE: The current MP for Islington South didn’t vote on the DE Bill, which meant that the damn thing got through. Thank you very much Emily Thornberry! I look forward to booting your arse out on May 6th.