Today (22nd May if you find this later) we have elections for many district councils, and for the European Parliament. If you are able to vote, please vote. Not only that, please vote with your heart, vote for something you believe in, make the best choice with what you’ve got. If you’re considering a protest vote, make sure you know what the party stands for, because they could get in, and a big protest vote will influence the mainstream, so don’t push in a way you don’t actually want to go.
People have died to get the right to vote, and people still die for democracy. It’s not a perfect system, but it beats the hell out of feudalism and tyranny! Democracy only works if we all show up and participate – voting is only one part of that, but it’s the most obvious. If we don’t vote, the ruling elite has more reason to consider us a bunch of ignorant sheep which it can steer round and predate at its leisure. It’s important to make politicians aware that we do pay attention, we do have opinions and we do expect them to perform. Voter apathy fuels political arrogance. Let’s not do that thing.
Your vote counts. In the Euro elections, it’s proportional representation, which means every vote can make a difference. Europe is a confusing entity, and we don’t get enough information about how it works, which makes it hard to make informed choices, but failure to engage isn’t going to fix that.
At district council level, not that many people get to vote for each candidate in the first place, so every vote carries weight. At both levels, people who are elected are making choices about how your money is spent, how your resources are organised. Choices are being made that affect your life. If it bothers you that you don’t seem to have much say in that… here’s the opportunity to have some say.
Democracy is hard work. It requires you to pay attention, form opinions, show up, make your voice heard, and take part. It requires you to know stuff you may prefer not to know, and to have to think about things it might be nicer not to have to think about. The alternative is being a cog in a machine whose overall shape is a mystery and whose purpose is defined by someone else. There’s no mid-ground here. The consequence of not participating, is tyranny. In face of that, voting is the least you can do.