Tag Archives: voting

Druidry and Politics

There are some people who feel that belief and politics should be kept separate. My understanding of the role of ancient Druids is that they were political. If you have the reputation of being consulted by kings, and being able to get onto battlefields and stop the fighting, you have a political role. Further, what we believe invariably colours what we do politically. There’s also the issue of what right wing folk claim to do in the name of Jesus (which has precious little to do with actual Christianity, Jesus or the Bible). That needs resisting.

There are no rules about what a Druid does around an election. We aren’t high profile enough for anyone to want to co-opt us – this is good news for us.

One of the things I’m seeing Druids do that I feel really good about, is simply encouraging people to register and vote. Democracy has its flaws, but works better when more people are involved. It tends to be the most disenfranchised people who feel there is the least point in voting, and these are the people we most need to hear from. One of the great lies of politics that stops us making radical change is the idea there’s no point trying. If people believe that their vote doesn’t matter and that politicians are broadly the same anyway, they may be persuaded not to vote. They may also be overly persuaded by someone who does an effective job of selling themselves as an alternative to all that, even when they are from a ‘ruling class’ background, rich and exploiting the people who vote for them.

When people feel that their vote matters and that they can vote for real differences and real change, they are more likely to show up. When we show up to vote, we send a clear message that we are not to be ignored. If politicians only feel they have to court ‘traditional’ voting demographics, they won’t bother with policies that would help the rest of us.

This election, the thing I’ve felt most moved to say goes as follows. Don’t vote for parties, vote for people. We’ve seen MPs change parties, change leaders, start new parties – a vote for a person is not a vote for their current leader or party in any reliable way. Those parties are full of splits, and who exactly gets in will likely inform the direction any given party takes.

Don’t vote for ‘personalities’ in the usual sense of that word. Do look at the beliefs and intentions of individual candidates. If they have a voting record, check it out. Do they recognise climate change or do they believe it’s not an issue? Are they inclusive? Do they support human rights? Do they mostly seem interested in business as usual? Are they compassionate? Or are they greedy and self serving? Are they more interested in their career and the welfare of their party, or do they show some signs of giving a shit about anything else?

Vote for the future you want to see. Vote for what matters most to you. Vote like lives depend on it – because they do. If you’re going to vote tactically, please be tactical – find out who can win based on who has won before and who came second last time and what happened in recent EU elections. A tactical vote for someone you mostly disagree with isn’t much of a tactic – not all candidates are created equal.

What you do, matters. Business as usual is destroying life on Earth, killing us with air pollution, flooding our homes, depleting our soil and exterminating the bees who pollinate our food. To do nothing is to enable this.

Please vote!

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.