Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 1 May 2008


Today we have elections. In London we are voting for mayor and for the London assembly. It was my intention from the outset to keep politics firmly to the margins of this site, so that everyone is welcome who has an interest in the things that interest me.

So I won't say anything about my strong distrust of the incumbent mayor, or my revulsion for his main opponent . But if we think democracy isn't worth leaving the house for in London, who are we to chide others for stealing it?


Anonymous said...

An interesting question. My 85 year old mother-in-law often reminds me of her obligation to vote in memory of the women who died in order to give her that right.

So much is made of personality these days - we really are like a little USA in that respect. I don't think 'liking' a personality is necessary - it's VALUES that make a civilized society and so it's values I will be voting for.

Susan F said...

I agree with your mother in law - a lot of people went to a lot of trouble to get women the vote. the least we can do is use it.

If you don't bother, you have no right to complain about whoever gets in.

I also agree with anonymous that you vote for the values, or policies, not the person.

Toby Wollin said...

As someone from the United States, where our Constitution is under attack from the current "regime" - I have to say that we are now learning the bitter lesson that protecting democracy can be a full-time job. Use your right to vote.

Anonymous said...

Been and done it. Wouldn't dream of not doing it! Get so cross with those who say they're all the same. They're not!


60 Going On 16 said...

As a Londoner in exile, I regret not being able to vote in this election, but share your views completely on candidates one and two (London really does deserve better).

Still, at least you have some semblance of choice up there in the Big City. At our last local elections, our electoral ward was faced with a farcical choice of candidates. (There were three: Right, Far Right and So Far Right he was off the radar.) And there's the rub: for whom do you vote if the only candidates standing stand for everything (in terms of values/policies etc) that you are against? In that case, are you entitled to exercise your democratic freedom not to vote, if only to send the message that none of them are worth voting for. Or do you grit your teeth and vote for the least offensive, even though it sticks in your craw, because it might help to keep the others out?

Anonymous said...

60 going on 16, maybe you should stand yourself! You made me laugh, so I'd vote for you!


Linda Grant said...

It's very problematic, 60goingon16. I do think that there is a right not to exercise a vote on a point of specific principle, ie boycotting an election; which isn't the same as not being bothered to vote, or saying, they're all the same (when in most cases they are not all the same) or the old anarchist slogan if voting would change anything it would be illegal. All I can say, and this is a bit of a giveaway, is that I don't plan to use my second preference vote in the mayoral elections. But that's to do a specific issue I have with the candidate I would normally not have thought twice about voting for, and I wouldn't tell anyone else to do the same.

Greying pixie said...

Following my comment this morning writing as 'anonymous', I do agree with tactical voting. In the case of 60 going on 16 I would probably have endured it sticking in my craw and voted for the least offensive of the candidates.

It amazes me how emotional one can get at these moments. When you add them up over a lifetime there are really very few of them and yet the power given to an individual by the democratic system never ceases to overwhelm me. My husband always buys a flower for his buttonhole when he goes to vote! I won't tell you which variety.

Susan F said...

16 going on 60 has a good point about having to vote for the least objectionable candidate.

Rather than not voting and adding to the impression of voter apathy, you could go and write 'none of the above' on your ballot paper. They still have to count spoiled papers and if enough of us did it, it might eventually get through to politicians that we are dissatisfied with what is on offer rather than disinterested

Anonymous said...

susan f I agree, but you have to remember that all those spoiled ballot papers may result in the extremists winning the vote.