to consider spoiling the ballot?

(78 Posts)

I'm what the media calls a floating voter - I don't vote for the same political party time after time, I vote on the issues (not that it makes any difference where I currently live, as vast numbers of people seem to vote for the same party simply because they always have!).

But just lately I've been thinking - if an election was called tomorrow I really don't know who I would vote for. As things stand I don't think there is a single party that I would want in power. I have voted in every election I am eligible to and always been very scathing about those who don't bother - but I really don't know what I will do at the next general election. As far as I can see the only option that reflects my true opinion is to spoil the ballot but then my vote is wasted...

Very confused.

Cross-posted with you there. It was this bit that needled me - God forbid you fall on bad times, or get ill, or need a safety net of any sort. I find it safest on MN to never make assumptions about a poster's life (which is why all the 'if that's all you have to worry about...' responses irritate me so much but that's an entirely different discussion!).

If I wanted only people who agree with me to post I wouldn't be in AIBU! grin

aufaniae Sat 06-Oct-12 10:38:37

OK, fair enough smile

I think the point I was trying to make was that if you have a government in power who are attacking the vulnerable in the way this lot are, surely you it makes sense to vote against them, even if the alternatives aren't great.

aufaniae Sat 06-Oct-12 10:43:27

OK, that bit was a (pretty bad!) paraphrasing of Kinnock's speech, which was in my mind as someone else posted it on mumsnet very recently. I didn't really think of it as making assumptions about your life in particular although I can see how it reads like that!

"If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you.

I warn you that you will have pain–when healing and relief depend upon payment.

I warn you that you will have ignorance–when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right.

I warn you that you will have poverty–when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can’t pay.

I warn you that you will be cold–when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don’t notice and the poor can’t afford.

I warn you that you must not expect work–when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don’t earn, they don’t spend. When they don’t spend, work dies.

I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light.

I warn you that you will be quiet–when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient.

I warn you that you will have defence of a sort–with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding.

I warn you that you will be home-bound–when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up.

I warn you that you will borrow less–when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday–

- I warn you not to be ordinary
- I warn you not to be young
- I warn you not to fall ill
- I warn you not to get old."

I'm sorry if it offended you sad I will have a ponder on that ...

That's a really interesting parallel with today's situation, thank you. I've never heard that speech before but it really fits today as well.

I think perhaps I'm more ignorant about politics than I realised. confused

ZombTEE Sat 06-Oct-12 11:00:36

I don't think anyone doesn't agree we are in a financial mess.

But the Tory's solution is worse than the problem. When are they going to reach into their own millionaire pockets to help people rather than pulling money from those who truly, definitely need it?

I am American and the same thing is happening there, even with a liberal President, thanks to a conservative House and Senate.

And I don't think it's going to get any better in 4 weeks when America goes to the polls.

aufaniae Sat 06-Oct-12 11:21:22

I suppose the question is, if you don't like any of the parties, and want to show your protest at the lack of genuine representation, what other avenues are there?

Narked Sat 06-Oct-12 11:24:39

If you can't bring yourself to vote tactically to get the current government out, abstain. Please don't fall for the 'local issues' thing and vote in a Lib Dem or Tory.

Panzee Sat 06-Oct-12 11:24:43

Candidates get to read the spoilt papers....grin

YouMayLogOut Sat 06-Oct-12 11:29:50

If you don't vote then you're effectively giving equal weight not only to the few main parties, but also the BNP, UKIP, Monster Raving Loonies and everyone else.

There's no point at all in spoiling a ballot paper, it has no effect except you lose your vote. No-one takes any notice of the spoilt ones, you may as well stay in bed.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 12:50:24

Candidates get to read the spoilt papers...."

And?

Panzee Sat 06-Oct-12 12:59:52

And it's a way to get your point across more directly. One of our local elections had a terrible turnout. The elected person pontificated that it was because everyone was happy. If all the abstainers had gone in and written why they weren't voting then there was no way he could have said that.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 13:07:08

Oh, the naivety of youth!

Panzee Sat 06-Oct-12 13:14:44

Still better than abstaining.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 13:30:50

You can't abstain in the UK. Not voting is not the same as abstaining.

The candidate will not read the spoiled papers. He or she will be too busy settling into their office in Westiminster, rubbing their hands with glee at having won a seat they never expected to because people in their constituency didn't understand how the democratic process works.

YouMayLogOut Sat 06-Oct-12 13:36:53

Why didn't all the abstainers write him an email or letter? Surely more useful and measured, and more likely to be taken seriously, than a brief scrawled note?

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 13:57:40

Yep. A stiff email's going to work wonders.

VOTE! Our freedoms are hard won- don't fritter them away.

YouMayLogOut Sat 06-Oct-12 14:47:29

That was in comparison to spoiling a ballot paper, seeker.

Of course voting is a much better option.

YouMayLogOut Sat 06-Oct-12 15:05:29

Polititicans do take notice of correspondence, especially if a lot of people get in touch about the same thing. It doesn't mean they'll agree with you but at least there's a chance of getting some things changed.

I've never heard of any political changes ever being made due to spoilt ballot papers, so it does seem a pretty ineffective thing to do.

OOAOML Sat 06-Oct-12 17:59:55

Actually (well at the counts I have been at) the candidates and agents crowd around looking at the spoiled/rejected ballots as some of them are clearly votes for a particular candidate but not in the prescribed format (I saw one once that was a smiley face for example), and they review them with the people running the count to see if they can be allocated to a particular candidate or if they are truly spoiled papers.

And in our council election some of the comments from the paper were being tweeted by journalists at the count, it was an excellent way of getting your view into the public domain.

PoppaRob Sat 06-Oct-12 20:41:32

Here in Oz voting is compulsory. At the last federal election the informal vote reached 6% and was seen as something of a wake-up call to the major parties as Labor only won by forming a coalition with the Greens and Independents. Following the last electoral redistribution at both state and federal levels my area which is fairly much working class was made part of a rural electorate. The conservative candidate was always going to win, so I voted informally and lodged a blank ballot in the lower house. Our Senate candidates are voted by the entire state so it was a worthwhile exercise to spend the time numbering the several dozen candidates in order, and in fact a progressive and generally clear-thinking Independent candidate easily achieved a Senate quota despite not being preferenced by any of the major party tickets.

sausagesandwich34 Sat 06-Oct-12 20:53:17

BNP got a seat on my local council with less than 8% of the vote

voter appathy and spoilt ballots allows idiots like this to think they are important

if you think your vote is worthless due to the area you live in, or because you don't like the main party, please still use your vote tactically

BitOutOfPractice Sat 06-Oct-12 23:05:10

So if my choice is simply liberal or Tory and I don't want either of them in, and I'm a labour supporter, what do I do?

And before anyone says "stand yourself" I'll point out that that is not a realistic prospect for me.

So, what do I do?

CommunistMoon Sat 06-Oct-12 23:13:29

^vote anyway. Not voting = Tory gets in. Ok, so the Lib Dems fucked up the only worthwhile thing they could have had a hand in delivering, i.e. electoral reform, but FGS vote anyway.

euwa Sat 06-Oct-12 23:14:20

seeker thank you so much and others for posting. I never thought about the harm my spoiling the vote paper could do. I always go to make my mark thinking so many fought for me to have the opportunity. I will not spoil my paper in future.
Like I always say amazing the knowlege that is gained through MN.

BitOutOfPractice Sat 06-Oct-12 23:31:11

The Tories get in if I vote lib dem, if I spoil my paper or if I don't vote. The result is the same

Simply not voting is not an option for me. It is part of my DNA that I must vote

I cannot bring myself to put a cross in the lib dem box. Couldn't stand them even before clegg sold his arse soul to the devil. Just can't do it.

So....

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