Saturday, 9 May 2015

Was it worth voting?

Ironically, VE Day and the UK general election have all but coincided. VE day reminds us that democracy, human rights, freedom from fear of the midnight knock at the door, are worth fighting for. The fight is of course never conclusively won: if not overtly then by various creepy ways (think of the efforts of UKIP and Marine Le Pen to seem respectable) the enemies worm their way in again. Someone said that the price of democracy is eternal vigilance, and that meant of course our vigilance, not that of the people who tap our telephones and monitor our e-mails.

And once every four years or so, the UK electorate has, or should have, a chance to choose representatives who will not, we hope, tap our phones, not turn a blind eye when the police fail to investigate a murder because the victim was black, not slavishly follow the Americans in trading freedoms for a doubtful ‘security’.

So the irony is that at this election there was, except in Scotland, nothing to vote for. This lack of discernible difference between the two main parties promotes boredom, indifference, a failure to vote, a dismissal of ‘politics’ as if it could somehow be separated from ‘life’. These are just the conditions on which such vilenesses as the National Front and UKIP thrive; the conditions, or something like them, that led to the rise of Nazism and fascism.

It’s too late now, and if we’re not careful we might permanently lose the chance to choose. Even if you ‘spoil’ your paper because there’s no-one worth voting for, you should still make the effort, go out and vote, do all you can to make your voice heard: otherwise, the bastards will just continue, bit by bit, eating away at the freedoms and rights too many of us take for granted.

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