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Considering not voting at the next election

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    The more I study Politics the more I realise that this country is not really a democracy, but rather an incredibly elite run system that uses a few aspects of democracy every now and then to legitimise itself. Is there really any point voting in this system?


    -Democracy and voting require choice in order to be meaningful. In this country we have a choice between three neo-liberal parties, and coupled with a voting system which stops smaller parties from going anywhere, there is no real radical alternative to this.

    -Looking at the example of the deficit and finance, a discourse has been created which states that the only way forward is austerity. Any measures concerning the raising of taxes on richer people or corporations or any alternative methods have been completely pushed out of the discourse.

    - In 2010 Country life did a study called 'Who Owns Britain?' (the most comprehensive land ownership study since the 1800s) which found that 0.6% of the population owns over 50% of the land. This is basically the same percentage as 150 years ago, and we have made very little social progress in this area. I also found interesting the report by Citigroup analysts that was exposed by Wikileaks recently. The analysts stated that the UK and USA are plutonomies in which the economy is powered by the super rich who lead in consumption and the "non rich" will become more and more irrelevant as the inequality grows.

    Does anyone else agree that the UK is effectively a country run according to an elitist model, with a little bit of democratic framework draped over it.
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    And not voting is going to help in what way? Backing a smaller party may not help them into power, but larger parties will adjust policies to steal their support base.

    It doesn't stop small parties, you vote in enough number they get seats, it just makes it harder for them.

    Because the only long term answer is austerity. We already have a high tax rate, how much more are you going to push it up before the City and other tax generators move to Switzerland or other low tax zones? Raising taxes is a solution to a problem which still exists. The fact that we spend too much money, our national budget is huge. We have public servies like the NHS where the spending is out of control, and other like the MoD where you just have blackholes where billions disappear.

    Land has to be sold, and large land owners aren't going to sell it for no reason, and for what reason are people going to buy it. You need planning permission for piece of land to be worth selling or worth buying, which is hard to get. Many farmers now rent their land as it is cheaper and has allowed them to modernise their methods. Without it they would have simply gone out of business.
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    If you feel that way, I suggest you carry on studying Politics a bit more.
    You raise quite a lot of topics at the same time.

    To talk about "democracy" implying a very specific set of institutions, values and electoral competition, is in itself very dangerous and narrows your horizon of how to understand democracy, what it can be understood as, and what it cannot. What is the "elite", how few are they, how do the y come to power, what are the barriers for non-elites, what excactly do you mean by "legitimise itself" etc. etc.

    Ask yourself questions like "What would be better if a majority of people would own the majority of Britain?", what would the consequences be? It requires you to dig deeper than 2, 3 numbers and a SWP slogan, which can be quite enlightening.

    I can recommend you reading the 2009 Oxford Guide to British Politics, which covers a variety of issues such as the upper and lower chamber, parties, party system, electoral competition, voting behaviour, partisan (de)alignment etc. etc.
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    Good, that way my vote will be ever so slightly more effective
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    I don't vote. The government always gets in.
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    Circular logic.

    I don't think the government represents me; therefore I won't vote; therefore it definitely won't represent me.

    What frustrates me most is the OP probably hasn't even considered what other means there are for democratic participation beyond voting.
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    Surely the way to tackle this is start some sort of campaign if you feel so strongly about it?
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    I always used to get the 'millions of people have died for our freedom so we can have the vote" off my old man. Thing is though, every party and politician will make promises, on the lead up to election, that they just wont keep. They're generally all snide creeps, rah rahs from Eton. None of them really represent what the majority of the population is about or believe.
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    (Original post by philistine)
    I don't vote. The government always gets in.

    I kinda agree with your logic. Politician will promise anything to get in and will do as they please when in power. If more of us participate and vote they will more legitimate and get cocky. I will rather not vote also so that they understand that they don't represent me or my views
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    (Original post by gladders)
    Circular logic.

    I don't think the government represents me; therefore I won't vote; therefore it definitely won't represent me.

    What frustrates me most is the OP probably hasn't even considered what other means there are for democratic participation beyond voting.
    Yes it is a circular logic. But what you propose is just going to the ballot box and ticking for some one who in fact doesn't represent what you stand for. Is that not a tad bit hypocritical? If none of them represent you, is it not better for you to abstain and not having pretend for the sake of 'democracy'?
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    (Original post by elandar)
    The more I study Politics the more I realise that this country is not really a democracy, but rather an incredibly elite run system that uses a few aspects of democracy every now and then to legitimise itself. Is there really any point voting in this system?


    -Democracy and voting require choice in order to be meaningful. In this country we have a choice between three neo-liberal parties, and coupled with a voting system which stops smaller parties from going anywhere, there is no real radical alternative to this.

    -Looking at the example of the deficit and finance, a discourse has been created which states that the only way forward is austerity. Any measures concerning the raising of taxes on richer people or corporations or any alternative methods have been completely pushed out of the discourse.

    - In 2010 Country life did a study called 'Who Owns Britain?' (the most comprehensive land ownership study since the 1800s) which found that 0.6% of the population owns over 50% of the land. This is basically the same percentage as 150 years ago, and we have made very little social progress in this area. I also found interesting the report by Citigroup analysts that was exposed by Wikileaks recently. The analysts stated that the UK and USA are plutonomies in which the economy is powered by the super rich who lead in consumption and the "non rich" will become more and more irrelevant as the inequality grows.

    Does anyone else agree that the UK is effectively a country run according to an elitist model, with a little bit of democratic framework draped over it.

    Noooo voter apathy is what they count on . Vote for one of the smaller non racist parties or vote none of the above
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    (Original post by Thomassss)
    Noooo voter apathy is what they count on . Vote for one of the smaller non racist parties or vote none of the above

    What makes you think that? Politicians hate voter apathy. Most politicians will infactbeg you to go to vote for any party at all just so that they can boast of a high turnout and claim greater legitimacy when usually their share of votes represent often only 20% of their constituency. Writing 'None of the above' renders your vote null and void so similar to not bothering at all.
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    There's no shame in not voting. In fact, it's your democratic right to not vote.

    Our system is a joke, but I don't fancy any of the alternatives.
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    (Original post by bkeevin)
    Yes it is a circular logic. But what you propose is just going to the ballot box and ticking for some one who in fact doesn't represent what you stand for. Is that not a tad bit hypocritical? If none of them represent you, is it not better for you to abstain and not having pretend for the sake of 'democracy'?
    I think it's highly unrealistic to expect a candidate to represent you fully. If they do, then they cease to represent someone else; they can't please everyone. The best you can ever do is choose the closest approximation - even if it is a distant one.

    None of the candidates in my constituency in the last election I felt particularly close to either, but it's not their fault, seeing as there's about 66,000 people here. If I felt sufficiently strongly that I'm not going to be represented by them, I can stand for election myself.

    MPs take very seriously the fact that they're there not just those who voted for them but everyone in their constituency - whether they voted or not.

    Moreover, your role in decisionmaking doesn't stop at voting. There are many, many other ways to stick your oar in.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    I think it's highly unrealistic to expect a candidate to represent you fully. If they do, then they cease to represent someone else; they can't please everyone. The best you can ever do is choose the closest approximation - even if it is a distant one.

    None of the candidates in my constituency in the last election I felt particularly close to either, but it's not their fault, seeing as there's about 66,000 people here. If I felt sufficiently strongly that I'm not going to be represented by them, I can stand for election myself.

    MPs take very seriously the fact that they're there not just those who voted for them but everyone in their constituency - whether they voted or not.

    Moreover, your role in decisionmaking doesn't stop at voting. There are many, many other ways to stick your oar in.

    OK that is why I'd rather not vote myself and do not feel strongly enough about the issues to enter politics.
    I guess I like it that in the US almost half of the population of voting age do not bother to vote at all and their parliaments have something like 10-12% approval rating I hate some of those self righteous politicians dictating to us what we ought to do.
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    (Original post by Aack)
    There's no shame in not voting. In fact, it's your democratic right to not vote.

    Our system is a joke, but I don't fancy any of the alternatives.
    Do you have a problem with the democratic system used in the Scandinavian countries or Swizerland. Even the much derided French seem to have a better system as each citizen get the opportunity to vote for their president not just residents of Whitney or Kirkcaldy for latest our PMs!!!
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    (Original post by doggyfizzel)
    And not voting is going to help in what way? Backing a smaller party may not help them into power, but larger parties will adjust policies to steal their support base.

    It doesn't stop small parties, you vote in enough number they get seats, it just makes it harder for them.

    Because the only long term answer is austerity. We already have a high tax rate, how much more are you going to push it up before the City and other tax generators move to Switzerland or other low tax zones? Raising taxes is a solution to a problem which still exists. The fact that we spend too much money, our national budget is huge. We have public servies like the NHS where the spending is out of control, and other like the MoD where you just have blackholes where billions disappear.

    Land has to be sold, and large land owners aren't going to sell it for no reason, and for what reason are people going to buy it. You need planning permission for piece of land to be worth selling or worth buying, which is hard to get. Many farmers now rent their land as it is cheaper and has allowed them to modernise their methods. Without it they would have simply gone out of business.
    Wish I could rep this ¬_¬ Why are we only allowed to give about 5 ratings a day?
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    (Original post by philistine)
    I don't vote. The government always gets in.
    Wow who spreads this ridiculous saying? It makes me facepalm and facepalm even more that two people have thumbed it up.

    One huge problem with politics is that people aren't educated in it and have no idea at all what exactly happens in politics.


    After the election, the party who gains a majority of seats (or forms a coalition to gain this) is formally asked by the queen to form a government on behalf of the people. So of course the government gets in.

    That's like saying, I don't vote in my constituency, MPs always get in.

    No ****.
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    (Original post by bkeevin)
    What makes you think that? Politicians hate voter apathy. Most politicians will infactbeg you to go to vote for any party at all just so that they can boast of a high turnout and claim greater legitimacy when usually their share of votes represent often only 20% of their constituency. Writing 'None of the above' renders your vote null and void so similar to not bothering at all.
    However they also have to record the percentage of spoiled ballot papers which effectively shows that you are not happy with any of the parties.

    Equally, protest votes for extremist parties can be interpreted as apathy.

    Not voting at all can be a way of showing hapathy where a constituent is happy with the current political situation.

    I also think that someone who doesn't vote has no legitimacy to comment on any of the actions of the current government.
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    You're quite right, our political system is run by an elite but includes a small element of democracy. Thus it has always been and always will be. Whilst the situation could be improved in a few minor respects, the only realistic alternatives are despotism or anarchy. Your point about small parties is very odd: unless you infer that other the votes in our constituency will add up so that the winner has a majority of one or the totals are tied, your vote will most likely make no difference to the result anyway. If anything, a vote for a small party will be slightly more effective than a vote for the major parties; at very least it might register as a protest. The elite that everyone maligns so frequently is, in all probability, the only thing that stands between civilisation and anarchy.

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