Haud onto your Hat, it’s Election Time

Yes, it’s that time again when we all join in the mayhem of a General Election.  Well, maybe not all of us.  There are those who choose not to vote, not to watch political programmes and who are as far away from the whole situation by just ignoring it all.  However, having spoken to a few of these non voters or NVs, on being pressed, they seem to have woken up to the fact, their views are not being considered because they cannot see anywhere on the TV or radio, these specific topics being discussed.  How, then you ask, do they know they are not being discussed because they allege they don’t engage with any of this? Well it seems they are talking to friends and neighbours who are saying the same thing, and they are not going to vote either.  So you have to ask, how can someone who claims to be totally disengaged with politics yet have such firm views, and their fellow NVs feeling the same way?

When pressed, they then admit there is no escape from the Election process, but they hate politicians, and they are all liars and they never do what they say so they are still not voting.  But when you analyse these claims, somewhere along the lines the NVs seem to have amassed a great deal of knowledge about what the politicians and candidates have actually said they would do.  Otherwise, the NVs would have not noticed they didn’t actually do as they promised.  This is very confusing when you chap doors and ask their preference, for they indeed have a great deal to say about something they claim to know nothing about.  So how do we unpick that?

Let’s take one promise, a vote for Independence.  So you ask the NVs about their thoughts on how they would vote on the hallowed topic.  You then either get a straight No with much negative rhetoric, or an emphatic Yes with much positive rhetoric, the third being a strict NV for anything.  But the Independence question is very interesting, because the NVs don’t seem to understand, Independence is very much at the heart of politics in Scotland, and be they Yes or No, the cross they put on that ballot paper, is very much an engagement in politics, their politics and they have been involved at the most important decision of their lives for them and their families as well as their country.

No person should ridicule an NV because we live in a democracy and they choose not to be part of it, but of course, when you say that, all hell is let loose.  So when you ask how they feel about their vote being taken away from them for non use, it’s all a different story.  Let’s face it, it costs the local councils a fortune mailing out Polling Cards, only to be binned, for a service the NVs have already funded through taxation.  But the NVs don’t see that, because of course the Election has been forced on them and they are not going to take part.  But when you strip away the protests, the fact is quite often the NVs are possibly the most politically motivated people you will ever meet, because they have thought carefully about not voting, which takes a bit of thought because they have calculated all the reasons why they feel so let down and abandoned, as most do.

The onus is on everyone being engaged to make sure every eligible voter has their say.  To not vote may make NVs feel better, but they are effectively handing their vote onto someone else who may have a distinctly opposing view from them, and vote for a candidate they would oppose had they secured a postal vote or bothered to take their ID down to the Polling Station.  So the argument is, should the NVs have their way and remain in bed, or just ignore the friends and family who do vote, then be stripped of an opinion post election?  Well, the point is, you cut them dead with exactly that line, you made the choice, and your choice is no choice you dafty!

To not vote is a political decision by many who think politics doesn’t affect them, or their choice to not vote makes a point, it doesn’t, it just means whoever wins can make life decisions about them without their say, some may not care, even though when they sleep at night, politics is working to change their lives in one way or another.  So is no engagement in the General Election a brave and courageous thing to do? Well let those who value their democratic right to make their opinion known and make your decision for you, but it’s a bit like having a much needed hospital appointment and failing to turn up on purpose, or an airline ticket to some far off place, but not bothering to go.  That Polling Card was hard won by women, the working class and those new to our country.  Many around the world would be ecstatic to receive the right to vote, but of course, we don’t talk about them but should do.   But the real point is, knowing you have participated means you have given yourself a mandate to question all the manifesto pledges right down to your own basic needs.  NVs need not apply many say, let’s see how things pan out if the Tories get back in because their voters have turned up and others have not.  Elections are all about weight of numbers and not about the abstainers, but they will have to answer to the fact how their non participation has affected a vote and moaning about the outcome simply means they had their chance and they have to live with who they didn’t vote for.