Thursday, 7 May 2015
GE2015: I’ve done my duty and voted…
About an hour ago, at the time I started writing this, I cast my vote in the General Election. As I went to the booth to mark my ballot papers, or betting slips would be a more accurate description, I turned to the people handing out the papers and said “what I’m doing now is my democratic duty…so why do I suddenly feel so dirty?” and I can honestly say that I did, and do, feel dirty and ashamed.
During my worst period of depression last year, and I feel ashamed to admit this, I was so bad that all thoughts of personal hygiene were forgotten and I barely moved from the sofa that has been my bed for so many years now. I went for over a week without a shower, hardly leaving the flat and stinking of stale sweat from the almost constant excessive sweating caused by the medication I have to take. My duvet was soaked in sweat and covered in cat hairs all of which added to the aroma of desperate, hopeless depression hanging in the air and which I had to sleep in. Today, the simple act of voting made me feel dirtier now than I did then. Doing my democratic duty shouldn’t make me feel this way, surely?
It wasn’t the act of voting for my local councillor, although that job wasn’t very easy given that no council candidates came anywhere near knocking on any doors around my area, but the act of voting for the local Parliamentary candidate that made me feel sullied.
The complete lack of any real alternative to the main party candidates and no proper ‘None of the Above’ protest vote have shown me just how outdated and anachronistic our voting system is; actually you could argue, and I have, that the whole political system is corrupt and no longer fit for purpose.
It’s horrific to think, in an election in which, more than ever, every vote counts, I feel that my vote means nothing to me, to the electorate, to the Government. Let’s face facts – this election, according to most commentators, will end in another coalition which is essentially another unelected administration like the one it will be replacing. Where is the sense of democracy in that? Everybody votes, no one gets the Government they voted for. There are no winners, only losers and the extremely pissed off.
In probably the most important election for years, we are faced with the truth we have ignored for so long – democracy died in 2010 and is unlikely to be revived unless the whole political system is changed to reflect the society of the 21st Century.
Although I try to believe that my vote is important and stands for something, I can’t shake off the feeling of shame and disgust of having been part of participating in such a sham of democracy. There isn’t water hot enough or a surface abrasive enough to clean the grime of this election from my body.