The local elections took place the other day. You may have noticed – they’re like a general election only even more effective at creating a malaise of voter apathy.
Momentum activists will likely claim that the tide is turning with regards a general political disinterest amongst the populace – and it is indeed true that, in London especially, punters were sufficiently jazzed to vote for Labour; but alas, the turnout in my local constituency barely scraped past 20%. Nobody gives a shit round here it seems, the sad fact of the matter being that the jenky local gala which insists on blocking up the main access road every fucking year garners more enthusiasm from my fellow town dwellers.
Reasons for this likely exist beyond the realms of my rather limited understanding but, for anyone who gives a shit, here’s how it ultimately panned out across the nation:
As you can see, a fairly standard outcome in which the apple cart merely wobbles rather than capitulates completely. Labour made some pretty nifty gains though perhaps not the sort they were hoping for, the Tories are merely glad that their eternal buffoonery wasn’t quite capitalised on in the way perhaps it should have been, the Lib Dems finally had reason to smile and UKIP’s vote share fell short of Enoch Powell’s electoral reach and he’s been dead for twenty years.
Still, the results being very much open to interpretation didn’t stop the odd malevolent shitrag or two from declaring victory from within the midst of a befuddling stalemate.
But what of the fate of Graham’s vote I hear absolutely nobody ask; what became of my solitary ballot? Well, it’s ultimately rather hard to say for I, like many, found myself treading the desperately isolated path of the politically homeless.
Alas, this was not a route I willingly set foot upon, instead being entirely a matter of circumstance. Being one of those unreconciled Remoaners who consider Brexit the worst idea since Piers Morgan, there was only going to be one issue that fully captivated my mind. Not to say that I’m a single issue voter of course, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that Brexit limits its influence to a single sub-category of politics – it has an oily tentacle plunged into every facet of our nation; its venom ever seeping in and leaving our future locked in a state of uncomfortable paralysis.
Which is precisely why our de facto two party system ultimately holds nothing for me at this current moment – the only distinction on offer being a delusional Brexit and a “Who gives a fuck?” Brexit. Hardly inspiring and leaving representation for the 48% entirely in the hands of the smaller parties. But just what voice would my constituency afford me?
No voice at all, put simply.
Ah, the Democrats and Veterans Party. If you detected the whiff of a faint, Brexity stench in the air then your suspicions are bang on the money. Not dissimilar to the equally pitiful For Britain. the DVP were born out of a failed bid for the UKIP leadership – only this one was more interesting because it involved gay donkey rape.
No, really. It did.
DVP supremo John Rees-Evans might have fond memories of this unauthorised tryst that he saw fit to commemorate with the party’s official logo but alas, such charming tales of horse violation were never likely to win my vote.
So what else? Well, not much for there was only one further party standing – The Yorkshire Party; whose entire policy on Brexit hinges on the promise that, whatever happens with the EU negotiations, the good people of Yorkshire will still be able to drink copious amounts of tea. In any event, their aim to increase Yorkshire’s political standing on a national (and indeed European) level, while admirable in its own right, isn’t a matter that is especially close to my heart and, subsequently, my pencil passed right over their box too.
So what was I to do? An embittered, alleged metropolitan elitist, with a mind hopelessly trapped in a debate I’m rather unreliably informed ended two years ago and nobody standing to represent me.
Well, the only thing left to do – spoil my ballot paper.
For all the inevitable (and, in many cases, perfectly understandable) howls of consternation this will invoke, I stand by it. Voting may well be perceived as a given right as opposed to a privilege of the fortunate few these days (though many EU nationals currently residing upon our shores will almost certainly beg to differ) and that’s a right I indeed respect, hence why I still felt it necessary to actually show up at the polling station – even if it was only to effectively piss scorn upon my constituency’s efforts at representation.
But why? Why bother to show up? And why not lend your vote to a legitimate party if you’re going to make the effort? Besides, these are local council elections, right? It’s not even about Brexit, you pissed your britches based on nothing more than an unfortunate misconception.
Well, sodden as my undergarments may be and as compelling as many counterpoints indeed are, I remain unmoved – if a tad pissy. I may not have backed a legitimate party but I backed what I consider a legitimate cause. While ostensibly an election based on matters of the local council, implications are eagerly seized upon in today’s political climate. Remember all that bilge regarding 85% of people supposedly showing their support for Brexit by backing pro-Brexit parties in the 2017 General Election? So desperate were the Brexiteers to snatch even the faintest of victories from the jaws of reality, they were more than happy to kick nuance square in the testicles to add fuel to their ever spluttering narrative.
The contrast between direct and tacit support becomes a distinction without a difference in the eyes of the narrative and, for that reason, I simply couldn’t shift the ever pulsating tumour of Brexit from my thoughts. If you believe in Brexit then I don’t believe in you. Sorry, but I’ll lend my admittedly infinitesimal amount of political influence to a notion I can support and, if that means hastily scrawling “STOP BREXIT” on my ballot paper in what could very well end up being an act of laughably impotent futility, then so be it.
A fart in the wind it may very well be, but at least it came out of my arse.Follow @grahamlithgow