"What we maintain is that universal suffrage, considered in itself and applied in a society based on economic and social inequality, will be nothing but a swindle and snare for the people"
- Mikhail Bakunin
The prospect of waking up in May to living in a country where there are multiple elected MPs belonging to UKIP scares me a little. The idea of waking up to a country where there's a Labour government, or a Conservative government, or a Liberal Democrat government, is also quite scary. I'll be honest, waking up is generally a bit scary at the best of times, but somehow we all muscle on and just about get by. The point is that I don't really belong to a political tribe and, while I could probably draw up a list of political parties and order them from "most odious" to "least odious", it's staggeringly difficult to muster up much enthusiasm about casting a vote for the party I find least distasteful in the hope that it might magically prevent a more distasteful party getting into power. I can't express my desire for the "Party That Wants To Shit In Your Mouth" not to get into power by voting, unless I vote for the "Party That Wants You To Drink A Pint Of Warm Urine Every Morning".
I - probably very naively - believe that governors govern the governed by consent, and that consent-stroke-mandate is given by, well, voting. As there doesn't appear to be a party that is standing on the platform of "tear the electoral system apart and start again", I don't really have anyone to vote for, and I can't vote against somebody without voting for someone else. I don't fancy eating poop, or drinking urine, or lynching foreigners, and I rather resent the existence of a system that says if I don't want one of these things, well, I must say I want the other. To add insult to injury, the very fact that I've said "I like drinking urine more than I like eating poop" gives some legitimacy to the Urine Drinking Party*, who can honestly state that some percentage of the electorate support their bold, piss based vision for the future of the country.
The system gives you no way to participate and say "no", and it's supposed to be a way of working out who people give their consent to representing them in politics. How about this: I don't wish to support a system about consent that doesn't give people the option of not giving consent, and I think it's madness to paint everyone that doesn't want to give consent to it as being "too lazy to vote". It's a convenient - and lazy! - way of writing off the disaffected.
*That they share the same acronym as the old Ulster Democractic Party is neither here nor there, just so we're clear.