On the separation of state and subject
So according to the Graun, those venerable leaders of ours have decided that we’ll like them again just as soon as they start penalising us for not deciding precisely which one of them we likes bestest of all. And then when we do decide that we really really like one candidate, we then have to decide which other candidate we also kind of like but not enough to actually say we like them better than the rest.
That’s right people; compulsory voting is back on the agenda. So how exactly are they going to do that? Well, the Graun doesn’t say; but I’m thinking that they’re probably not going to want to throw us in jail given the overcrowding issues. So will we get a fine? How much would the bureaucracy for that cost? Or would we get a stiffly-worded letter from our recently-elected MP. Perhaps like this…
Dear Mr McNicol,
It appears from my files that you, sir, acted completely rationally on Saturday last when we had something approximating a democratic General election. Now you may well consider yourself entirely sensible in choosing not to spend any time voting, when there’s no probable situation in which your vote will make a difference to the outcome. However, as you know we have recently decided that such behaviour is so immoral that it warrants State interference to curtail. Thus I have been over the CCTV footage of your local voting station and can confirm that you, you little twerp, did not, in fact, cast a vote of any variety. I am thus duty-bound to inform you of my utter contempt for the way in which you didn’t vote for me at all you little shit. As punishment I will expect you to read my manifesto from start to finish without laughing or pointing out any logical inconsistencies.
Slick Operator MP
p.s. please please please vote for me next time. Pretty please. With a cherry and icing and little hundreds and thousands. Or I’ll cry.
And then they’re going to get us to have a “second choice” who then (if your first choice is at the bottom of the heap) gets counted. So somehow we now have to find two candidates who don’t make us want to vom a little. And they want to make voting easier…
Well, that’s just dandy. Anywhoo, I’m not going to go into a whole rant on what might actually make a difference to voter apathy (cos I don’t think it’s rocket science) but I would start with a cheap, practical, small idea (stolen with no apology from the West Wing):
Give kids the vote. Take suffrage down to 14. If they can commit a crime then they should be able to influence the legislators. And then when they get taught about how democracy works (and how our politician friends do their best to subvert that – though if you’re going to commit voting fraud, may as well take some lessons from a proper despot) they’ll actually be able to put it into practice.