This interview by Jeremy Paxman of Russell Brand seems to sum up for me the the conundrum of the politically aware and intelligent person in the current climate of ever increasing fascism and reduction of personal liberties. Mr Brand is explaining why he doesn’t vote, and it is an extraordinary piece of footage.
As a fine, upstanding citizen, at the last Federal election in Australia (2013), I honestly could not find a party which stood up for my values. The Greens under Bob Brown used to do a reasonable job, but when I did the Vote Compass survey, I ended up firmly with Labour. Unfortunately, I violently disagree with Labour’s immigration policy, and the Greens did some dodgy preference deals and so I was left out in the cold. Now I am not an unusual person. I am a middle class, middle aged, well educated and sensible person who grew up in country NSW. I have one child, a husband and a house in the suburbs.
So why did I find myself filling EVERY BLOODY SQUARE on that stupid senate paper just so my preferences would flow in a reasonably sensible direction?
It’s getting to the point where I am seriously considering a donkey vote next election. This goes firmly against my principles, but I have the strong feeling that what I ought to be doing is writing “None of the above” right across the ballot paper. Not one of the local candidates in this election impressed me with honesty, candour, energy and enthusiasm. Not one appeared to share my values. Not one was someone I felt confident voting for.
And so, as Russell Brand explains, if my vote is precious, and the system is corrupt, by voting for any of these people I am artificially propping up a system which does not reflect my values.
Of course, we have compulsory voting in Australia, so not voting gets you a fine. But you can vote informal all you like.
What will you do next election?
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