Friday, 9 May 2014

Conversations Overheard In Pubs #46: Voting

Paul:  Thing is, if you don’t vote, you can’t criticise.
Terry:  Bollocks: I can and will, as you will hear, Sunshine.
P:  Well, yeah, you can moan and complain, but you’re not criticising as part of a useful process are you, you’re just stood on the side lines givin’ it large – you’re a football fan that never goes to any games but knows better than the manager or the players, shouting at the telly.
T:  Well, yeah, just like most football fans, then.
P:  Yeah.
T:  Anyway, what I’m sayin’ is, much as I hate to agree with Russell Brand, people don’t vote because it seems there’s no point, not because they don’t care. I care, but I don’t see anything worth voting for – if my vote is valuable, I’m keepin’ it, rather than givin’ it to all the piss-poor management types that want it off me.  Or sellin’ it to the highest bidder, as the case may be.
P:  Well, brilliant. You care so much you don’t engage at all, I’m sure that will make a better world for everyone.
T:  Well, no, but…it’s not the only way things get done, is it – it’s not even the main way anymore, is it?
P:  Maybe not, but it’s part of the process, surely? If nothing matters, vote fuckin UKIP and see how things go!
T:  Well, obviously I wouldn’t vote fucking UKIP!  If it’s a choice between them and the government, I think I’d rather blow my brains out.  S
P:  So, why not vote for someone that opposes them then?
T:  Well…
P:  Exactly! You don’t want them in but you won’t vote to keep them out, so…
T:  Yeah, but – I’m sayin’, that’s hardly a choice, is it?  The whole thing's a sideshow, a spectacle.  And anyway, they’re not getting in anywhere, are they?  Definitely not round here.
P:  And why aren’t they getting in…?
T:  Because they’re even worse than the alternative.
P:  Aaaannnndddd….?
T:  And they won’t get enough votes.
P:  Boom!  There it is.
T:  Look, I see what you’re saying but in a constituency like this there’s no movement between the main parties: there’s the one that always wins, the one that always loses and the ones that go up and down a bit and usually finish second. They all ignore us, ‘cos they don’t need us, and they’ll put their efforts into marginal constituencies where it’s more important goin’ door-to-door or whatever.
P:  Uh-huh.
T:  And unless the process is seriously changed, properly changed, most votes won’t count, but a few will – that’s the ones they’ll go after – and what will really count is what’s always counted: money and power.
P:  Well, that’s probably true, but –
T:  And anyway, I don’t want to take part because I find the whole thing disgusting – the best thing to do is to not engage in a process which is disgusting. I’d be a hypocrite to join in with it, wouldn’t I?  To justify the whole thing; I’d be the football fan who constantly moans that money has spoiled the game, then shouts at the board for not spending more.  The whole point of parliamentary politics is to make us think we’re represented, but anyone who would represent “us” [speech marks indicated with fingers] is, if they’re honest, fighting a losing battle against the vested inter–
P:   – So you vote for someone who will represent your interests!  Voting for no one is like saying “I don’t give a fuck about poor people”, because things are obviously worse for poor people than they were before the current shower of bastards replaced the last shower of bastards. So, yeah, we can agree that a different shower of bastards will not solve our problems, but if one makes things much worse for most people, especially the most vulnerable people, why would we not try to stop them in the easiest most obvious way?!
T:  No, but that’s just the point, sending someone to parliament to “fight for the common man” [and again] is like sending an acrobat to an AA meeting to negotiate a pay rise for cab drivers.
P:..….What?
T:  The uninitiated representing the unknown to the uninterested; also known as A Fucking Waste Of Everyone’s Time.  Not just a waste, in fact, worse, because the acrobat really thinks they can help the cab drivers and has to justify that belief, and try to keep the confidence of the cab drivers while the people at the AA meeting are just scratching their heads, sayin “What the fuck are you doin here, what do you want from us?”
P:  That is a shit analogy, mind. It sounded entertaining, but it’s a bit too clever for its own good, and misses the point.
T:  Yeah, well, I was voted Most Likely To Be Too Clever For My Own Good at school, so…what’s the point I’m missing?
P:  The point is that parliament, shoddy as it is, is the only place where powerful interests have to meet those who represent –
T:  !
P:  – However poorly, the interests of the rest of us, who don’t have the wealth and influence to get things done.  If you’ve got a better idea, let’s hear it, but sticking your head up your arse and saying “That’ll show ‘em” achieves fuck all.  Any first-year student can tell you –
T:  So, we have to work outside them spheres of wealth and influence, in the street, or wherever.
P:  Oh, right, I forgot how often you’re out on the street, fighting for our rights…
T:  Well, maybe not right now, but you know, I’ve been there….
P:  Right. And where are you now?  Not out on the street, fighting for anything – in the pub, with me, chattin’ shit about it and drinkin’, same as everyone else.
T:  Yeah, well…
P:  Yeah, well, what?
T:  …Your round.
P:  Same again?
T:  Same again.

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