The right to cast your vote in secret is an important one to ensure a free and democratic election. I have cast my ballot today in the 2014 European elections. Just how free and fair an election process is can be tested by the willingness of the voters to forego their right of secrecy and declare the recipient of their vote, comfortable that whilst others may disagree with their choice, they won’t face discrimination or any other adverse effect due to their vote. I’m perfectly happy to tell you who I voted for. I voted for the lesser of
two eight evils.
I keep threatening to run for election as an independent myself one day. Perhaps next year. If I can raise the £500 needed for the deposit. Any donors? If I get at least 5% of the vote, I’ll get my cash back. And so, therefore, will you. But I’ll not bother running for a European election. It has to be the real deal. The General Election. Don’t be overly surprised if you didn’t get your donation back. But there’s always the chance you’ll see me in television, on a stage, waiting anxiously for the results to be declared, hoping that I get at least two votes. My own vote being pretty much in the bag…
So, now you know. I voted Labour. In between uploading those photos and getting on to this paragraph , I had to pause for thought. Should I be posting photos of my trip into the polling station? You’ll note one of those photos shows a sign forbidding photography. In my defence, I noticed it on the way out, not the way in, and nobody said anything to me inside about not taking a photo.
The BBC has this article explaining the rights and wrongs of photography in a polling station. Essentially, there are no rights or wrongs, other than to photograph someone else making their choice – specifically, revealing their choice – is an offence. Polling stations have been told to put up signs forbidding photography even though it seems pretty clear that there is no law to support this policy.
So. To publish or not to publish my photographed ballot paper? Obviously, given that you’ve seen the photos above, I chose to publish. For several reasons. I object, albeit rather mildly in this instance, to being told not to do something when there is no legislation preventing me from doing so. Selfies have been going on for a while now, as have elections. If this were important, there should have been prior legislation. I have satisfied myself that my photo does not compromise any other persons right to a secret ballot. And also because, on the very next BBC page that I turned to, I see that they have published photos taken inside polling stations during this election to accompany their election coverage. Much as I have.
Back to the election. Which has mostly been about UKIP. I hate to generalise, really I do, but I’m going to just go ahead and make an exception. Active UKIP supporters….they do rather come across as a rather ignorant, arrogant collection of toffs and tarts who haven’t yet quite gotten around to acclimatising to the 21st century. It’s a rag tag collection of people who are just like other people, and enjoy other people’s company, just so long as they aren’t…you know…different. It’s a party for racists who didn’t know they were racist. It’s a party for people who can’t tell the difference between officious political correctness and plain old fashioned xenophobia.
But I like UKIP. It serves a purpose. It splinters the Conservative party. Many of the rotten apples of the political world have gravitated around UKIP, identifying themselves. And, one must concede, they have put Europe on the agenda as a subject demanding action rather than empty rhetoric. Most intelligent people do not want the UK to leave the EU. They want to belong to a cohesive, efficient Europe that is flexible in meeting the needs of member nations, that is committed to upholding the sovereignty of individuals nations and that brings economic benefits. As opposed to a domineering, excessive and bureaucratic monster. It’s sadly closer to the latter than the former. Let’s fix it, not flog it.
So, did you vote? Would you vote? How did you vote? Left, right, centre or secretly?