The previous UK election was an EU election. It would have been inconsistent with my desire for a responsible media and a small state to vote other than against the media and against the EU. Let’s be clear about what a UKIP vote was at the previous election: it was a vote against the existence of a political institution that we do not need and do not want, so I voted UKIP.
The test for this Westminster election is very different. This is an election about how political force is wielded at Westminster and none of the parties, including UKIP, are standing are standing on the platform “not at all, thank you”.
Like Rocco (or at least ostensible Rocco, the man talks in code half the time) I believe it is important to vote. Politics operates in a dreamland, but a vote creates a new fact of reality that politicians will pay attention to. So how to vote in this election? What facts of political reality can be created that matter?
I take seriously the idea that voting legitimises the process of democracy and implies a sanction on the use of political force over the minority, but your absence from the ballot sends no message at all to your rulers. At best they will assume you do not care what they do to you. The task is, instead, to explain that you do care but you do not want them to do what they propose to do.
Absent a libertarian candidate and absent a “none of the above” option there are two options remaining: the lesser evil and a spoilt ballot. Unfortunately, as can be expected in a system in which the majority vote for the lesser evil, there is not an evil which is tolerable. There is not a mainstream party in the UK which will not actively pursue an agenda harmful to liberty. A party which offers to tinker a bit around the edges and basically change nothing would be something of value worth pursuing, but that is not on offer. All the parties are going somewhere and all of them in one wrong direction. They offer nothing more than the liberty to choose your favourite plastic teenager from the line up of a Simon Cowell pop-band, when what you want it is genuine punk-tinged English folk music with a beat boxing double bassist.
So, I implore you, get up off your arse on polling day, get into the booth and spoil your ballot in the most amusing manner possible. Send a message that you care, and what is on offer is not what you wanted.