Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Why I’m poll-axing myself


ALONG with the usual junk mail offering me double glazing, funeral plans, investment opportunities, etc, I tore up a somewhat different piece of unsolicited post the other day . . . my poll card for the general election.

I binned it because for the first time in the 54 years that I’ve been eligible to vote, I won’t be doing so on July 4. Instead, I’ll be doing something useful, like mowing the lawn or taking the dog for a walk.

Why? Because, as has long been obvious to most of us, there’s no point in voting. Under Tories or Labour, we always end up in a progressively worse mess. Right now, things are frighteningly dire under the Conservatives – a crippled economy, rising prices, a proxy war, the Net Zero suicide plan, the Brexit betrayal, the covid con, rampant wokery, gender and racial madness, Islamic militancy, a quisling media and uncontrolled immigration, to name but a few. Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour hordes are jostling to get their snouts into the Westminster trough and take the Tory insanities to even dizzier heights (or depths).

My first general election vote was in June 1970, when I was 19 – the voting age had been reduced from 21 to 18 the previous year. Since then, I’ve voted in 13 more and in every one I’ve put my cross for Labour. I was never deeply interested in politics in my younger days, but I’d inherited a tribal working-class antipathy for the Tories and a feeling that Labour would somehow always do better for ordinary people. Not any longer.

As I remember it, for the 40 years or so from 1970, politics generally seemed a straightforward battle between left and right. The rot probably started when David ‘The Heir to Blair’ Cameron became Premier in 2010, with the oleaginous Nick Clegg in tow. In the ensuing years, the agenda increasingly became clogged with the multifarious issues that these days pollute and degrade it. After Theresa May, Boris Johnson and the doomed Liz Truss, we now have Rishi Sunak. Rishi Sunak! What criticism or parody of him can you conjure up that he hasn’t already inflicted on himself?

As for Labour, Ed Miliband was a predictable write-off, while Jeremy Corbyn had genuine, if idiotic, convictions. Once Corbyn was trounced at the polls, Starmer managed to rise without the inconvenience of any principle or plan. He stands for nothing but getting himself into Downing Street. For all its manifesto waffle, Labour’s only real selling point today is that it’s not the Conservative Party.

Another of the reasons I’m not voting is that I can’t stand being lied to. Blatant, outright, barefaced lies abound. I know being a politician means you’ve got to be a liar – but boy, do we have a prize bunch of truth-twisters in Sunak, Starmer and the rest.

So my vote has gone in the bin. Some will say don’t waste it – give it to Nigel Farage, or go to the polling station and deliberately spoil your voting slip as a protest. Sorry, but I’ve little faith in Farage being able to do anything meaningful, and I wouldn’t want to waste the lead in the polling booth pencil by writing ‘none of the above’. I know not voting is a cop-out and readily plead guilty. But I see it as like banging your head against a brick wall – it’s good when you stop.

I’ll end on a metaphorical note. One of my favourite television series was the BBC’s 1976 adaptation of Robert Graves’s  I, Claudius, with Derek Jacobi brilliantly playing the reluctant Roman emperor.

In the final episode, Claudius realises it’s useless trying calmly and conventionally to change things – in his case, he had hoped to restore the republic. So he deliberately eats poisoned mushrooms fed to him by his scheming wife Agrippina, who wants to put her son Nero on the throne. Claudius hastens his own death because he foresees that after he is gone, Rome will collapse into chaos and destroy itself, perhaps one day being resurrected as a better place.

Maybe in the distant years to come, once the madness has somehow been purged, it will be worth voting again in Britain. Let’s hope so. But I think for now we’ll just have to eat the Starmer mushrooms and see what lunacy unfolds once Labour is in power. As Claudius said: ‘Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.’ 

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Henry Getley
Henry Getley
Henry Getley is a freelance journalist.

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