Tuesday, 3 March 2009
None of the above
I seem to have been absent for a while, busy spring cleaning, white-washing the old mole hole (that sounds so wrong) and preparing for the possibility of committing new music to tape - and this has left little time for important things like writing this blog, or typing emails of outrage to The Guardian, my MP, Thames Water, British Gas, or anyone else who will ignore me.
Just this morning though, the usual combination of lack of sleep and too much coffee ( I wonder if they're connected) led me to send the following missive to the lovely Jenni Russell who has received several of my letters over the years. I feel it's important to retain a dialogue with the outside world, especially when one never leaves the house except to buy the paper and see which cars got burnt out this week on my street.
Now that I'm nearly 40 I think it's allowable to use the word 'one' rather than 'I' when referring to myself, my status - whilst not totally regal - is at least approaching that of elder statesman. When I say elder statesman, I mean something like Mugabe.
I'll be back with something close to regular blogging as the music schedule allows, but what with that, irate letter writing, obscure phonograph building and figuring out how to keep snails off my clematis (again, that sounds so wrong) there is precious little time left in the day before my afternoon nap.
Until I have something insightful to say I shall leave you with the aforementioned letter... maybe if we all burnt our ballots there'd be revolution - or at least something to toast marshmallows with.
You can read Jenni's piece here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/03/conservatives-david-cameron-politics
Dear Jenni, another interesting piece today, but I wonder if in your heart of hearts even someone as seemingly hopeful as yourself doesn't secretly despair that once again the merry-go-round of democracy will result in the same pathetic choice between the puppet on the left or the puppet on the right.
I agree it is inevitable the Conservatives will win, but it could equally be any party offering what amount to identikit campaign policies, which immediately mutate from aspirational gold to pragmatic lead once power is achieved.
The argument that this form of democracy is the 'least worst' of all systems, with its right to vote for which our grandparents fought and died, is looking tired and downright dangerous in a world that needs big ideas, implemented quickly before we destroy the planet, our economies and each other. Our current form of democracy amounts to a tinkering with window dressing, as the next administration will doubtless prove, with a public purse so empty that any big ideas may be beyond our ability to fund them.
So rather than conferring a spurious legitimacy on any of the candidates by marking my ballot, I shall instead be burning it, as there is currently no move to recognise the spoiling of ballots as part of the electoral process. You may call me the naive one, knowing as we all do that decisions are made by those who show up, but I've been turning up all my adult life. To elections, to rallies, to meetings, and not once has my voice - or the voices of millions of others - been listened to. I voted in New Labour only to be taken into an illegal war, to have my civil liberties eroded, and to be made an accomplice to torture, by a party whose idea of social justice is to line the pockets of millionaire bankers.
While our generation looks back with gratitude to our forebears knowing the battles they fought figuratively and literally for our freedom to vote, I wonder how today or tomorrow's generation will regard us. At a time when the planet is dying, when capitalism has failed to bring equality, when we have lost the ability to feed ourselves, and the desire to feed others, will they be proud and grateful that we stood in line outside a primary school to cast our ballot for Cameron or Clegg, or any other stuffed shirt - or would they rather we genuinely took a stand and said "none of the above"?
As I watch my ballot burn I will at least know that I wasn't fooled again.
P.S I have no idea what clematis is, or how to keep snails off it. I just listen to Radio 4 too much. I maybe old, but I'm not that old.