Why Bother Voting?


By Jason Michael

In a democracy we get the government we deserve, and this means we get even those governments we never voted for because we didn’t vote. We get the governments the people who vote voted for, and this isn’t good enough.


After spending a great deal of money on goods or services that turned out to be substandard or were simply never delivered there are few people indeed who would not contact the complaints department looking for a refund and maybe some answers. Yet every year taxpayers in the UK cough up £48,750,000 just to cover the basic salaries of our Westminster MPs. This is the minimum cost of employing 650 Members of Parliament at £74,000 a year each. On top of this there is the added salaries for government Ministers, special sinecures, and – of course – expenses. While footing this massive bill it is surprising how many people will still question the point of voting.


“They are all the same,” we hear, “nothing ever changes.” Imagine listening to someone in a restaurant paying for a meal that was never delivered, saying, “What’s the point in complaining?” It’s absurd. It never happens, but we listen to people use this same excuse when they think their MP isn’t doing the job they are paying their taxes to pay them to do. We are content to live law-abiding lives and pay our taxes suspecting we are paying people to do nothing and prepared to do sit back and do nothing about it. Here we are, on the day of a general election, and one million people in Scotland won’t show up to vote – because nothing ever changes.

It’s true. Nothing ever changes because people, assuming nothing ever changes, don’t bother voting – ensuring, ironically, that nothing does ever change. Scotland, no one on either side of the independence debate will argue, desperately needs change. As part of the United Kingdom we are shackled to a state that goes out of its way to make sure one in four children in our country don’t have enough food to eat. It has a policy of saving money by denying benefits to the people who need the benefits we all pay for the most. It uses the taxes we pay to buy technologically advanced weapons to murder babies and infants in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We need change.

Working class people suffer far more at the hands of the Conservative government than middle class people, but working class people are far less likely to vote than their middle class neighbours. Middle class people do not typically vote to help their working class neighbours, because they have been convinced by the middle class right-wing media that working class people are all “scroungers” and “layabouts.” So when they go to the polls they vote for the parties that promise to come down the hardest on the lazy working class. Because they bothered to vote their parties are elected and the working class suffers a little more. So, at least, this much changes – the conditions of working class people continues to get worse and people suffer more.

Not all working class people are scroungers and layabouts. In fact the vast majority are working – some working multiple jobs – just to make ends meet. In the same way not everyone who stands for election is a Conservative or a Blairite. There are alternatives, but, seeing as the vast majority of the middle class – who’re pretty alright Jack – won’t be voting for them, nothing ever changes.

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What’s the point? Voter apathy in inner-city Manchester


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