A comedian said we shouldn’t vote. We didn’t vote.
There’s a difference between choosing to not vote, and choosing not to vote, and it’s not clear which we did. Even less clear whether we chose to not vote, or not to vote, based on the sage savouries of a comedian. It’s hard to imagine the power this one amazing man might have, persuading millions of us not to use our democratic right thanks to an interview that a hundred and five people saw and an editorial that sixteen people read (and as one of those sixteen, I’m here to tell you that it didn’t tip me over the edge.)
If apathy can be an active choice, rather than apathy – that you actively fold your arms at the polling station and say “no guv, not for me this time” rather than staying at home and watching unfunny remakes of Dudley Moore films – it’s hard to measure its impact or “success”. It’s so hard to tell which non votes were protest non votes rather than not being bothered, not understanding, not caring.
Now ukip is here, like a racist runaway train, barrelling towards disaster as Nigel The Tank Engine’s cheery fagash grin leads it on. It’s tempting to connect one thing with another and imagine that the apathy urged by the barbed clown has allowed the train wreck, or plane crash, or earthquake, or towering inferno, or whichever traumatic multiple death event you want to call it, to happen. But there’s a chance that the millions who didn’t vote in a European election aren’t all that keen on Europe anyway, and might be more sympathetic to an anti Europe party. They might not all be a liberal-left army in waiting, I’m afraid.
When the TV is on, research suggests we seek out the least annoying programme we can find it we can’t find one we really want to watch. The remote control attitude is the one I try to use for selecting candidates: I might not find one who’s a perfect match for all of my beautiful special snowflake opinions, but there will be a least worst choice. Not none of the above, but the least worst of the above. That’s all I’ve got. Does it make a difference? Does not doing that make a difference? I don’t know. It just feels wrong not voting. I’m no comedian, but that’s all I’ve got.