Friday, April 21, 2006

Don't vote, apathise...

Every election brings out the same old anarchist 'no vote' campaigns - though to be honest campaign is putting it too strongly, usually it's a case of a few stickers, a poster or some grafitti. The old slogan of 'Don't Vote, Organise!' would be sound if only it were true. In the real world the fact is that it's 'don't vote, apathise'. Not only does encouraging voter apathy feed into the general cynicism about politics - and that includes radical 'anti'-politics as much as it does Nu Lab, Tories and the rest - it also encourages the feeling that we're powerless to resist or change things.

When it comes to council elections this apathy makes even less sense. While it's true that local councils have been rendered almost powerless by the relentless authoritarianism and centralising tendencies of successive Tory and Labour governments, local councils are still closer to most people than what goes on in Westminster. If there's a chance to make a splash it's here. If we want to reconnect people's interest in change then it's here.

Encouraging apathy and cynicism is ultimately self-defeating. Do we really want people to believe that they have no power to make a difference?

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