A guide to voting in the general election

This is not a political website, but this is a political post – simply because we have a general election coming up in the UK very soon and I’m sick of idiots voting like… well, idiots. I’m not going to tell you which way to vote, I’m simply going to point out a few things that people seem to overlook when it comes to voting. People pay too much attention to what everyone else thinks, but fuck everyone else – or, at least, fuck their opinions. It’s your vote, not theirs. (Conversely, there are times when you need to think about what other people are doing, but this only applies to those of you who plan on voting tactically or abstaining completely.)

This is going to be as unbiased as possible but it’s not so much devil’s advocate as mere observation. I’m not going to tell you how I think everyone should vote. I’m not even going to tell you how I plan to vote. It doesn’t matter. I just want you to remember that other people don’t become soulless monsters once they’ve been given a ballot paper. Our sense of humanity seems to go flying out of the window when it comes to politics, and that’s the most infuriating fucking thing of all.

So, to begin, here are a few reasons why other people and their opinions don’t – or shouldn’t – matter (most of the time):

#1: Understanding and tolerance != agreement

Let me introduce you to some imaginary people. Firstly there’s Dave. Dave is going to vote for Labour. Then there’s Steve, who is going to vote for the Conservatives. Steve thinks Dave is an idiot whose vote will help destroy the country by reducing it to a socialist state; Dave thinks Steve is a cunt whose vote will be partially responsible for the death of poor people. They’ve never met, they’re just basing their opinion on their political leanings.

The trouble here is that it isn’t that straightforward. Dave’s actually a retired (very successful) businessman who comes from an area plagued by poverty and believes that – although taxes are shit and no one wants to pay more of them – the redistribution of wealth amongst the country’s poorest is actually the most beneficial way to run the country. He’s not really thinking about how we should do this, just that it is the right thing to do. So he votes Labour because he thinks they will be the best chance of achieving this ideal. Steve, on the other hand, simply does not understand what it’s like to be genuinely cripplingly poor. He works hard and every month a huge chunk of money is taken away from him – money that he no longer has any control over. He doesn’t want people to starve, or be homeless. He just doesn’t believe it’s fair that he goes to work to support his family – who he hardly sees, because he’s working so fucking hard – only to see some of his hard-earned money appear to be sent to people who aren’t even trying to earn anything themselves yet they still seem to get expensive and frivolous things.

Now, depending on where you fall on the political spectrum, you’ll probably find yourself agreeing with one over the other. That’s fine, that’s how opinions work. But do you find yourself genuinely filled with rage at how bloody stupid the other one is? See, that’s not good. That rage is not going to help you. How could it? What difference does it make? Getting angry at other people for what they believe in is not going to change their minds. You can see this in a million arguments on the internet where people who voted for Britain to remain within the EU shouting ‘racist!’ at people who voted to leave.

The person who gave me the most grief about how I should vote on that occasion was someone who was totally adamant that Britain should leave the EU. She wasn’t – isn’t – a racist; she’s a militant socialist who believed that leaving the EU would be a better deal for disabled people. She was voting for what she believed was the right thing to do – and it’s important to remember that people are voting for what they believe will be the greater good. No one votes for who they believe is going to cause the most damage. The problem here is that some people are idiots, but yelling at them or pointing out their stupidity won’t change their minds. Yelling at people and insulting them usually has the opposite effect, in fact.

(Both Steve and Dave are idiots, by the way. Steve comments on the Daily Mail about “scroungers” with their big-screen TVs – which is total fucking bollocks because I’m poor as fuck and I found my TV in the back alley – and Dave’s actually a massive racist. Speaking of which…)

#2. Vocal minorities are always idiots

I’ve seen a number of people recently become so annoyed with other people on their side of the political spectrum that they are threatening to defer to the enemy. This is lunacy. Don’t do this.

Let’s put it this way: on the left, there are people who think everyone who votes Tory is literally evil and should be shot into space on an eco-friendly rocket. On the right, there are actual nazis. If you’re going to jump ship, don’t jump onto the fucking nazi ship simply because there are some irritants on your poop deck. Ignore them.

If you’re going to vote Conservative, do it because you think they will be the best at running the country. Do it because you read their manifesto and you agree with their policies more than you agree with the policies of the other parties. If you vote Conservative because you’re sick of noisy hippies calling everyone a cunt then, when the Conservatives get into power again, you’ll only have yourself to blame.

Unless that’s secretly what you want, which brings us to…

#3. A secret ballot is a ballot which is SECRET

You don’t have to tell anyone who you voted for. You can even lie about it. Secret ballots are excellent for that. Fuck everyone else, it’s your vote.

#4. An argument against abstaining

I realise that I seem to be addressing people on the left side of the spectrum more than those on the right. This is partly because – it appears to me, at least – that people on the right tend to stay there. They may drift away from the Tories (and then drift back again, judging by UKIP’s results at the recent local elections) but they tend to stay on the right. And they seem to actually vote, which is a bit of a problem when you get people on the left abstaining.

In simple terms, if people on the left choose to boycott and people on the right continue to vote then the people on the left are fucking idiots who might as well vote Tory for all the good their conscientious objection has done. Go and vote, you fucking idiots.

Tactical voting is also problematic, but slightly more understandable. However, if it backfires, and you find yourself with a Labour government that you voted for even though you’re a paid up Green party member then you can’t really complain about it. Unless you lie about who you voted for, in which case no one will ever know (aside from your conscience.)


Choosing who to vote for is hard. Arguably, it should be. This election is even harder, because many people are jaded with the leader of the party they would usually vote for: Conservative supporters voted for David Cameron as prime minister, and suddenly they have a different leader who calls a general election but refuses to debate other party leaders and held hands with Donald Trump. The leader of the Liberal Democrats is scaring off supporters with his religious beliefs, whilst the Labour leader is scaring off supporters by being Jeremy Corbyn.

However you choose to vote, just try to keep in mind that all the ways in which you think people who are voting differently are fucking idiots are the same ways in which they think you’re a fucking idiot. And you’re not an idiot, right? So perhaps there’s a chance that you’re wrong about them.

Or not. Some people are lost causes. Especially Dave, the daft fucking racist.

Update, vaguely

Hi.

I’m in the process of moving my blog from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site, along with a name change and a few other tweaks here and there. Things may disappear/reappear/change right before your very eyes. The categories and tags are going to be tidied, new pages are going to be created and posts are going to be reorganised. Bear with me. x

Threshold consciousness

The perils of being mindful when you can’t get someone out of your head.

Stop where you are and ground yourself.
Breathe.
In…
Out…
but all I think about is you;
my awareness is preoccupied
with its awareness of your absence.

I close my eyes to the world
and try to still my mind.

There you are.
Again.

But it’s not a worry
or a longing,
it’s just the constant presence
of the knowledge of your existence,
like some of your energy
is keeping me company,
reminding me
that somewhere
there is someone
who wants me to be happy
even though
I do nothing
but antagonise.

Breathe.
Tame your monkey mind.

In the final lingering moments
between wakefulness and sleep –
when I feel as though you’re there with me,
falling asleep around me,
and making me feel safe –
I feel this connection start to fade
but it’s not because you’re leaving me.
On the contrary:
you have just run on ahead
to meet me in my dreams.

From the notebook: part one

⊗ The way the words are written is more important than their truthfulness.
The biggest secrets are on display through cryptic works of fiction.


⊗ The placebo is born of magic; a drug with no active ingredients that still manages to work. The more invasive the means of administration, the more powerful the magic. Beautifully, it will work even though you may be aware that you don’t have the real thing.


⊗ One way of making sure the spark never dies is to make sure you never get close enough to breathe on it.


⊗ How do you explain the strange connections?


The words are what’s important. The emotions are just a side-effect. I’m here for the words but I keep letting the emotions run away with me.
And it doesn’t matter that the only way I can think straight is by talking in circles.
A philosophy of poetry is no harder to read than old words by dead thinkers.

And maybe that’s why I can’t resist you. Because if it exists the way it does in our heads, then – in some strange way – it is real.

Fantasy is its own reality. The worlds can co-exist – they may never mingle but the horizons can be blurred just enough. If this is escapism, then what are you trying to escape from? The answer is reality. But there is only reality. So either fantasy is real, or it’s its own reality.

The problem here
is that we exist in both.

And you’re aware of this.

This shared awareness gives it that little bit more power.
But…
The reality of fantasy pays no attention to distance or time. You can summon me any time, even when I’m not conscious, and I’ll be there without even realising it. Our only real obstacle is the limit of our imaginations.
But where this is concerned, our imaginations are over-active. Whenever you think of me, and how I’d feel, and what you’d do to me
and you play it over and over in your mind
then your brain receives signals for every single imagined moment
making your chemistry go through the motions
as though I were physically there.
So your brain believes that this is real, that it actually happened.
Like taking a sugar pill and getting cured anyway.

Follow

Sometimes I’m there,
sometimes I’m not.
I’m not really hiding
or masking my motives;
I just have nothing to say.
And this is okay.
I don’t want to disturb you
or take all your attention –
I’m just worried you’ll leave
and I won’t see you go.

Belated

The quality of mysteriousness doesn’t necessarily mean there is a mystery worth solving. Even an empty box is a mystery until you get it open and realise you were right about the depth but there is actually no substance there whatsoever.

I think you’re suffering the consequences of those who came before you.

 

I spent yesterday hiding under a duvet on the sofa while everyone else went around having a somewhat more traditional Christmas Day. I made it to lunchtime before I broke down and ruined everyone’s plans, but oh! – this is something I should have done years ago.

It’s quite lovely, doing nothing. I should really make it my new Christmas tradition. See, I have always found Christmas to be such a massive fucking disappointment. I’m from a very unreligious family – no one would claim to be atheist or agnostic but only because they don’t understand the terms – so Christmas with my family has always revolved around presents and eating too much. We were too poor to get the things I actually wanted, though, and at quite a young age I just gave up hoping for a Christmas miracle.

In fact, I don’t remember really celebrating Christmas at all at home after I left my mum’s and moved back in with my nan and grandad. We didn’t even bother with a tree, we’d have a roast dinner but with none of the usual festive trimmings and my present was usually a new coat or pair of shoes that I’d ask for in September because I needed them for school.

Compare this to Christmas at my Dad’s when he was still married to my stepmother. Tinsel and glittery nonsense absolutely fucking everywhere, and the pile of presents under the tree for my little sister would get bigger and bigger as the years went by. There were presents there for me too, of course. The problem was that they got so carried away with buying our affections that they didn’t realise I would rather have one awesome thing than one pretty good thing and a load of utter crap.

I got light-up Christmas earrings every year, along with SO much chocolate. They even wrapped the stocking satsumas. This had a disastrous effect on both myself AND my sister – I now detest unwrapping presents in front of people because I know I can’t ever look enthused enough for the person who gave me the present (even when I’m genuinely ecstatic about what I’ve received), and this stems from being told to be grateful for what I’d been given even if I totally hated it or it didn’t fit right or was the wrong ‘brand’.

I still have just enough hope.
Just.