|| "Admit defeat gracefully? Fuck off."
||May. 3rd, 2008 12:21 pm|
So, a few of those who backed the winner of the mayoral voter have come out with that old chestnut that the rest of us should "admit defeat gracefully".|
Telling people this is harmful to political involvement and the antithesis of democracy. Democratic opinion and expression don't end with an election. We saw much the same calls when, and since, Bush got in - a combination of an "appeal for non-partisan politics" and the message that "you're so lucky to live in a democracy that you should shut up and not be so ungrateful as to actually have an opinion".
As for writing to elected representatives? Yeah, good plan, that's why I helped write that part of FaxYourMP. But it's a pretty weak tool, unfortunately; if you've got a jobsworth party member for your representative they'll happily ignore you.
Democracy doesn't always give the best result (particularly with an apathetic turnout), and education doesn't always lead to intelligence. I'm not going to "admit defeat gracefully" because 53% of 45% of a media-led mob can't tell whether they're voting for a celebrity, a government or a mayor. Much of the early media coverage in particular (beyond the selection that was just completely biased), gave the impression that there were only two choices. None of the mass coverage really looked at the critical issues in depth, it was all about soundbites, arguments, digging for mistakes or "punishing the government".
Boris couldn't even accept his victory gracefully. I'm not going to take it any better.
Unless you've got evidence of a rigged vote, I think at this point you pretty much have to accept that it's done now: Boris is the new Mayor of London, and he was democratically elected to that post by the people of London.
What worries me is why: you can't dismiss it as a joke vote, unless you think people elected a BNP assembly member as a joke too. Boris getting in on the Chelsea Tractor vote is a royal pain in the ass, but ultimately something I could probably live with; Boris getting elected having opposed gay marriage and supported section 28, while the brownshirts get 5% of the vote: this is much more sinister. Dismissing over a million people as simply stupid seems a bit facile; what's with the leap to the right of late?
I think it's down to disillusion with the Labour govt and fear of terrorism. The so-called party of the people has scrapped 10% income tax band, engaged in two unjust wars in which our service personnel have been killed in order to suck up to the Yanks, introduced 28 day pre-charge detention for terror suspects, introduced top-up fees for HE students, and wants to introduce the ID card and biometric database. People are looking for someone else to vote for, and thanks to all the hype about terror, are looking for someone who'll keep percieved terrorists (in other words, muslims) out of the country. Hence the BNP getting within 200 votes of a seat in both Spennymoor and Middlestone, and Tudhoe, in the traditionally Labour heartland that is County Durham.
I think it was pretty much a protest vote against Labour too. I am horrified that the BNP candidate got the Barking and Dagenham LA seat, even if that was after second preferences - especially after seeing a bit of his victory speech!