Needless to say, it’s election day today. Droves of people can be seen queuing down the streets to enter a dingy little shack and scribble a decision on paper that may, or may not, alter the course of British politics.
Today was the first year I was able to vote. At the last election I was very certain of who I would vote for and vigorously defended them in numerous debates with friend, family (and complete strangers). I was so sure I could tell them what decision to make.
Now, however, facing the prospect of actually being able to cast my ballot, I was undecided, uncertain, genuinely a true fence sitter who could turn on a hair-pin at any point during the day. I watched all the videos and read the statuses and articles and formulated ideas. Friends advised me. Family advised me. I listened and watched and waited.
The moment came when I stepped up and said my name and address and was handed a small slip of white paper (and a green one for the local council). I stepped into the voting booth.
As I lowered my pen to the paper, looking at the black and white logos of the major parties, I had a dramatic epiphany.
“This is really f***ing sh*t, isn’t it?”
The reason I felt so awful was because I realised, on one of the few occasions in my life as a confident ‘can-do’ person, that I really could not make a right decision. It was paralysing. I would have held up the line had their not been more booths.
I thought about the choice I was being presented with: insincerity alongside economic and political incompetence, narrow mindedness and anti-democratic belligerence, aristocratic mediaevalism and elitism versus a strange reverse elitism, deceitfulness masking empty promises (or refusing to remember broken ones), naivety and a whole lot of shame. What a selection. Pick your poison, sir.
I thought for a moment about tearing up the paper and starting a one-man riot. How many officers of the law would it take to kill a madman with a sword and bow? How many people could I rally to my cause?
Probably none: they’re too busy doing the sensible thing and voting.
The paranoid conspirator whispers in my ear it’s all fixed or as good as anyway.
I think I should probably vote anyway just in case it isn’t fixed – one of the few joys of believing in free-will is that I get to believe I’m picking my poisons rather than be determined them, after all.
I picked. But I sure ain’t happy.