Should I Take Politics Seriously?

(and I mean outside of the power struggles in Westeros)

A few days ago, I publicly pinned my cynical, mocking flag to the mast of the UK Independence Party, arguing here that I don’t care about politics, and so voting for a party just because I find them funny is probably a better use of my vote than washing my hands of this whole affair and buggering off to the safety of my status as a white heterosexual male in a society that bafflingly prioritises whiteness, straightness and maleness. And I, as expected, got a lot of funny looks from my, largely Socialist, Green, and Labour-supporting peers on my English course, which led to my ideal conclusion with this blog – we had a discussion about it! (admittedly at one in the morning after alcohol had been drunk by a few parties.)

And that other consequence of my blog came about – I’m reconsidering a way in which I view the world, namely that not everything can be lightly dismissed in a few hundred black-backgrounded words on a computer screen. A friend of mine, who comes from an area in which Ukip are popular, urged caution about supporting them, even as a joke, having seen first-hand what they can do with even limited power, and another mate raised the altruistic argument, that politics isn’t a thing I should engage with for my own cynical amusement, considering it can have implications for like 60 million people that live in the country.

These arguments were, for me, far more persuasive than the usual criticisms of my Faragery, that democracy is a human right and shouldn’t be wasted (piss off, a concept won’t make me think things about how my country should be run) and others have died for this right so it’s important (yeah, they died for their right to vote, not my right to vote).

Say what you like about politics, it is a deeply communal thing; individual votes don’t matter, only the ideas of people in large demographics, based on age, sex and everything else, and so policies are geared towards influencing these groups, and prioritising the interests of certain groups over others. Nowhere in this model are the narcissistic ambitions of a sleep-deprived philistine who’s greatest achievement in life is being able to masturbate effectively with both hands through a total of four different hand positions; and so if I am to be represented politically, I oughtn’t be represented as that person.

It’s hard to compress a human character – full of goals, fears and emotions – into a cross in a box in favour of a white man wearing a differently-coloured tie to another white man, but I that’s not what democracy is about, I now feel; it’s about taking those few opinions about wider society you do have, and aligning them with a party, rather than trying to express your whole complex character through a vote. And while I am more wanking philistine than rampant Trade Unionist, I am in favour of things like higher wages, reasonable hours for workers, and a national healthcare system for everyone, even if I don’t think about those things all the time.

So I’m not going to become more interested in politics because of one conversation I had in a bar, because that shit still bores me. But when next year’s General Election rolls around, and I’m in a position to exercise my political opinions, if not my opinions on everything, it’s an opportunity I might take. Equally, I might remain uninterested to the end, and not vote, but I’m now uncomfortable with trivialising my vote into something comedic when millions of people could be affected by it. I won’t vote for a party that fits my character, because none exist, and that’s not the point of democracy; I’ll vote whichever way my small political self decides is the most appropriate, and if that’s not at all, so be it.

But I can categorically say this, that I won’t be voting Ukip.


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