Debate 6:
"Our democracy needs action not despair…

…wake up to the danger of not voting"

.  VoteOrVoteNone  March 2015

On these pages, Russell Brand and Tim Farron rightly criticise UK politics for its inability to make positive change and for its lack of power over international corporations.

As they argue, we need democratic power to protect ordinary people from poverty, injustice and global capitalism.

Yet that democratic power has been actively reduced in recent decades.  Our governments have sold our public assets to international corporations, helped British companies go the same way, and created a nation of debt, mega house prices and powerful bankers.

So unlike Russell Brand, I take from that experience that who we elect makes a difference.

Of course we need to do more than vote.  But I disagree with the defeatist idea that it's not even worth voting.

Even weak and devious ministers need to claim they have a mandate and legitimacy from public support.  By not voting, and not even voting none, we let them claim they have it.

Worse, the candidates who want to achieve something better, don't even get elected.

Elected governments gave us free health in 1945, illegal war in 2003, and austerity in 2010.  So politics affects real people's lives, and all our futures.

Our priority must be to make our democracy stronger, and to keep remembering the dangers:

Germany in the 1930's showed democracy can be replaced by fascism, even in a modern liberal western country, with all those who object imprisoned or silenced by fear.

Thatcherism in the UK showed us how quickly our public assets can be sold to international corporations.

Blair showed why independent-minded politicians are vital, to prevent a deluded leader taking our country into an illegal war and torture while ignoring the biggest public protest ever.

Egypt has recently shown just how easy it is for a hard-won democracy to be quickly replaced by another dictatorship, with imprisonment for those who even report it.

Democracy is fragile, and each election is a turning point in our history.  So it's vital to stop being defeatist, wake up to the dangers of not voting, and start doing positive things to make this UK democracy work better.

What can we do?  Right now, we need to vote for the best indep­endent-minded candi­dates on offer, AND deliver a huge protest vote that helps them, and all of us, to improve UK politics and encourage good candidates in future.

If just some of the Unheard Third vote, any result is possible.

And if just some vote NONE, the protest for change can be larger even than the vote for the government.  That's far larger than any possible street demonstration, and THE most powerful demonstration of the lack of support for UK politics.

Power comes by acting together, through democ­racy and demons­tration.  Everyone needs to do something.

Why be silent?   Vote for a candidate who you trust to work hard for things you believe in, or vote NONE in protest.