VOTE!


12:16 am - May 6th 2010

by Laurie Penny    


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The sky over London is pathetically empathic, brooding and low and just about to break into a weird little squall. I’ve been woking 14-hour days for the past six, and I’m bleeding and I’m tired and pissed off, and Torygeddon seems to be coming, and there’s nothing I can do or say to make that better. No matter how much I scream and stamp I can do nothing to stop what’s coming over the hill, not on my own.

Apart from vote, of course.

Which is the only thing we can possibly do tomorrow that matters.

So here’s how it goes: you. Vote. Yes, you, with your quietly freakish views and your weird opinions that no mainstream party will ever quite understand. Vote.

Yes, you, with your sulkishly correct intimation of having been betrayed time after depressing time, in small ways, with politicians taking away your faith and your fervor piece by piece. Vote. I know you think it doesn’t matter, not where you are. It matters.

I don’t care how much you hate them, every single one, how much you want to tear it all up and sit in your living room and throw guilty glares at the TV and not be implicated in this whole fucking mess. You are implicated already. Now go out there and take some sodding responsibility.

Not that you should vote for just anyone, of course. You should vote for whoever is going to beat the Tories in your area. Not just because they’re evil, or because they’re incompetent, or because (with the exceptions of a few notable people who I know read this blog) they hate you and everything you stand for. Vote for progressives because Tories are scummish and dull and boring. They are boring. Look at that sky. Taste the clammy May air, how grey and hopeless it is, spring sap run to rot. Remember when it tasted like this? That was the early 90s. Do you remember the early 90s? Vote.

Because if you don’t get out there and tick whatever box you need to tick, right now if you’re at home, or as soon as you can get out of work, I shall consider whatever happens tomorrow your fault. And you should too, because it will be. Turn in your internet license, you’ve got no more business ranting at empty cyberspace if you can’t put your shoes on and engage with hard copy the one time it matters.

Which is right now.

Get your shoes on, get out of the house and vote. Put the internet away. This is it. Game on.

Go.

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About the author
Laurie Penny is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is a journalist, blogger and feminist activist. She is Features Assistant at the Morning Star, and blogs at Penny Red and for Red Pepper magazine.
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Reader comments


Laurie, I wish I still had your passion. I’ve lived through Conservative and Labour administrations and they were both terrible in many ways. As it is I am only left with anger and no passion for the only choice whichever way I turn – neo-liberal economics.

Excellent piece! Torygeddon is a terrifying threat –

earwicga, I’ve also lived through Conservative and Labour administrations and had my heart broken by New Labour’s betrayal of the left. I can see arguments against the Liberal Democrats but I’m throwing all my being behind them this time after a life-time of voting Labour because I truly believe that they represent the possibility of change.

Please delete if it is inappropriate for me to link to something I wrote on this but I really want people who are hesitating to consider voting Liberal Democrat. The post is here: http://tumblr.timhardy.net/post/574379013/dont-be-afraid-to-vote-for-change or the short url for twitter is here: http://bit.ly/bOd6YW

Here’s to averting Torygeddon tomorrow. Let’s show Murdoch that he can’t buy all of the people.

3. Strategist

Agreed.

But it’s a bit of a pisser when you find out that New Labour have been harvesting and casting fraudulent postal votes on an industrial scale so that your solitary vote can be outweighed. http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=5777

Laurie, this is feeble. And you know it.

5. Maggie Brinkley

My Granny, a Suffragiste who was kindly granted the vote when she was 30, would have enthusiastically seconded your view even though she was a life-long Tory. She encouraged me and my sister to vote because Emily Davies died attempting to halt the King’s horse when it raced in the Derby as a protest in favour of votes for women. She died for our rights. My Granny recalled the utter horror that shook the country after that episode.

Women of Britain! (as Mr Chumley-Warner might say.) Vote!

Laurie you are AWESOME. I hope you change the world one day

“The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during election of members of parliament; as soon as the members are elected, the people is enslaved; it is nothing. In the brief moment of its freedom, the English people makes such a use of that freedom that it deserves to lose it. ”

– Jean Jacques Rousseau.

Well i hated Thatcher with a passion, she does not seem so bad now, because of new labour, Blair and Brown.

Being paraplegic I’ve just had my new Medicals for ESA, the letter came through and I phoned up saying hold on my benefits have been reduced, yes came the answer the benefits are reduced by £12 a week. IB was to high and unfair to others who did not work, like a fool I said well bring up their benefits to my old rate, oh not the government has decided to reduce it.

Also it’s the intention to reduce it so all benefits are the same £65 a week.

Although I hated Thatcher she gave us DLA, labour says that got to be reduced by taking off the over sixty fives, according to Cameron he will not do that.

I shall be voting Tory, I’ve no choice i live in the country and I’m not far off retirement to lose DLA and my car would be a nightmare.

But whom would expect a labour government would reduce benefits from £97 down to £85 with further reducing in the pipe line.

“It is nonsense to suppose we live in a democracy. We in fact operate an aristocratic system of government occasionally interrupted by elections. We have been steadily removing the electorate from power for the last 200 years.” – Sir Humphrey.

Approximately in parallel with the expansion of the suffrage, as Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn noted in an editorial aside in the script. Be nice to change that.

Why is the fact that you are having your period relevant to the rest of the article?

Why did I need to know that?

Is it to make the point that, as a male, I can’t really empathise with your more subtle emotional palette or do you just like to tell everyone every time it happens?

This is something feminist writers need to get over.

if voting changed anything, they’d make it in frilly pink frosting,

Emma Goldman

12. John Meredith

“Because if you don’t get out there and tick whatever box you need to tick, right now if you’re at home, or as soon as you can get out of work, I shall consider whatever happens tomorrow your fault. And you should too, because it will be. ”

But it won’t be. No single vote will make any difference to any part of the election anywhere. Everyone knows this; they are not daft. So you need to make a better case for voting than just stamping your feet and waving the hard-done-bys.

13. Watchman

Laurie,

You were doing so well, and I was with you up to the point where you started screaming about needing to stop the Conservatives. Have you actually considered the most important thing is to encourage people to vote, not to vote for a purpose? We sit here in our liberal, politically-obsessed box, and think there are important things, but what is truly important is that not just us but everybody gets to go and express their views. So calling on people to vote, but then shouting at them to vote against what appears to be the most popular party in the country at the moment (obviously we’ll be able to tell on Saturday if it is) rather undermines the key point of democracy, which allows everyone to express their views unreservedly.

To be fair, I doubt many readers of this site were planning on not voting, and those that were are unlikely to be swayed by the excellent rhetoric of the first part of Laurie’s article though.

Torygeddon, after what Labour have done to the economy?

Thanks Laurie, after your latest schoolgirl rant, I’m off to vote Tory.

15. Baying Lynch Mob

Re: 10. pagar:
Are you saying that you’ve never bled? Well done there.
(Now go out and vote.)

How about you fuck off and I vote how I like.

17. Flowerpower

I shall be voting Tory because it’s the Lefties who come across as scummy and boring in my area.

Winston @16 et al: I know that what you’re meant to say here is, ‘It doesn’t matter how you vote as long as you vote.’ But I think it DOES matter.

“Tories are scummish and dull and boring. They are boring. Look at that sky. Taste the clammy May air, how grey and hopeless it is, spring sap run to rot. Remember when it tasted like this? That was the early 90s”.

Blimey! Reminds me of the first time I went to the USSR, and it was exceptionally cold. Our guide told us of how, a few days after Lenin died in 1924, the temperature dropped to minus 40C. Birds dropped dead out of the air. Nature was mourning the death of Lenin, you see. She believed it, too.

The air is bracing and fragrant here, Laurie Penny, with the scent of bluebells and earth. That exquisite, almost luminous springtime greenness is shimmering on the lime trees and beeches. You really need to get out of that London. It has a deleterious influence on the psyche.

@18 LP

You’re right Laurie – it certainly does matter. If people don’t get out and vote, we could be left with Gordon Brown for another 5 years. He’s had 13 years to crash the economy into the f**king ground already.

I think Winston takes umbridge, not with your suggestion that we should get out and vote, but of your frankly childish views on who we should vote for.

Laurie,

“That was the early 90s. Do you remember the early 90s? ”

I remember the 1990’s. I was at college, unemployed then working. A reasonable range of experiences from which I can form opinions about that period and who I should vote for to avoid the same.

Whereas, you were at primary school – a vantage point from which you like to hector us about how we should vote.

Plllleeeeeaaaaaaaassssse.

Remember when it tasted like this? That was the early 90s. Do you remember the early 90s? Vote.

Good Lord, was it really more depressing than the nought-plus-ones? Almost makes me resent my parents for the whole “giving birth” fandango.

I’m sure without the prism of hate which is the internet we’d get along fine Penny, I have left leaning friends who I regularly have barn-storming conversations with regarding political ideology.

I had just hoped, so much, that the internet would become the place for a more open and frank discussion of our politics where tribalism could be set aside.

But it’s just dominated by activists and the blindly faithfull from both sides. You lost me as soon as you blanketed the Conservative party as evil and incompetent.

I don’t want an election dominated by inspiring fear of a hung parliament.

I don’t want business leaders opinions to be shouted down merely because they have the nerve to be business leaders and speak up for their interests.

I don’t want to be told I should vote a certain way “just to keep labour/tories out”.

I almost don’t want to vote. And if I don’t, it’s not because I won’t take responsibility for my vote. It’s because I won’t sanction the looting scum I see taking up office.

@Winston and others – do you imagine that being exorted to vote (at all) is any less ideologically compromising than being exorted to vote specifically to keep the Tories out?

When you engage with the so-called ‘democratic process’, it is hardly on neutral terms. There are those who would replace the whole rotten edifice with something else entirely; there are those who are excluded from voting altogether, and there are those who really couldn’t give a toss.

Not to mention the fact that choosing to read Laurie’s post on a site called ‘Liberal Conspiracy’, using whatever means are at your disposal, tags you with further associations…

Why get hung up about one aspect of an ideology? Your alternative is to live in a fucking vacuum.

“do you imagine that being exorted to vote (at all) is any less ideologically compromising than being exorted to vote specifically to keep the Tories out?”

Yes.

26. Hobhouse

The sky was brooding last night, and today it’s sunny. Up to us how it looks tomorrow. Nice one, Laurie!

Laurie – excellent piece. Tried to post a response on pennyred but my browser ain’t playing, so I sent it to you.

pagar – yr wrong about the period. Every female knows that dragging, uncomfortable feeling, and the reference to it fits the opening lines of this very well.

If it really gets on yr tits, I propose that from now on, all us girls post regular blogs that simply read – ‘hey pager – I’m on the rag.’

28. Charlieman

@12 John Meredith: “No single vote will make any difference to any part of the election anywhere.”

Look up Winchester constituency, 1997.

You are wrong in many many many many many ways. You’re quiet poetically wrong. You’re quite eloquently wrong. You’re quite intelligently wrong. You’re quite charmingly wrong. You’re quite passionately wrong. But you’re still wrong.

30. John Meredith

“Look up Winchester constituency, 1997.”

Was that the two vote majority? But even then, your one vote would have made no difference either way.

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Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Karl Thomas

    RT @libcon: VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  2. Lee Griffin

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @libcon VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  3. Natacha Kennedy

    http://bit.ly/cTDmUq Get out and vote against the Tories #ge2010 #ukelection

  4. Roz Kaveney

    http://bit.ly/cTDmUq Good angry ranting about the necessity of voting.

  5. Cel W

    RT @RozKaveney: http://bit.ly/cTDmUq Good angry ranting about the necessity of voting.

  6. Naadir Jeewa

    Reading: VOTE!: The sky over London is pathetically empathic, brooding and low and just about to break into a weir… http://bit.ly/cewseq

  7. andrew

    Liberal Conspiracy » VOTE!: About the author: Laurie Penny is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is … http://bit.ly/crwQLg

  8. Steve Akehurst

    VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl /via @libcon < says it all!

  9. Alex Gough

    PS don't be so patronising: http://bit.ly/9eRoXW

  10. Andrew Atticus

    RT @LibCon: Vote! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl @LibDems @Nick_Clegg #GoNick #ukelection #imnotvotingconservative #LibDems

  11. Robert Kersting

    RT @kieriga: RT @LibCon: Vote! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl @LibDems @Nick_Clegg #GoNick #ukelection #imnotvotingconservative #LibDems

  12. Wendy Bradley

    RT @RozKaveney: http://bit.ly/cTDmUq Good angry ranting about the necessity of voting.

  13. Hano

    Laurie Penny writing out of her skin as usual: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/06/vote/?awesm=fbshare.me_AMBbm

  14. Liberal Conspiracy

    VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  15. Paul

    RT @libcon: VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  16. Aegir Hallmundur

    RT @libcon: VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  17. stiffinho

    RT @libcon: VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  18. Moose de Carabas

    RT @libcon: VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  19. House Of Twits

    RT @libcon VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  20. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » VOTE! -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aegir Hallmundur, Liberal Conspiracy, House Of Twits, stiffinho, Lee Griffin and others. Lee Griffin said: RT @HouseofTwits: RT @libcon VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl […]

  21. Steve Glover

    RT @libcon: VOTE! http://bit.ly/dzKVrc

  22. Yonmei

    RT @RozKaveney: http://bit.ly/cTDmUq Good angry ranting about the necessity of voting.

  23. Richard Austin

    RT @libcon: VOTE! http://bit.ly/bUqzHl

  24. Rogue

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/06/vote/ – a stirring call to the polls. #'vote

  25. Jack Eales

    .@ProgramX maybe it's too late for you to change your mind but……. http://bit.ly/9eRoXW the point is solid – voting is the only way!!

  26. JeremySJ

    "Get your shoes on, get out of the house and vote. Put the internet away. This is it. Game on." Yup. http://bit.ly/bwmzrP

  27. Right « The view across the bar.

    […] Laurie Penny is usually at her best when impassioned and also right. Many of us are. This post is an excellent example; her injucntion to vote to avoid your children growing up through the kind of schools I did, and the kind of hospitals I did, is well received. But there’s another aspect to the reason one should vote that isn’t in the post. It’s a fucking privilege. […]

  28. Sod The Election… « Back Towards The Locus

    […] there I am, quietly washing my hands of thing, and Laurie’s pre-election diatribe smacks me right in the ol’ synapses… I don’t care how much you hate them, every […]





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