July 01, 2024

Source: Bigstock

When is winning an election also simultaneously to lose it?

According to most pundits, this week’s July 4 General Election here in the U.K. is due to be a complete Labour landslide, with polls frequently predicting the Party gaining 450-plus seats (from a total of 650), and a majority of 200-plus, an even greater advantage than the Blair-Demon’s previous Labour landslide mega-margin of 179 back in 1997.

So, the left-wing Labour Party must be incredibly popular amongst the general British public, right? Er, no. Every single cross Labour receive on the ballot paper will be marked in disappearing invisible ink and promptly regretted and rescinded about five minutes afterward.

The simple fact is that the pseudo–Conservative Party who make up Britain’s current allegedly “right-wing” [sic] government are simply so unbelievably hated amongst their own former voters, who are sick of being duped into lending them their support with all their totally fake promises about reducing mass immigration, cutting crime, sorting out the trannies, and just generally making things work again (any things would do), that, if the only opposition available to be voted for were made up entirely of giant lollipops with eyes drawn on them, the lollipops would still win.

“Every single cross Labour receive on the ballot paper will be marked in disappearing invisible ink and promptly regretted and rescinded about five minutes afterward.”

The current dwarfish work-experience Prime Miniature, Rishi Sunak, may be about as popular an option amongst the electorate as a pig in a Muslim brothel, but that doesn’t mean voters actually fancy his Labour rival Keir Starmer any more: This is a man so wooden he makes Pinocchio seem like he’s made of purest Spam. Nobody in the entire nation is actually voting for Keir Starmer, probably not even himself, if he’s honest about it: They’re just voting against the current government.

“What do you stand for?” is a question commonly asked of deliberately opaque Labour candidates at present. “For public office,” comes the gnomic reply. Once they actually achieve it, they’ll instantly prove every bit as despised as the previous lot, maybe even more.

Labour of Little Love
Given widespread public disenchantment with all mainstream political parties, it really does seem that, if a “None of the Above” tick box were to be included on ballot papers, it would be that which was winning the real landslide, not Labour. So why isn’t it there?

In a certain sense, it already is. There is always the unofficial option available of spoiling your ballot paper: Every election these days produces photographs of papers deliberately defaced by people writing obscene or abusive messages all over them, along the following (highly accurate) lines, reproduced by myself here due to potential overzealous image-copyright reasons:

As one of the “WANKERS” listed there, Candidate D, was none other than Martin “I drink Semtex for breakfast” McGuinness, once of IRA fame (we can say this now that he’s dead), that was one brave voter! (Who is also probably now dead…)

Protest voters need to be careful, however, as if their abusive message is placed within the confines of only one candidate’s box, it will actually count as being a genuine vote for them; notoriously, at the 2015 U.K. General Election, a sitting Welsh Conservative MP, Glyn Davies, gained an extra vote when one protester drew “a detailed representation of a penis” very “neatly” in the box next to Davies’ name, which the local Returning Officer deemed to be an official vote.

Spoiled ballot papers are dutifully totted up and recorded by electoral officials, and at the same 2015 General Election, some 97,870 spoiled ballots, penile or otherwise, were counted across the country as a whole, less than 1 percent of the total vote. Meanwhile, almost 16 million registered voters simply did not bother to cast their ballot at all, representing around 34 percent of those eligible.

As this caucus of deliberate nonparticipants encompasses more than a third of the total British electorate, a number of campaign groups have sprung up over recent years, such as VoteNone (now apparently defunct), who have argued that those refuseniks who currently fail to vote should be encouraged to register their dissatisfaction by writing the word “NONE,” very clearly, across the entire voting slip as a whole, ideally in their own blood, feces, or vomit, just to really ram the point home.

VoteNone argued that, at present, the nation’s Electoral Commission watchdog body was engaged in a devious plot to obscure the number of intentional protest votes cast by disingenuously reclassifying them all as being “accidentally” spoiled ballots instead. Observe the following example of a voter’s mark taken from the Commission’s official guide to such things (again, reproduced by myself due to the pernicious evils of oppressive copyright law):

It is pretty obvious to any ordinary human that the voter in question did not intend to vote for any candidate whatsoever here, but as he or she happened to write and tick “None of the Above” by hand inside the box next to the name of Mr. Windy Miller, of the Alternative Power Forum, it was to be deemed and counted not as a protest vote but as an accidentally spoiled ballot, on the supposed grounds that the “voter’s intention [was] uncertain” when it clearly was not.

By devious means like this, or by dubiously counting insulting phalluses as substitute crosses, argued VoteNone, the Powers-That-Be had acted to cover up the true scale of disillusion with politics as usual across the nation, thereby disenfranchising millions.

Another part of this Establishment plot may well be that, as per the Registration of Political Parties (Prohibited Words and Expressions) (Amendment) Order 2005, it is actually illegal for any political party to name itself “None of the Above,” or any variant thereof, due to the supposedly immense potential for voter confusion.

However, when the government passed this wicked Statutory Instrument, they did not realize there was a potential loophole to the effect that, if an Independent candidate, with no recognized party affiliation, changed his or her name by deed poll to a similar phrase, then they would be able to be listed on ballot papers.

As such, at the 2010 General Election, former World Light Welterweight boxing champion Terry Marsh stood in the South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency as “Mr. None of the Above X,” whilst in Bristol a café worker named Eric Mutch suddenly became rechristened “Mr. Zero None of the Above.” According to media reports at the time, “the guidance from the Electoral Commission is that Returning Officers do not have the power to reject a nomination paper just because the candidate’s name is frivolous or unlikely-sounding,” hence the later successful election of MPs with equally obviously made-up names like Bim Afolami. Or, indeed, Rishi Sunak.

Vox Unpopuli, Vox Dei
The most logical solution to this disgraceful state of affairs is to get the official printed option of “None of the Above” added to every single ballot paper in the U.K., something that, if very quickly implemented in time for this 4 July, would happily leave us without any elected government at all.

Britain’s current leading campaign organization agitating for just this measure to be taken is None of the Above UK (NOTAUK), whose major success thus far has been persuading the U.K. Green Party to take up this policy as a manifesto commitment: Paradoxically, if, like me, you hate the Greens every bit as much as you do the Tories, Lib Dems, and Labour, you may now have one major reason to vote for them.

NOTAUK’s online “White Paper” on this issue provides several persuasive reasons why “None of the Above” really should be listed on U.K. ballot papers, as it has been elsewhere abroad. In any constituency where “None of the Above” achieves a greater vote total than 50 percent, an immediate second by-election should be triggered, ad infinitum, says NOTAUK, until eventually somebody stands on a platform the disenchanted locals actually approve of.

“An unrepresentative, corrupt and incompetent government to which no feasible alternative exists is never the people’s will,” argues NOTAUK—a line that should immediately be put to Sir Keir Starmer as soon as he wins and begins fraudulently claiming a massive public “mandate” for his own thus far largely hidden policy platform.

Not Even None of the Above
NOTAUK almost sounds worth voting for: except for two problems. Number one, as an officially nonpartisan campaign group, they refuse to place any candidates up for actual election. In fact, in a rather “People’s Front of Judea vs. Judean People’s Front”-type situation, NOTAUK offers the following disclaimer on their website:

For the avoidance of doubt, we are NOT The NOTA Party (aka: Notavote) who were initially planning to stand candidates in 2015 on a supposedly NOTA platform. Their party name was eventually rejected by the Electoral Commission for potentially confusing voters into thinking they would be able to vote for a bona fide NOTA option already, when clearly they would just be voting for another “one of the above.”… Although we understand people’s impatience and appreciate their efforts to draw attention to the need for NOTA, we feel strongly that standing NOTA candidates at an election is a distracting contradiction in terms that leaves our wider, long term, non-partisan campaign vulnerable to being discredited in the eyes of the general public by the many enemies of reform.

In light of this desire to be thought 100 percent nonpartisan, it is strange, then, that, just ahead of the 2024 vote, a second problem should suddenly have arisen: namely, that, for no apparent reason, a vote for None of the Above has abruptly now been redefined as a vote for Hamas instead.

Following the October 7 attacks on Israel last year, NOTAUK’s founder Jamie Stanley began making posts on the organization’s website saying hysterical things like:

There’s a myriad of reasons why it must be possible in a true democracy to formally reject all that’s on offer at an election in a way that can affect the outcome if enough people do so. But the refusal—and/or inability—of an entire country’s political system to even try to stop a blatant “plausible” genocide [supposedly being committed by Israel against Gaza] is surely the most extreme example imaginable…. As things stand, if you vote for any UK party or candidate that isn’t explicitly calling for an immediate end to this genocide, you will effectively be endorsing it. But in the UK, if you don’t vote (assumed apathy), or spoil your ballot in protest (lumped in with those spoiled in error), it makes no difference. Regardless of low turnout or number of spoiled ballots, the party with most votes per constituency, and most parliamentary seats nationally, wins. As if they have a real mandate and the backing of most of the country, even if they don’t. That’s outrageous at the best of times. In the current climate, it’s something else. It’s actually incredibly dangerous.

Up until this point, I was very much on the cusp of agreeing with NOTAUK’s campaign: until I realized that, if I did vote “None of the Above,” I’d actually somehow be voting for Ismail Haniyeh instead.

Incredibly, British politics is now so completely broken that this week I really do want to vote for absolutely None of the Above—not even for None of the Above.


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