The Slog proposes a campaign to install rejection as a citizen’s right on all voting slips
I was presented with an opportunity earlier this week that one could only call unique. It’s an overused word, unique. The whole point about it is that unique = one only. And yes, I know that ‘we are all unique’ these days, but beyond the physical genetics involved, the vast majority of humans are about as unique as a Bogan in Queensland.
But this really was a unique chance. As in, going to the home of a Tupperware agent and selling them Avon cosmetics they don’t want.
We were departing the monster Tesco in Dorchester on our way to Sussex, and there it was: a sign. In large letters on the side of a building opposite the hypermarket, it announced that this was The Jehovah’s Witness Hall. It might just as well have said Pester Power HQ.
I have long harboured a fantasy about attending a double-glazing industry seminar, and spending three days ringing every delegate’s room (after 10 pm) with the news that they have been specially selected for free installation of a wind-turbine on the roof. Or working the room at coffee breaks with the promise of free credit until 2082 if they sign up for ten solar panels on the car bonnet now.
But I never expected the prospect of similar revenge to drop unprompted into my lap. Here was the chance to have a long and circular discussion about something utterly stupid, and waste at least one hour of a Jehovver Boy’s time. Or maybe post forty copies of Atheism Now through their letter box.
Mrs Slog couldn’t quite understand why I was pointing like a five year-old and shouting “Stop! Turn right! Turn right!” because she is nice to everyone, and thus can’t see what all the fuss is about when it comes to The Witnesses. Also we were already late for lunch. But most importantly, I realised I didn’t have it in me to talk about the meaning of minus one times nought for an hour.
And I suppose that’s what you have to be made of. If, that is, you fancy a career in double glazing or witnessing. Or politics.
The reasons why we didn’t ditch our main polticial Parties years ago are myriad – gerrymandering, media moguls, busy-bodies with blue-rinse hair, futile optimism and so forth – but I suspect the main one is that most of us have a life. We don’t have either the time or inclination to bore the backside off other folks.
Most ordinary citizens are the same people collared by solar panel salespeople and religious nutters. And thanks to dementia, inebriation, apathy or all these qualities, they see little difference between the determined face staring through the window, and the equally persistent face on the TV screen. Because in essence they are exactly the same: repetitive, incredible, invasive, irrelevent and misinformed.
There are 128,000 active Jehovah’s witnesses in the UK, and roughly 18 million households. So with 365 days in the year, your average home is going to get three visits per annum from the men and women of the Watchtower. They should give up on their quest right now, and here’s why: David Cameron appears on our tellies at least twice a day, and still nobody believes in him.
But people who believe – and want us to believe too – will never give up, and never stop talking. They will never stop doing interviews, sending leaflets, knocking on doors, writing blogs (touche), giving speeches and sounding plausible, because wittering on about how the Bible is a sort of religious BBC, everyone is highly intelligent really – and bankers have nothing to apologise about – is infinitely preferable to conducting an empirical test to show how irreversibly, unquestionably and unequivocally wrong they are.
The Bible is a series of morality fables and exaggerations produced by the fact that there was no CNN or Sky News back then. And the Tory, Labour and LibDem Parties offer a series of polemics – Free market globalism, political correctness and EU enthusiasm – whose tenets are, quite obviously, bunk.
But here’s the important parallel: the way to be left alone by salespeople is to put them in spam, have a filter fitted to your phone, and put a sign on your door saying ‘no thankyou’. In short, don’t engage.
I think we should apply this principle to our Estalishment Parties, but not in a way suggesting apathy: we need the sign saying ‘no thankyou’.
I’ve slogged endlessly on the need for a proper, coordinated Resistance both on the ground and on the internet – and I’m very grateful to the people who sent me in a series of excellent principles and ideas about what they see as a better alternative to the system we have now. It all needs unifying somehow, but not in the standard ‘Party discipline’ way that devolves all power upwards to the Executive.
Above all at the moment, it needs an action focus. And as a precursor to the positive presentation of an alternative to be tested, it needs a strong message to the deaf occupants of the ivory silo that they aren’t wanted on voyage.
So here’s my suggestion: let’s all get behind one key objective of the Electoral Reform Society (ERS). This is its desire to have, on every voting slip, ‘None of the Above’.
I suggest this for four reasons:
1. It will produce a statistic which can then never be denied or explained away. (They will try, but it’s not possible).
2. It sends an unequivocal message: we don’t want ANY of you.
3. It is a principle upon which, by definition, all true reformers with a genuine desire for a better future can agree.
4. The demonstration of this power will act as a positive encouragement to those who doubt that an alliance of people – those who reject globalist, bourse and bank capitalism with just as much vehemence as they deplore the idea of centralist State socialism and Thought Control – can be a game-changing political force in the UK.
In a way, this alliance might bear some resemblance to the Tea Party. But my own objection to the TP is that (based on what I’ve seen of the candidates and read in their literature) it is a fundamentally backwards-looking, reactionary and pretty madcap bunch of not very bright people. This really isn’t what Britain needs: we already have those in the BNP and UKIP. (Cue shoal of emails and threads telling me how wrong I am).
Anyway, before we get bogged down in nuance, what I’m after is the level of interest in going for (and then coordinating a campaign to get) the constitutional right to reject all the candidates on a voting slip.
Who’s up for it, and how do we start? Now there’s something other than cancellations, cake and chaos to think about over Christmas.
Have a good one.