Friday, 16 April 2010
Voting: an interesting conundrum
If I have certain principles, and those principles lead me to adopt a particular ideological position, and if that ideological position is better embodied by one political party rather than another one, does that mean I am committed to voting for that party whatever the situation because the other parties are not founded on the kind of principles that lead to the ideological position that is embodied by one particular party rather than another one?
So, if I have such a commitment does it mean that whatever the position of the other parties on this or that individual issue, I will not be voting for them because they are not founded on the kind of principles that lead to... embodied... etc?
And, given that, is any argument from any of those other parties likely to sway me in my commitment? Would it be possible for another party to come up with something so attractive, on a single issue, or two, or three, that it would lead me to switch my vote?
If truly not, then am I wasting time reading manifestos, accounts of manifestos, newspaper op-eds, weighing personalities, potential holders of offices and all the rest - and should I just short-circuit the whole process by giving all that a miss?
In other words, would it, in a philosophical sense, be possible for me to vote Nick Clegg or David Cameron?
Note it is not that I need specific reasons for not voting Nick Clegg or David Cameron, or indeed Gordon Brown, or, (indeed) any other figure who might head the party I might be considering voting for at a local level since I would not, in practice, be voting for Nick Clegg, David Cameron or Gordon Brown but for my local representative, candidate X, even while being committed to the party to which I have been committed, fully aware of the fact that my vote will not change the fact that the party opposite will carry the seat.
I know it sounds very complicated - but it is simply the question of the swing voter. On what grounds am I voting if not principle? Embodiment of principle? Specific, smaller aspects of principle in practice? Whether I like the idea of higher / lower national insurance? The state of Gordon Brown's teeth? The sound of his voice?
So why I am looking at David Cameron, thinking he looks a bit beaky and prissy, or Gordon Brown thinking he is slowly metamorphosing into a human rhinoceros, or Nick Clegg, thinking, Holy Smoke, Boy Wonder, great hand gestures, perfect address to camera, time to leap into the Batmobile?
Most people I know already know who they will vote for. End of story. No argument will shift them. So is that it? Could I go Green? Could I vote for Boy Wonder? Should I join the Bullingdon Club as a lowly chauffeur? Would it be logical?
A case for Inspector Geras.
Och. Let's do some poetry next.