I’m spoiling my ballot and you should too

Sod you and your poxy referendum, Dave


It’s been an unpleasant past few months in British politics, hasn’t it? Marginally more so than usual, in fact. The EU Referendum, that thing looming so menacingly in the distance throughout it all, is now so tantalisingly close. It’s next Thursday, it’s June 23rd – it’s in two days’ time.

However you’d be forgiven for not having come to a decision yet, even with all the time in the world to do so. Both sides’ official campaigns – RemaIN and Vote Leave – have spent the campaign trail in a moral race to the bottom. They’ve cherry-picked figures, tried scaring voters into supporting them and in some cases, such as Leave’s £350million-per-week figure, even just outright lied despite having been called out on it many, many times.

And then there’s the personalities that have crawled out of the woodwork to endorse both sides. Nigel “rivers of blood” Farage, Boris “oh God don’t let him be PM” Johnson and Michael “teacher’s pet” Gove for Leave. David “oh God you let him be PM” Cameron, George “the magical disappearing budget” Osborne and Owen “more champagne than socialist” Jones for RemaIN. Even Labour have shat the bed, with traditionally Eurosceptic leftie Corbyn making a rare backtrack on his views, in the interests of political expediency. Nobody is getting out of this unscathed (except maybe Dennis Skinner).

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Despite the fact that there have been sound arguments for both sides from other corners – such as spikeds more humanist pro-Brexit case – it’s hard to shake the sense that a vote for either side is tacitly a vote for whichever pack of horrible bastards are also backing it. BoJo doesn’t care about Brexit, but if you do you’re helping him to Number 10. You, the voter, are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Or are you? What if there was a third option? An alternative vote that says “fuck your Tory psychodrama, I’m having nothing to do with it”?

Spoil your ballot – don’t just stay at home and let the vote pass you by, go out and make a statement. Tell them that you won’t be lumped in with the “apathetic youth demographic” who don’t bother to turn up to vote, but that you took time out of your day to go in, get your ballot and tell them all to do one with it. A missed vote isn’t a vote for either – a spoilt vote is a vote for neither.

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Referenda should only be called for changing our own system of government, not for this nonsense. You don’t have to be any particular political persuasion to agree with that statement, PMs from Atlee to Thatcher have derided them as “the tools of despots and dictators”. We live in a parliamentary democracy, and you elected these people to vote on your behalf and to make informed decisions based on a sound understanding of the wider social, historical and economic contexts that it is unreasonable to assume the man on the Clapham omnibus would possess.

Instead, the powers-that-be have decided to play their games on a national stage, with you as the unwitting punter helping them towards their goals. They assume you are either a frothing racist who fears the hordes of dirty refugees about to cross the Channel and lower your house prices, or else you are the political equivalent of an abused spouse – “sure the EU’s bad sometimes”, they say, “but wouldn’t it be so much easier to just stay with them? Maybe you can even make them change?”

They don’t care about you or – particularly relevant to us exciting young people – our futures. And if they won’t even pretend to care about your problems, why should you go in on Thursday on behalf of theirs?

Spoil your ballot. Sure, it’s almost certain that Leave or Remain will win, but whatever happens afterwards you can say you washed your hands of the whole mess when it started.