The Left’s Electoral Dilemma: Vote With Your Conscience Or Vote For the “Lesser Evil”?

Posted 7 years ago

We’ve got to vote for the “lesser of two evils” and keep the Tories out, right?

More fool the person who gives their vote to the evil man with the biggest smile.

Come on people. We’re better than this. Every general election we have this ridiculous farcical debate about the “lesser of two evils”, “gotta keep the Tories out”, “Labour’s the only way”, “got no choice coz of the voting system”.

That’s not democracy and that’s not choice. Let’s be real. A vote for Labour is a vote for the Tories – just a different colour. The debate plays into the hands of the establishment elites because it means “choice” is confined to a very narrow spectrum that people have been scared to go beyond.

If we want to build a more progressive future we cannot endorse the establishment that causes the problems. If our vote is supposed to represent an expression of our democratic freedom, take a moment to ponder whether those who fought and died for such rights would vote for the austerity and inequality offered by Labour and the Conservatives.

Indeed, what right is it at all to vote to be slapped by someone in red instead of punched by someone in blue?

Whether Blue Tory, Red Tory or Orange Tory the net result is effectively the same: full and unconditional support for the state-corporate-military-banking nexus; austerity; cuts; war and neo-imperialism; privatisation; neo-liberal capitalism gone berserk; Nato subservience; support for trident; support for and arms deals with terror regimes such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE; structurally maintained principle of profit before people; exorbitant tuition fees for higher education (Labour introduced top up fees after pledging they wouldn’t) etc. There may be superficial presentational differences but they represent the same elite interests. We cannot sell our soul to the false promise of change via the Red Tories. Have we not learnt the lessons of Blair and Obama?

There might (though not from a systemic revolutionary perspective) have been an argument for voting Labour pre-1994 (before the removal of “clause 4”) and maybe even before 1997. But since then the negligible differences between the main parties are not enough to hold us all hostage to fear.

Heed the words of New Labour high priest Peter Mandelson when he said “We are all Thatcherite now”. The main 3 parties have all subscribed to the same ideological consensus.

Interestingly, Labour came into power in the early 1900’s as a result of people voting with their principle and ignoring the pleas of Liberals to vote “tactically”. Labour has now, of course, become a central pillar of the establishment and abandoned their historical roots. They should be abandoned too. It is difficult not to become cynical at the parliamentary political process, but thankfully politics and democracy is far more than just an x in a box every 5 years. Indeed that may be one of the least important forms of political participation. But while the theatre of mainstream mendacity continues, we should use the vestigial electoral democratic power we have to vote for that which most closely represents our views, or spoil our ballots.

The ‘democratic system’ traps us by compelling us to endorse its power. But choice, real choice, is not determined by the powerful establishment for its own self-perpetuating interests. We can choose to go beyond the limited parameters of neo-colonial state-corporate austerity slavery.

We should not be forced into voting for Labour through fear. Especially when they represent the same extremist ideology and elite interests, but wear the disingenuous clothes of change and sing the spurious songs of progress.

Lest we forget the false hope of Blair and Obama; both of whom will be judged by history as neo-liberal, mass murdering ideologues, yet neither of whom were characterized as such prior to coming to power. Miliband is cut from the same establishment cloth.

Eduardo Galeano once wrote “The words uttered by power are not meant to express its actions but to disguise them.” Don’t be fooled yet again by the allure of PR and propaganda.

It’s astounding that in the run up to each election we are presented with this same pseudo-dilemma of having to choose the lesser evil. Frankly, we might ask the opinion of the 1 million dead Iraqis what they think of a Labour government. But of course they can no longer tell us, thanks to the “lesser” evil.

But still we hear the cries of “we gotta keep the Tories out” “Ed’s gotta be better than Cameron”! Do we really think he’ll be better?! There’s a presentational phrase that the Labour PR machine loves to use, which is worth borrowing. “Look, ya know, let’s be clear” if people think a pro-austerity, pro-corporate, pro-Nato/military, pro-hyper capitalist, self-confessed Zionist will represent a change from the status quo, then our idea of democratic choice is one big joke; and it’s at our expense.

But the electoral tyranny is starting to crumble. With the distrust and disillusionment of the main 3 parties and the Scottish spirit for change, we are presented with new opportunities. No longer can the 2 party dictatorship command an outright majority. The edifice of elite electoral power is beginning to fall apart. So rather than use your vote to uphold the faltering establishment, use it to help precipitate change.

We deserve better than Red, Blue, or Orange Tories. Change cannot come by supporting a flaw in an electoral system that rewards the prettiest mainstream monster. Be brave and use your democratic right as a step towards change. Vote with your conscience or spoil your ballot. Send a message of change not continuation.

What state of our “democracy” in the 21st century that we clamour for the crumbs at the same establishment table and call it progress?

We can do better than this.