Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The silence of the public square

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  • blindjackdog, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    When people don’t vote out of laziness or apathy, I have no problem with them being told not to complain. .... the right to abstain as a conscious decision.

    Apathy is a perfectly reasonable response to an uninspiring political culture.

    So it's ok if it's "a conscious decision" but not if it's just basic malaise? Again, apparently one's state of mind dictates whether or not one is a legitimate participant in society.

    Since Nov 2007 • 40 posts Report

  • blindjackdog, in reply to Emma Hart,

    But as a political statement, it’s a very quiet and muddy one.

    So is your precious vote.

    I mean, you may have weighed up all the policy statements of the parties, analysed the likely alliances, considered the polls and perfected an algorithm to help you to optimise your ability to influence the country's likelihood to move in a direction that you favour.

    But the votes you cast reflect all that no more or less than your neighbour's votes reflect his conviction that "Winston keeps them honest" or whatever other inanity he might subscribe to.

    That's the infuriating beauty of it. And I suspect that a lot of the pro-voting rhetoric reflects an obstinate refusal to notice that ridiculous 3-yearly bathos, where months of close attention comes down to this absurd, trifling, seemingly inconsequential little act.

    Since Nov 2007 • 40 posts Report

  • blindjackdog, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But not every election will be like this one, where the centre-left’s search for voters is being aided by a pissed-off millionaire is donating money and charisma to a party/coalition avowedly targeting non-voters of more than one sort....You need a certain confluence of events for non-voting to look like a strategy.

    No, you just need people who are prepared to make shit happen. It's not like a particular niche opened up in an otherwise replete political ecosystem, allowing InternetMana to sneak in. What happened was some people actually used their brains and imaginations and figured out that it's actually possible to shake shit up.

    Sure, Dotcom's money and (in)fame has obviously helped, but still, he chose to do that. Other people have money and fame and influence, but it's seldom put towards political ends. Or they don't know how to connect with people. (Of course, we've yet to see whether InternetMana can actually affect voting demographics, but I'm impressed by the effort.)

    Anyway, I wasn't saying that non-voting is a strategy; I was saying that it's a legitimate form of participation, and that it can be politically consequential. Surely, if you're not voting, someone should be seeking your vote. It's just a reflection of the moribund nature of our politics that it seems alarming to everyone when that actually happens.

    Since Nov 2007 • 40 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to blindjackdog,

    it can be politically consequential

    Just like the last election. If only all those people who stayed home had wanted the government we got, your theory might hold more water.

    Not that I’m insisting everyone should have to vote or that our options for political involvement stop there. Perhaps it’s best to work on some local community action instead? Maybe they have enough on their plate with daily life and politics is just not a priority? Anyway, I’d rather people made an informed choice for themselves rather than felt like they weren’t up to voting, or couldn’t see the point of it - or believed that not voting has the same effect as voting does.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    a Communist League candidate

    Was the vote split due to better resourced Communist Union and Communist Soccer candidates standing?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    ...nominate oneself, spend no other money, seek no publicity, vote for yourself, and see how many other votes you end up with.

    As a control to The Goldsmith Experiment?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

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