Sunday, 17 April 2016

Think Twice: Why you should definitely vote on the EU referendum

Recently, Rupert Read claimed in the Green European Journal that we should spoil our ballot papers when we come to cast our votes in the EU referendum on 23rd June, or not vote at all: http://www.greeneuropeanjournal.eu/voteneither-how-you-can-help-both-sides-to-lose-this-pointless-referendum/#comment-152475

I believe this notion to be an incorrect argument-here is why:

1. Spoiling your ballot paper or boycotting votes achieves nothing. In elections and referendums, whatever the choice, you should always vote even if the best choice is not always available, so that you can make your voice heard. All spoiling ballot papers actually does is waste time, and boycotting votes is just as ineffective in practice. I instead advise that if you have a right to vote in elections, you should use it to achieve what you believe in or at least the best possible outcome.

2. We can make a difference in the EU membership referendum. It is true that Cameron's planned negotiations over British membership of the EU are clearly only designed to benefit his interests and those of British elites, and not us. We however can use this referendum to demand better EU reforms ourselves-the European Union is in great need of internal and external reform and it needs to be much less controlling and intrusive.

3. This referendum is long overdue and we need to make our votes matter. Only very rarely does Britain get the opportunity for direct democracy of any type (unlike Switzerland or Ireland), and this EU membership referendum is one of these. With so much having happened in the 41 years since the last EU membership referendum was held in the UK (back when it was actually the European Economic Community, or EEC) we must use this opportunity to decide Britain's next course of action, and make the will of the British people imprinted in EU history.

So instead of spoiling your ballot paper, do cast your vote in the EU membership referendum on 23rd June, whether your circumstances and values lead you towards voting for Remain or towards votin for a Brexit. And make your own informed choice about this matter-this crucial vote must belong to we, the people, not to the media, not political elites, not business leaders, or anyone but us.

Alan.

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