Russell Brand has popularised the view thatvoting is futile. His uncompromising assessment has led to heated debateswithin the political arena – with people queuing up to condemn his ‘anti-democratic’rhetoric. But is it acceptable for the electorate to express theirdisillusionment about the political system by including a ‘prefer not to vote’option?

According to a DailyMail article, 40% of the electorate are undecided as to which political party they will pledge their allegiance to on May 7th.Is there an underlying reason for this?

Many commentators argue that all thepolitical parties have varied and distinctive voices. So how can it be thatten million people still have no clue as to which party they will vote for inless than a week? One opinion couldbe because of how inaccessible politics is – engulfed with jargon, vaguelegislation and constant mudslinging–  it is understandable that people areconfused as to which party deserves their support.

Not to mention U-turns.Political parties have done more U-turns than a lost motorist in London’s rushhour. The Liberal Democrats proposed an abolition of tuition fees, but when theyformed a coalition with the Conservatives tuition fees were increased to £9,000.David Cameron promised to cut net migration in the tens of thousands of pounds; a promisethat has not been adhered to. Labour promised not to cap child benefit, butEd Balls later revealed a future Labour government would cap it to 1%.

Promiseafter promise broken. 

Therefore, with thisin mind, is it unreasonable to dismiss Russell Brand’s view that voting is awaste of time? Surely, a ‘rather not vote’ box, along with a space for commentsto explain their decision could be a valid alternative? It may be pointed out that those who do not wish to vote have no obligation to attended the pollingstation, or they can spoil their ballot paper.

But this does not address thereasons as to why they do this – and does not allow for reform.

Russell Brand,told Jeremy Paxman in a Newsnight interview in October of 2013, “it’s not that I amnot voting out of apathy. I am not voting out of absolute indifference andweariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the politicalclass, that has been going on for generations." He also stated politicians onlyserve “the need of corporations.” It is easy to see his point of view.

I intend to vote onMay 7th – but can sympathise with those who would rather not. Fordemocratic purposes, politicians have to listen to these people and act ontheir concerns. I believe, the ballot paper should also reflect the disillusionment thatsome feel.

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