Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mark Steel on the Election

[We should]... see democracy as more than just a vote. Many of the great changes such as civil rights in America or the dismantling of apartheid took place because millions expressed their discontent, and not just at election time. An international movement against poverty and war is developing, and from this new organisations may emerge.

That process can be encouraged in this election. The only signs of enthusiasm have been for candidates expressing the aspirations of that movement. While in most areas few can be motivated to even display a window poster, in Brighton there are thousands of posters for the Green candidate. In London, Respect holds daily meetings* on council estates, at which dozens of people lean from the balconies to take part. I wonder if people run through housing estates yelling, "Mum, Keith, Dave, come quick or you'll miss Geoff Hoon."

There are many ways of voting without rewarding Blair or Howard. There are anti-war Labour MPs, credible independents, the Scottish Socialist Party, the Greens and Respect. I would rather vote for the Liberal Democrats than a pro-war servant of New Labour. Your vote can't be misinterpreted, and you don't have to walk home from the polling booth feeling sullied.

The original is here, but you need to pay to see it.

*Just in case any pedants are reading this - the original appears to read 'Respects hold daily meetings', and I've altered this printing error. Steel clearly means 'Respect holds daily meetings'.

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