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June 04, 2009

Comments

Luis Enrique

"The case for voting lies in symbolic rationality"

I'm sure there's a vast body of work on this, so my ill-informed ideas are probably going to be unoriginal and long since dealt with, but .... it seems to me there are lots of areas in life where we can see we'd all be better off if everybody did X, even though individually once everybody else is doing X, we have no incentive to do so. So it's sensible (if not rational in the strict sense) for us each to follow the rule 'do X' because we know that leads to a better collective outcome. Doing something because it leads to a better collective outcome doesn't sound to me like doing something because it "gives us a warm glow" but perhaps in your view it amounts to the same thing ... so I'm not sure whether I'm arguing that there is a different rationale to voting than the one you say, or whether I'm agreeing with you.

CharlieMcMenamin

It's not bloody symbolic. It's about sending signals. That's all anyone in a voting booth can do - send a signal. None of us can be held responsible for how politicians or the media interpret them.

& whilst I'm a great admirer of your postings I really don't think it is true you can best 'express anti-BNP sentiment on this blog' where you are speaking to what in very large part a audience of broadly like minded people.

Get off your arse and go vote Chris.

Cabalamat

Well said Charlie.

Voting is a civic duty; a citizen should weigh the issues and vote for whoever he thinks is the best option. Since Chris is cleverer than most people, if he doesn't vote he's lowering the average intellgence of voters, and therefore tending to cause the election to have a worse outcome.

It doesn't matter if you have incomplete knowledge, or if the parties haven't made their case well. It's clear that some choices are better than others, so you should choose one of the better ones (at random if need be).

BenP

"So what if the BNP does win a seat or two? "

The BNP are vile racists - fascists and Nazi’s if you scratch the surface of the leadership - whose presence in a locality causes a rise in racist attacks. Electoral success will embolden racists. It’s that simple.

James

Chris, as an avid follower, but not until so far commenter, I am disappointed by your failure to vote. It does matter if the BNP gain a seat or two; they gain funds, they do gain legitimacy, they link up with other similarly minded parties in Europe and that's why they make such a big deal out of it themselves.

Even if you can't find a party from the large selection available that suitably reflects your views (which I for one find hard to believe), it is my view that benefits from rejecting the BNP outwiegh the costs of a party misconstruing your vote for them as support.

Alderson Warm-Fork

I think you have a good case, ignore the vote-mongers in comments.

I especially think that "It's about sending signals. That's all anyone in a voting booth can do - send a signal. None of us can be held responsible for how politicians or the media interpret them" is self-defeating. Once it's granted that voting is just about dispatching a bit or two of 'signal' and then letting others interpret it how they want, not voting makes more sense than voting - who cares if some people will choose to interpret it as apathy, if you meant to send a signal of 'no confidence' in the political elite?

Stuart

Well, I voted for "Roman. Ave!" party. If that's not sending a signal to mainstream parties, I'm not sure what is...

Luis Enrique

Chris,

have seen "what voting signals" from Robin Hanson:

http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/06/what-voting-signals.html

Pol-e-tics

Chris,
You might be interested in this Ticking off politicians and commentators
- my comments on not Euro voting and Iain Dale's misplaced indignation.

Pol-e-tics

Well that URL above didn't work did it?

Let's try again, from my blog 'Ticking off politicians and commentators':

http://pol-e-tics.blogspot.com/2009/06/ticking-off-politicians-and.html

Bob B

S&M: "Many good people are urging me to vote. But I can't feel motivated to do so."

I know that feeling too and couldn't bring myself to vote for any of them yesterday.

New Labourites seem incapable of reaching the obvious insight that all the stuff pouring along the political gutters about Brownites v Blairites relates more to a clash between Personality Cults than to issues of substance. As best I can make out, the greatest contribution that Hazel Blears ever made to the government was her leaving it.

Btw does anyone know whether George Osborne has yet written to Tim Geitner, the US Treasury Secretary, to warn that he is engaged in fiscal insanity with all those boosts to the US economy?

Bob B

Any readers who (perhaps understandably) may still feel a bit unsure about why MPs' expenses should have generated such a fracas may appreciate this illuminating guide published on the BBC website:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7840678.stm

As a statement of the blooming obvious, it appears that the official rules about what were or were not valid expenses for which claims could be made by MPs were rather "vague" and provided much scope for (re)interpretation.

In an important respect, this is rather curious as the rules for expenses in the so-called Green Book date back about five years (as I understand it) so their failings should have been fairly evident for quite a while in any independent inspection. Another curious factor is that the rules in all their vagueness were devised and approved by a congregation of our professional legislators, which can't inspire much confidence on the part of the electorate in the professional competence of their elected legislators. What remains unclear to me is why Gordon Brown should be picked out as especially blameworthy.

Bob B

Update:

By this and several other separate accounts in the media, Gordon Brown's current problems in leading the Labour Party stem from an attempted Blairite coup - which Diane Abbott has described as "premeditated":
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/05/blairite-coup-brown

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