I’ve just been to vote. In all honestly, I really didn’t want to. The polling station is literally a two minute walk from my house, but even that seemed like too far to go for such a seemingly pointless task.
I’ve spent most of the day debating in my head whether I would make it to the polling station today. Would I forget? That would be good, then I wouldn’t have to get the sling on, get Ebony in it, find my bag, keys etc and go out into the elements. Plus it’s pointless anyway, right?
Three political parties have been pushing crap through my door for months now. Straight into the recycling it goes, and I feel bad about it. But I’m not interested in any of the three major parties. They’re all the same to me. I have no trust in any of them, and I’m not convinced there would be much difference in them being my councillor. The Tories are saying I must vote for them, the Lib Dems claim to be the only party able to keep the Tories out. And I have no idea what Labour have said, I’m not sure I received much of their propaganda.
Much as I didn’t want to vote for any of the candidates, I did because a voice has been going round and round in my head all day. Yes, maybe I’m not very pleased with our political system at the moment, but at least I am lucky enough to live in a democracy. At least I am lucky enough to have the chance to vote, unlike many people around the world. And with my conscience reminding me of this all day, in the end I had to go down to the polling station.
And I’m glad I did. Not only did a gaggle of old ladies fawn over Ebony and exclaim what a beauty she is, but I also discovered that the BNP are standing in my constituency. And now I’m glad I voted, because even though I don’t feel like I was given a decent choice of parties to vote for, at least my vote will count against the BNP. And that’s really all that matters to me.
I hate the BNP. I grew up in Burnley, you see. Racist little Burnley. Wherever you go in the country, people have heard of Burnley. Because that little town is infamous for the racism. It is awful to come from a place famous for being filled to the brim with hateful bigots.
In 2002, the BNP were campaigning hard in Burnley. Spreading their racist crap through the streets. There is a major road on a bridge in Burnley, and it goes past a tall tower. The BNP put a huge ‘Vote BNP’ banner on the tower. I passed by it everyday and it made me feel so angry and, quite frankly, ashamed to be part of the town. My school friend and I wanted the banner to be taken down, or vandalised. The tower was very tall, and we couldn’t see any way of doing this. But then an arrest was made, a woman had used a paint ball gun to cover the sign from the bridge. At 16, this woman was my hero. What a brave woman willing to get arrested to stand up for her beliefs.
I studied politics at A level, and I researched the women’s suffrage movement for my history project, so I was excited when I turned 18 and could finally take part in the political system. And that’s when I found out, the political system sucks. I had to vote tactically, to make sure the BNP didn’t get the seat.
I must have some kind of homing device to racism, because I have moved numerous times since then, but at each election I have had to vote tactically to keep the BNP out. Why do I always end up in these awful areas? Hateful people, hateful towns, miseducation, misunderstanding. Fascism, racism, inequality. Why must these things be a part of our lives?
I am ashamed to live within a community that has the potential to elect a BNP councillor. But I am proud that I have voted against this.
I mostly wrote this post so that I could share with you the photo, I hope you like it. In 2009, Nick Griffin was invited to appear on Question Time. There was outrage. I watched it with my housemates, and we decided that, using our great political analytical skills, he looked like a turd. And that’s when we came up with our campaign, BiNPoo. The photo explains it all really.