Jeremy Hardy thinks… about voting

'The thing that surprises me is not that Westminster politics are found to be boring, but rather that so many journalists find them so interesting'

December 19, 2013 · 2 min read

It’s no surprise that it was a comedian, Russell Brand, who, rather magnificently, kicked off a discussion about voting. Some of the best-informed, most passionate thinkers are comedians. The thing that surprises me is not that Westminster politics are found to be boring, but rather that so many journalists find them so interesting. But that doesn’t mean parliament is irrelevant. It’s there to be used, like the courts, the media, the internet and the streets.

I doubt that any of the excitement about the more radical musings of Ed Miliband is justified. But I would still like to see him in Downing Street, if only to see the back of the current occupant. I will probably vote Green, or for Left Unity if they stand. I’m in a safe Labour seat, so there’s no risk of my putting a Tory or Lib Dem in. It’s a luxury, I know.

I think the election of a Labour government would give encouragement to genuine radicals, or at least not inhibit them. It won’t be 1997. Labour can only scrape in, with no euphoria and no blind faith in magical electability. Voting for a party doesn’t mean you have to cheer them on while they do things you were condemning a few months earlier, as New Labour’s craven supporters did until they were forced to concede that the chaos and slaughter their leader brought to Iraq was perhaps a step too far.

But if you don’t want to vote, fine; do something else. We need nonviolent direct action. We also need riots. We need lawyers, loud-mouths and dull academics. We need writers, artists, goths and vandals. We need boycotts, strikes and political theatre, however bad. We need reformists and revolutionaries. We need socialists, greens, anarchists, comedians, atheists, theists, poets and statisticians. And if you want a spiritual awakening, have one.


We stand with Jeremy Corbyn

Letter: We stand with Jeremy Corbyn – just as he always stood with us

Organisations and individuals including Kehinde Andrews, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Gillian Slovo, Robert Del Naja and Anish Kapoor urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for Labour

Election 2019: Tackling tech giant tax avoidance

Conrad Bower reports on the main parties’ manifesto promises to address ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance by multinationals like the ‘Silicon Valley Six’

Election 2019: Battle lines drawn in Sheffield Hallam

Sam Gregory of Now Then magazine reports on the candidates vying for votes in a key Lib Dem-Labour marginal


Jo Swinson at the BBC leaders debate

Election 2019: Anti-semitism and phoney solidarity

The faux-concerns from the party’s opponents does little for Jewish people, argues Oscar Leyens

Another World is Possible

Election 2019: The end of neoliberalism in sight?

If elected, the next Labour government can finally depart from the neoliberal consensus and deliver a major shift in wealth and power, argues Adam Peggs

Small change

Simon Hedges shares his famous-on-Twitter analysis of the state of the left today