The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Those voting outside of the box are the overall winners

Election Analysis


Sean Mc Aughey • 11 May 2005

It is not surprising for the electorate in the North of Ireland, where for many the "ink" is still drying on the ballot papers, that the media remains saturated with party political number crunchers, spin doctors and reps, all holding to the same theme - we won. The party faithful from all political parties, armed with self serving stats and slants, are bombarding the electorate with claims on the latest victory and, if all are to be believed, it is an incredible election with no losers.

Therefore, I lay a victory claim on behalf of the victor and this landslide victory in the recent NI elections. The victor has consistently refused to stand up and be counted and it is essential that by the self appointed authority I now bestow upon myself that I hereby declare the winner of the NI Westminster and Council elections 2005 as the stay away, the vanished, the non "big four party" voter and the voters who spoil their vote as the overall winner.

As a self appointed spokesperson also for the "stay away et al voter" I might say we are also delighted with the poor quality of political choice leading to the turnout of the NI electorate (about 63%). Indeed, it is a turnout or not turnout depending on how you view democracy that clearly demonstrates that the non vote and spoiled vote has surpassed all the other established big four parties.

The stay away voter, non big four voter, the vanished 50,000+ and about 6,000 spoilt votes accounts for more than 48% of the eligible electorate which places this electoral group in pole position. An enviable position that falls about 7% short of the combined votes cast for three of the victorious parties, Sinn Fein, the Social Democratic and Labour Party and the Ulster Unionist Party, but surpasses any 2 of the above parties combined vote.

Undoubtedly, the "stay away et al party" is the winner in numerical terms but their self defeating abstention policy manifests in a forfeit of 11+ Westminster seats and 300+ council seats to the less popular minority political parties. It is also an outcome which leaves the grand 'stay away' and 'non big four' vote victory as a source of ridicule and criticism.

The 2005 vanishing eligible voters from the NI register i.e 50,000 + missing (accounted for at the 2001 Westminster and Council elections) are regarded as an unsolvable mystery, end of story. The spoiled votes are described as 'a stupid or baffled electorate who cannot cope intellectually with 2 election ballot papers' and the stay away voters are accredited with apathy: the 'don't cares' and 'why bother' voter.

Many stay away et al voters are protest voters. Their protest varies and at times ranges as a polar opposite to the other. Few if any of this group is baffled by the ballot paper, the number crunching or the spin. The stay away et al are far from voiceless — they are shouting loud and clear. The politicians are writing them off, spinning them out or crunching them up, when they should be listening.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

11 May 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Always the Centre Ground
Anthony McIntyre

Those Voting Outside the Box are the Overall Winners
Sean Mc Aughey

Voting Respect
John Devine

Stand Down or Deliver
Paul A Fitzsimmons

Testing Free Speech in America
M. Shahid Alam

Whither Disorder?
Colin Kalmbacher

6 May 2005

Voting Bobby Sands
Anthony McIntyre

Ruritanian Mockney State
Mick Hall

It's a Dirty Job
Brian Mór

Fred A Wilcox



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