Ten years on, I could write almost exactly the same essay again... - except for two things. One, I would be far less kind to both the Lib Dems and UKIP than I was a decade ago. And two, I would raise the question: "Who do I vote for to get all the bureaucrats sacked with their pensions cancelled, and all the politicians lined up and shot?")
On the fifth day, of the fifth month, of the fifth year, of the century that would have been the fifth if the calendar had started in 1601, every adult in the islands called Britain is invited to take part in a charade. That charade is called a general election. It's that time of the decade again, when the politicians offer us a chance to rubber-stamp their system. They ask us to select, from among a field of candidates, which best represents our views. Such selections, totted up in more or less complicated ways, are to determine which of two (or perhaps three) criminal gangs is to be granted licence to rule over us against our wills for the next four or five years.
Democracy, say the pundits, brings power to those who represent the will of the majority. Oh, yeah? Let's look at the record. Last time this charade took place, in June 2001, just 24 per cent of eligible voters voted for Labour. 76 per cent of us didn't. 40 per cent of us – only one per cent less than Labour and Tory voters put together – did the honourable thing, and refused to engage in the farce. Did the will of the majority prevail? Not a chance. The lying, thieving gang that call themselves Labour were awarded another licence of all but absolute power to bully and rob us all.
Looking back at Labour's propaganda from 2001, you can see coming some of the crap they have thrown at us in the last several years. You can sense the glee with which they looked forward to wasting more, and more, and more of our money. You can see them limbering up to clobber us with enviro taxes and regulations. With hindsight, you can snigger at their lies about improving quality of life or helping businesses of all sizes. Though I myself, a victim of IR35 – Labour's cynical attempt to ruin my career and the careers of tens of thousands of other honest, productive, one-man business people – am more likely to snarl than to snigger.
And yet, there is much bad that Labour have done, which they didn't bother to warn us about. There was no mention of starting a war. There was no mention of their accelerating destruction of our civil liberties, although that had started before 2001. There was no mention of banning smoking in public.
So, what do B-Liar and its minions have to offer me this time round? My family better off? I don't have a family. My children with the best start? I don't have any children. My community safer? I don't feel any sense of community in bloody Britain today. All Labour can deliver is the same crap as before. More lies, more spin, more taxes, more wasting of the wealth they steal from us, more bureaucracy, more new "crimes,” more senseless laws and more police to enforce them, more violations of basic human rights like privacy, more destruction of liberty.
What of the most obvious alternative, the Tories? I confess that, twenty years ago, the Tories had me fooled. I was stupid enough to vote for them in 1983 and 1987. But I know better now.
What do the Tories offer this time round? A few good-sounding things. One, lower taxes – they have even been talking about possibly repealing IR35, though I'm not holding my breath. However, they still want to spend more. How can that add up? Two, ending "Blair's war on the motorist.” Nice idea, but a bit rich coming from the party that started that war in the first place!
And although (at last) rejecting the EU constitution and the euro, the Tories still want Britain to remain in the European Union. What, then, will they do whenever the EU orders them to do something that contradicts their manifesto?
And there is a strong whiff of the jack-boot about many Tory policies, like school discipline, more police, more immigration controls and a US-style homeland security minister. Furthermore, they supported, at the time, the war in Iraq. And I get a sense that some of them, at least, are eager for more military adventures.
But the worst thing about the 2005 Tories isn't in the headlines. To find it, you have to dig a little deeper. And, when I found it, I almost collapsed in horror. For the Tories have gone green. Not only have they gone green, but they crow about it! They want to "show leadership on climate change.” They even re-cycle green slogans. My local Tory candidate sent out a letter headed "National vision, local action.” Or was that "Think globally, act locally"?
I want you to think, hard, about the effects your vote will have, if you choose to vote for either Labour or the Tories. Will innocent people be harmed by the policies of those you vote for? Do they deserve that harm? What will those victims think of you, when they find out what you voted for?
If you vote for a political party that is currently in power, you are endorsing its record. You are saying, I like what they have done, and I want more of the same. If you vote for Labour, then, you are signalling your acceptance of their culture of lies, spin and invasive regulation. You are approving their destruction of civil liberties, and their use of terrorism as a lame excuse for it. You are rubber-stamping their war in Iraq, and accepting a share of the responsibility for all the deaths it has caused. You are expressing your support for banning fox-hunting, and for banning smoking in public. You are sanctioning their tapping of our e-mails. You are asking for compulsory ID cards. You are condoning their ever increasing theft of our earnings. You are approving their waste of our wealth, and their bureaucracy. You are applauding their arrogance and their treating us like naughty children or lower life-forms.
If you vote for Labour, you are also committing an aggression against me personally. For you are endorsing IR35. You are saying, it's OK, even good, for politicians to cynically destroy my career. You are, in essence, punching me in the face. What do you think my reaction to you will be, if I ever see you in need or in trouble?
If you vote for Labour, you're either stupid or evil. You're either so damn stupid that you don't understand what Labour are doing to good people, or so damn evil that you actively approve of it. Either way, you aren't my fellow human being.
So, what if you pick the Tories instead? Not much difference there. If you vote Tory, you are endorsing not only their current policies, but also what they did in their last spell in power up to 1997. Don't forget that it was the Tories that first made the environment into a political football. Don't forget that the Tories started the witch-hunt against our cars. Don't forget that the Tories screwed up the railways and the education system. Don't forget that, just eight years ago, so many people were so fed up with the Tories that even B-Liar looked like a better option.
And, now they have swallowed the green gospel whole, a vote for the Tories is also a vote for the Big Lie of our time. That is, the idea that human activities are causing runaway global warming (or is it cooling?), which must be stopped by draconian measures. The political establishment are using this climate-change Big Lie as an excuse to suffocate our Western civilization. If you vote for the Tories, you are – as well as buying more police, more immigration controls and the rest – buying the Big Lie. If you vote Tory, you're stupid, and you're hostile to my civilization. And that means you're hostile to me.
So, what of the third lot, that call themselves the Liberal Democrats? They have never had power at national level, so we can't judge them on that record. They do, however, have power at the local level in many places, including where I live. And it's a mess. Their favourite pastimes right now are, one, sending out garishly coloured flyers congratulating themselves on how wonderful they are. And two, closing off key roads for weeks on end to install chicanes and speed-bumps on them.
What of their national policies? They talk of a "green backbone" to all their policies. They have big tax and spend plans. They favour more re-distribution of wealth. They talk a lot of crap about communities. They treat the National Health Service as if it was a god. They favour the EU super-state. They, too, want more police and are anti-car. There are a few small pluses, like their opposition to ID cards and to war in Iraq. But overall, I don't see a big difference between the third lot and either Labour or the Tories. If you vote for them, you're stupid, and you're not any fellow of mine.
So there you have the three so-called major parties. There you have the three criminal gangs that alone have any realistic chance of forming the next government in Britain. Labour, corrupt, thieving and authoritarian, and green underneath. The Tories, corrupt, authoritarian and green, and – despite mouthing about lower taxes – still thieving underneath. And the third lot, green and thieving, and no doubt as corrupt and authoritarian as the others underneath. Add a tinge of racism in each of them – more than a tinge, in the case of the Tories – and there you have your choice.
Choice? What choice? Whichever of the three major parties wins the election, taxes will continue to go up and up, and freedom, the general tone of society and the quality of life will continue to slide down and down. No-one who values liberty, honesty or earned prosperity can vote for any of them.
If you really feel you have to vote, what other alternatives do you have? There are, of course, the extreme greens. But their policies are depraved. The Big Lie of climate change is a central plank in their platform. They are actively against earned wealth. They talk of "reducing our burden on the planet" and "tackling the root causes of demand for mobility.” This is a radical, anti-human agenda. If you care so little about human beings that you want to forcibly impose such policies on us, you don't qualify as human.
Then there is the United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP for short. At first sight, UKIP seems a different and better animal than the rest. They do not, so they say, see themselves as politicians. They are against "ill-conceived intrusive regulation, supposedly to protect our environment, to ensure our health and safety… and to protect us from terrorism.” They say No to "the culture of paperwork, performance targets and spin.” They say No to political correctness. They want "to turn back the culture of regulation and to strive for smaller government.” They are not actively anti-car. They understand the problems, which are stopping very many people (including me) from saving for our own pensions.
But UKIP's main policy, which drives all others, is for Britain to leave the European Union. I can agree with this, though I go further. I would like to see the EU dismantled. My recipe for a Europe worth living in is, open all the borders, sack all the bureaucrats, and pillory all the politicians.
For a few days after I read their manifesto, I thought I might vote for UKIP, assuming of course they have a candidate in my area. For me, a conscientious non-voter of 18 years' standing, this would have been a radical decision. But a few days' contemplation convinced me that voting UKIP wasn't for me. For three reasons. One, though they favour smaller government, their world-view is still top-down, of a state ruling over people, rather than bottom-up, of free individuals voluntarily forming a government to defend themselves. Two, I don't know them well enough to know what I would be getting into. Three, they're not going to win this election anyway.
Next, the British National Party, or BNP. The media tell us that they are neo-Nazi racists. But anyone whose right to freedom of speech is under attack from the political establishment deserves at least some sympathy. If we let them destroy the BNP's freedom of speech today, it will be my freedom of speech that is in danger tomorrow, and yours the day after.
That said, the BNP and other right-wing fringe parties do not interest me. I am not into either racism or nationalism. I see people as individuals, and therefore find it odd, to say the least, for anyone to try to use skin colour as a reason to discriminate against (or for) them. Only how they behave matters.
And I have come to find the idea of nationalism increasingly ridiculous. Most of all when those, that support political policies designed to harm me, try to make out that because of their nationality or residence they have a claim on my resources or energies when they are in need. I find it absurd that, because I was born in Leatherhead, I am expected to feel a comradeship for someone born in Caernarfon or Edinburgh, which I am not expected to feel for someone born in Adelaide, Chicago, Rotterdam or Sofia. I might as well be expected to feel fellowship for someone just because they were born in the same week as I was. (The comparison is apt. For I was born in the same week as B-Liar).
Those, for whom I feel fellowship, are those who are on my side. My fellows are those who, over the long run, benefit me and strive to benefit me, and those who share my values. My kind of community will cherish individual freedom, common-sense justice (the idea that individuals deserve to be treated as they treat others), economic productivity, striving for excellence, honesty and desire for truth. No community, of which I could feel a part, would even admit any of today's lying, thieving, bullying politicians as members.
I will pass quickly over the two parties I call Triveas and St. Creep, that are no more than show-offs for two limelight-craving individuals. And I will end my survey with my friends at the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.
Now Howling Laud Hope, unlike all the other party leaders, does something for people. He serves beer. A few years ago, I visited his party headquarters, which is a long day's walk from my home. I received a couple of pints from his very own hand, and had an hour's good conversation with one of his South African supporters.
I am amused by some of the Loony policies. I particularly enjoyed the one about changing the day from 24 to 32 hours, so pubs could be open longer. (It would bring lots of work for us software people, too!) But I do not feel that a Loony vote would be sensible or constructive, even if it was available in my particular bailiwick.
So, I won't be voting on May 5th. I shall continue my 18-year honourable record of loyalty to Nobody. And I think you should be doing the same. Stay home, go to the pub, do what you want. But don't go near that voting booth.
I have a truth to tell you, which many will find uncomfortable. Democracy has failed. Today's so-called democratic government does not represent the will of the people, or even the will of the majority (if such things existed). It only represents the wills of the politically rich – those that benefit from the existence of a large, active state. It only represents the bullies, thieves and liars that get their kicks out of ruling over people, as harshly as they can get away with. The rest of us are politically poor. We are oppressed, exploited and unrepresented.
The failure of democracy is part of a much larger failure – the failure of politics as a whole. The top-down system of organizing human societies, which has been in place for 3,000 years and some, has reached the end of its road. The hell we are living through today is its death-throes.
Don't get me wrong. Don't call me an anarchist, who doesn't want any government at all. Government is a regrettable necessity. But government need not – should not – be political. It should not take sides. It should be for the benefit of every good human being who has chosen to give his consent to it. It should not have overarching policies to save the world or anything else. It should not try to force people into a mould. In the words of John L. O'Sullivan, that government is best which governs least.
There is reason for hope on May 5th. Only 60 per cent of eligible voters turned out in 2001. We have reason to hope that, this time, the turn-out will be lower. A turn-out under 50 per cent, I think, would be a major watershed. It would be a strong signal from the moral majority that we don't like or want the politicians and their evil activities.
Where might we go from there? How could we replace the sham of political democracy with something to make government work for all good people? In the short term, I think we need to move to a system where people are governed by their own kind of people. Where individuals know that those who govern them share their values, and are on their side.
One rough-and-ready way this might be accomplished is to allow each party's voters to be ruled, in day-to-day matters at least, by a government of that party. Labour voters, for example, could have what they voted for: lies, spin, re-distribution and wasting of wealth (their wealth this time, not ours) and no civil liberties. Meanwhile, Tory voters can have their school discipline and more police, and can sit back and enjoy the lies about climate change. Better yet, those of us who are non-political, and favour liberty, prosperity and honesty, can have a government that does nothing beyond what government ought to do – defend us good people against the bad ones. The different governments would, of course, have to co-operate in certain areas – notably military defence.
Longer term, what we need to do is actually quite easy. Just tell the truth as we see it. For when good people come to understand that politics and politicians are the root causes of most of our evils today, their minds will turn. We must help them turn the top-down, political view of society that has been foisted on them throughout their lives, into a bottom-up, individual view. We must help them learn to value individual rights – like liberty, property, privacy, freedom of speech and association – and to shoulder individual responsibilities – like economic productivity, non-aggression, striving for justice, honesty and respect for others' rights.
The way to get rid of wars, terrorism, racism, bullying, political lies, re-distribution of wealth, real environmental damage and the other evils of our age is to get rid of politics. Politics has passed its last-use-by date. It is time we took it off the shelf, and dropped it in the bin. An important step towards that is for many good people to unite in a resounding NO! to the politicians and their politically rich hangers-on.
By refusing to vote on May 5th, you can do your bit to help. Thank you.