Spoil Your Vote

This morning at 07:00 Paul Murphy TD was taken into custody by six members of an Garda Siochana in relation to protests that occurred three months ago in Jobstown, Tallaght.

During that protest Tanaiste Joan Burton TD and her staff were delayed and intimidated by local residents:

Allegations brought against him included false imprisonment of the Labour Party leader and a file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Protesters from the community are beginning to appear in jails around the capital. This bully-boy strategy is the first in a creeping authoritarianism that has established itself within the main structure of our democracy.

The Executive (ie Enda Kenny, Michael Noonan, Joan Burton and Brenden Howlin) between them exert supreme power over the Irish State. Their decisions affect what we do, how much money we make, and essentially how happy we are.  They can choose whether to deprive us of our liberty or our wealth, depending on the climate of the day.

It occurred to me the other day that the truest most non-violent form of protest of all is that which involves the nullification of one’s national poll sheet.

Instead of marking my 1, 2, 3 preferences like I have done since the beginning of time, why not just spoil it with a big X across the entire sheet. Each spoiled vote is counted, as far as I’m aware, and it would send a clear message to the government that something is amiss.

The first time I considered spoiling my vote, I was 18; young, angry, stupid. It seemed a valid protest, but then I realised that without my preferences the entire system was a tiny fraction diminished and less valid.