I am going to take a brief break from my intense political neutrality, and current unbearably heavy workload, to make the case for people to join (and not necessarily vote for) the Civilian Party.
On Facebook I noticed that the Civilian Party is 55 members short of the 500 it requires to get media funding/time for the 2014 New Zealand general elections. Without this time, it would be difficult to individuals to make a considered choice about voting for a satire party this election.
At first brush this may seem like no small concern. We will all sit down and choose the party we are the most comfortable with, or deliver a protest vote to some party that will “never get in”, or even just not vote if we feel disenfranchised.
However, this choice is not sufficient – a satirical party can fill an important role in the political spectrum. Specifically, a satire party allows us to deliver a true protest vote about the direction ALL political parties are taking. This thereby promoting entry and competition in the political space, and can help point out that a given governments mandate is weaker than meets the eye.
Think of it this way – without a satire party we have two ways to deliver a “protest vote”, not voting or voting for a party we don’t think will get in (eg Legalise Cannabis). However, how do people read those two vote types:
- If we don’t vote, people just assume we were “too lazy”, so it doesn’t matter.
- If we vote for an irrelevant party with actual policies, people assume that we actually supported those policies.
The only way we can show that we are willing to incur the cost of voting (and so are not lazy) and that our views about politics are not being represented by the parties currently wrestling for our vote is through a vote to a satirical party. There is no “vote of no confidence”, instead within the current system this is as close as we can get.
In that way, I hope you will consider spending the $1 to become a member of the party in order to ensure that this choice is available to people when they are thinking about who they may vote for. Even if you are happy with the space the political parties hold, and you have a clear preference for one party, the existence of a satire party has value overall. This isn’t just about entertainment value, it is about having a true protest vote – one that doesn’t involve rubbing the egos of people like Bob Jones, by letting them confuse the idea that people are voting for them out of frustration rather than agreeing with a single thing they have to say.
For way of transparency, I paid to be a member early on, but at present I’m not sure whether I’d vote for them – I need to look at party platforms more closely near the election, and figure out if I’m disenfranchised enough to protest. I’d say my voting preference currently is (out of the parties that enter my head – not if the parties are together they are currently tied):
- Civilian, National, Greens.
- Internet-Mana, United
- NZ First, ACT
However, this changes all the time, and any party within the first three tiers could easily end up with my vote.