I am in favour of spoilt ballots.
Not as an alternative to voting (Or, indeed, voting Labour -Ed), but as an alternative to not voting. But for those people who tell me that they don’t plan to vote, that they can’t — or won’t — support any of the parties or candidates on the ballot paper, then my advice is always to spoil their ballot.
The simple reason is that spoilt ballots are counted. The number is recorded in the results. The number of those who abstained, who didn’t turn out, is not. It fades away into the background.
Active protest always trumps passive protest.
There were 14 spoilt ballots in the Blenheim Park election, which is a fairly standard number. In Southend West there were some 145. Most are unremarkable things, but one sticks in my mind. On one of the Southend West ballot papers some joker had drawn a representation of male genitalia. They had done so next to the name of the Labour candidate, Julian Ware-Lane.
And because it was drawn within the box next to his name, it was decided as decipherable a vote for Mr Ware-Lane. So irony of ironies, the cock-in-the-box was counted as one of Labour’s 8,154 votes.
You do, it turns out, have to spoil your ballot correctly.