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April 26, 2022

The most significant statistic in the French election result was, of course, the high number of people who did not vote.

Turnout was at just 72 percent, with abstentions at their highest of any second-round vote in France since 1969.

In an alarming signal for Macron, 8.6 percent of those who made the effort to turn up at voting stations on Sunday cast a protest vote to send the message that neither candidate was acceptable. Some 6.35 percent of votes were “blank” on Sunday and another 2.25 percent were “null”, with a candidate’s name crossed out or a ballot otherwise invalidated. 

And this will be the case on May 5, 2022, when I – like many others – deliberately DO NOT vote in the Newport City Council elections because I live in a rotten borough where a permanent, unchallenged and unquestioned single dominant party processes back into power without bothering any more to even appear to engage with the electorate nor, crucially, to represent them.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Tony Bliar con trick 1997 devolution referendum was unfairly rigged with some underhand and highly questionable tactics so I have no reason to invest psychologically in even the mere concept of ethical and entirely fair and accurate democracy backed by a voting system which reflects that and offers a potential solution to everyone.

No, I am trapped in a country where the overton window has moved so far to the left that my only choice appears to be between one of two radical feminist, progressive, trans, eco, BLM neo-Marxists with no hope of escape because a hugely supportive electoral reform movement at Cardiff Bay seeks to keep lowering the voting age until eventually infant school pupils will scrawl Xs on ballot papers (or, more likely, their teachers will do it for them) even when they have not yet learnt to write and illegal immigrants fresh off their rubber dinghies will be frogmarched to polling stations.

I have had one visit appealing for my vote from one of the two Green Party candidates. Labour councillors now no longer even venture into these areas unless cocooned inside a self-loving, self-aggrandising and self-congratulatory protective posse of Drakeford acolytes spouting nonsense about economic equality wearing offensively odd neutral clothes while calling Councillor Jane Mudd “leader” like marching north Korean security guards afraid to say anything remotely meaningful or profound, their every utterance prepared by press and PR people surrounding them to give the impression of command and coherence.

I would vote for any candidate who could first remove the council’s link to the Newsquest media group, which publishes its “official newspaper” Newport Matters and offers permanent unconditional support to a failing institution, absolutely ensure that no lock-downs are ever ordered again with absurd ad-hoc and contradictory rules banning free movement, gets all officials back to work normally, prioritises face-to-face meetings with GPs at surgeries and advocates a results-based financial rewards system for all staff so we no longer have lifelong lingering losers promoted and rewarded with pay and pensions.

Like the absent millions in France, I am disgusted, disengaged, unrepresented and unhappy and now lie outside the system and not within it.

And, of course, it is these people on the outside looking in at a privileged elite expanding rapidly at our expense while the mess worsens that hold a potential which is growing.

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