Spoilt Ballot vs Abstention
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Spoiling a ballot should NOT be interpreted as tacit agreement with the existing electoral system. It is Important to consider the following points to understand why spoiling a ballot is, in fact, the opposite of agreement:
From an inspiring student of common law who reads law. Keith also runs a website called the secret people.
Just bought a book called The Judgements Delivered by The Lord Chief Justice Holt in The Case of Ashby v. White and Others, and in The Case of John Paty and Others.
I believe that the wording of Ashby case that is online is a summery??
These are the words of John Holt from the Ashby case written in that book. What I find encouraging in this case is that it explains in great detail everything about the vote and why we have it.
You’ll notice that he expressly mentions that along with laws, no tax can be imposed without consent. This is not mentioned in the summery version, so I think it’s a great authority to show and convince people.
I believe that this case represents the reason why all knowledge of our Constitution has been removed from public knowledge. I also think that if you didn’t, then maybe it would have been a great argument in Charles’ case for the voiding of the torture abstention clause, because who in their right mind would consent to Parliament enacting such a repugnant piece of legislation?
” … 3 This is the proper remedy which the plaintiff hath pursued, being supported by the grounds, reasons, and principles of the ancient common laws of England.
For first, which is to show the plaintiff hath a right to give his vote at the election of parliament burgesses for his borough.
It is very well known that always the Commons of England had, and still have, so considerable share in the property of the nation, that from thence, in this well-balanced Government, they become justly entitled to an equal share in the legislature of this Kingdom, without whose consent no tax can be imposed nor law enacted, but because of the immense number of individuals which constitute that vast body, it was impossible to have it executed by them in person, it was therefore so established in the original constitution that a convenient and proportionable number from amongst themselves should by them be chosen and invested with a plenary authority to deliberate, advise, and determine, for themselves and those who sent them.” – Lord Chief Justice Holt, Ashby vs White & Others: The Judgements Delivered by The Lord Chief Justice Holt in The Case of Ashby v. White and Others, and in The Case of John Paty and Others (p3).
My explanation of that Judgement (Ashby v White 1703) and Knowledge of the constitution and reading law.
In the context of laws being made within the limitations of the constitution, “a plenary authority” refers to the complete or comprehensive power vested in a governing body to create laws. However, this authority is subject to the limitations imposed by the constitution. The constitution acts as a framework that sets out the fundamental principles, rights, and boundaries within which the legislative authority operates.
Taking the example of the English Bill of Rights 1688, this law codified and recorded common law rights into positive law through a statute. The Bill of Rights 1688 was enacted and established by a revolutionary convention parliament, and it holds a special status. A regular parliament does not possess the power to change or modify it. In effect, it is outside of it’s jurisdiction of an ordinary parliament to nullify or restrict your rights and the judiciary should step in or indeed the monarch, in the case of Ashby v White they both did.
This illustrates that the English Bill of Rights 1688 places restrictions on the plenary authority of the legislature. It recognizes the authority of judges to invalidate primary legislation if it conflicts with the provisions outlined in the Bill of Rights. In this sense, the constitution, as embodied in the Bill of Rights, acts as a limitation on the otherwise plenary authority of the parliament, ensuring that laws created by the legislature do not violate the established rights and principles enshrined in the constitution.
Therefore, the authority of judges to void primary legislation, as stipulated in the Bill of Rights 1688, serves as a safeguard against potential encroachments on individual rights and the constitutional framework by ensuring that laws are consistent with the limitations imposed by the constitution.” Graham Moore
Active Participation: By casting a spoilt ballot, individuals are actively participating in the electoral process rather than abstaining altogether. It signifies that they are taking the time and effort to engage with the democratic system and express their dissatisfaction with the available choices.
Dissatisfaction with the Options: Spoiling a ballot communicates a clear message that none of the candidates or parties on the ballot represent the voter’s views, values, or interests adequately. It demonstrates a refusal to support any of the existing options and sends a powerful message that the electorate demands better choices.
Expressing Dissent: Spoiling a ballot is a form of peaceful protest and a legitimate way to express dissent. It allows individuals to exercise their freedom of expression by visually and symbolically demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. It’s important to remember that democracy thrives on the ability to voice dissent and challenge the status quo.
Holding the System Accountable: By casting a spoilt ballot, individuals are questioning the legitimacy of the electoral system itself. They are raising awareness about its shortcomings and demanding improvements. Spoilt ballots can spark discussions, debates, and even reforms aimed at creating a more inclusive and responsive democratic process.
Freedom of Choice: Ultimately, it is essential to respect the individual’s freedom to express their political views and make their own decisions. Just as casting a valid vote is an exercise of choice, spoiling a ballot is a legitimate choice too. It is a means for individuals to voice their dissatisfaction without resorting to more extreme or disruptive methods.
It is crucial to address the misconception that abstaining from voting can effectively counter tyranny. While abstaining may be a personal choice, it ultimately disengages individuals from the democratic process, thereby diminishing their ability to influence the outcome. In essence, abstaining doesn’t directly challenge or hold those in power accountable. To effect change, it is vital to actively participate in the democratic process and utilize available methods to voice concerns and dissatisfaction.
On the other hand, spoilt ballots can serve as a powerful tool for expressing discontent and questioning the legitimacy of governance. Spoiling a ballot involves intentionally invalidating it by marking it in a way that renders it unusable or by writing a clear message indicating dissatisfaction. By casting a spoilt ballot, individuals are not abstaining but actively participating in the electoral process while registering their protest.
If spoilt ballots were to reach a significant percentage, such as 70%, it would send a strong message to those in power and to the broader society that a considerable portion of the population is dissatisfied with the available options or the state of governance. This can serve as a wake-up call for politicians and parties, forcing them to re-evaluate their platforms, policies, and their connection with the people they represent. It puts pressure on political leaders to address the concerns and demands of the electorate more effectively.
Moreover, a high number of spoilt ballots can also lead to increased public scrutiny, media attention, and debate about the legitimacy of the electoral system. It encourages discussions about the need for better representation, electoral reforms, and policies that address the underlying issues responsible for voter dissatisfaction. This scrutiny can foster a more transparent and accountable political environment in the long run.
In conclusion, spoiling a ballot should not be seen as a tacit agreement with the existing electoral system. It is an active form of participation, a means to express dissent, and a call for better options and a more robust democratic process. It is crucial to recognize and respect the diverse ways in which individuals choose to engage with and critique the electoral system. While abstaining from voting may be seen as a way to disengage from the democratic process, spoilt ballots serve as a more powerful means to express discontent and challenge the legitimacy of governance. By actively participating and casting spoilt ballots, individuals can make their voices heard, put pressure on politicians, and promote discussions about improving the democratic system.
Backed by English Common Law, Constitutional Case law and historical event Ashby vs White 1703. Any party that sacrifices itself for its Country and not the other way round is good. Any party that proposes spoilt ballots as a method of dissent is showing their loyalty to Country first. England in this case.
The Representation of the People Act 1983 does not explicitly mention the term “first-past-the-post” or provide specific provisions outlining the electoral system. i.e this law is silent on FPTP.
The Act primarily focuses on various aspects of electoral registration, the conduct of elections, and the qualifications of voters and candidates. It does not explicitly define or prescribe the specific voting system used in the UK, such as the first-past-the-post system.
The first-past-the-post system is a long-standing convention and practice in the UK electoral system, but its legal basis is derived from historical precedent, constitutional practices, and common law principles rather than explicit statutory provisions. The rules and mechanics of the first-past-the-post system have been established through various conventions, case law, and historical practices, rather than being explicitly codified in a single legislative text.
Q. If customary law and the common law created first past the post convention for English elections, the common law governs it?
Yes, that is correct. In the absence of explicit statutory provisions, the first-past-the-post electoral system in the UK is primarily governed by common law principles. Common law refers to the body of law that is derived from judicial decisions, precedent, and customary practices, rather than being enacted by legislation.
The first-past-the-post system has been developed and established over time through common law principles and constitutional conventions. It has become an integral part of the UK’s electoral system through historical practices and precedents. As a result, the common law governs the application and interpretation of the first-past-the-post system in English elections.
It is important to note that common law is not static and can evolve over time through judicial decisions and changing societal norms (as long as it stays within the constitutional rights of the people). However, customary practices and established precedents play a significant role in shaping and governing the first-past-the-post system in English elections.
Q. So the common law principle of governed by consent applies and the case of Ashby vs White 1703?
Yes, the common law principle of government by consent is an important aspect of the UK’s constitutional framework. It signifies that the government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, and individuals have a right to participate in the political process through voting and elections.
The case of Ashby v White (1703) is a notable legal precedent in the context of electoral rights and the principle of government by consent. In this case, the court recognised that a voter has a legal right to exercise their vote freely and without obstruction. It established the principle that interference with an individual’s right to vote is a violation of their rights, and individuals have the right to seek legal remedies in such cases.
While the Ashby v White case does not directly address the first-past-the-post system, it highlights the importance of protecting electoral rights and ensuring that individuals are not unlawfully deprived of their right to vote (meaning it MUST be counted, and is counted, including as a spoilt ballot). It reinforces the broader principles of government by consent and the rule of law within the electoral context. Which means, your spoilt vote counts.
Overall, the common law principles of government by consent and the protection of electoral rights are integral to the functioning of the UK’s electoral system, including the first-past-the-post system.