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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help

Pledge “spoiltvotescount”

"I will spoil my ballot paper for the local elections on 4th May by writing 'None of the above' and donate £10 to 'Make My Vote Count' at but only if 100 other local people will do the same."

— Trevor Clarke, Disenchanted voter

Deadline to sign up by: 4th May 2006
11 people signed up, 89 more were needed

Country: United Kingdom
Place: London (view map)

More details
This will register an active protest at the futility of what a local election vote means in reality, and distinguishes from the apathetic non-voter.

This pledge is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

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Comments on this pledge

  • I am disappointed Trevor Clarke did not choose to stand as a candidate instead. This would surely be the democratic option.
    Trevor Whittall, 13 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • By myself, I do not have the power to change anything. I've seen candidates stand as an independent and struggle to attract even 100 votes. If you join a political party, you must toe the party line and vote in line with the party decision. Your vote for a political party is taken as consent to do anything that they want, with a claim of a democratic mandate to do so.

    And even if you are an independent minded councillor who wants to speak on behalf of their electorate, they are either reported to the Standards Board and reprimanded, or barred from the meetings that they have an interest in. (Christopher Booker's Notebook, in the Sunday Telegraph, has been reporting on this recently). The system is all wrong but with the tacit consent of the people.

    I said earlier that it is difficult for an independent to attract 100 votes. It would seem to be even more difficult to attract more than a handful of pledges, just to vote for 'None of the above'. (The donation part is not important, if that is the issue).

    Oh, and before the Pledgebank people comment on that, yes, this is being publicised by a variety of means.
    Trevor Clarke, 13 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • (As commented elsewhere) I have long been disillusioned by party politics, and I support the campaign for electoral reform. My feeling is that spoiling the ballot paper - even as part of a campaign to write, 'none of the above' - won't make an impact.

    Therefore, I will vote Green.

    The Greens have done a great job of getting candidates out this time, and Green votes will scare Grey politicians for real.
    A C Baker, 13 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The point about this is to register a protest at how little effect our vote appears to have, for a wide range of reasons. I've just seen a website that ties in very neatly with the intention, at
    The strapline is 'Strength in Numbers'. At the very least, just click on their link to show support, if the view is that spoiling a ballot paper is not effective. (In small numbers, it wouldn't be).
    Trevor Clarke, 13 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I've clicked. Certainly, we need to keep trying different strategies until something works.

    If the Green vote rises steadily and significantly, but nothing gives in the Establishment, I'll certainly consider joining a mass ballot spoil.


    "Greens are fielding 1,294 candidates on these elections including 567 in London. We currently hold 70 council seats and our aim is to increase this to a 100. Gains are expected in Norwich, Watford, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol, Stroud, Kirklees, Sheffield, Camden, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham and Merton."

    I think that's worth supporting.
    A C Baker, 13 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I agree with the original pledger in that we need to make it heard that "all the above" aren't that good an option, but sadly I think that spoiling the ballot paper wouldn't achieve much because the local authorities will just demolish those ballots.

    What I think would be a good idea is to get "None of the above" as an official option on the ballot so that option can be logged and stop politicians claiming that people don't care. If the government wins by 'n'% of votes thats one thing, but its something entirely different if that can be held up in the light and its shown that the people that voted form them is a tiny fraction of those that don't want them, which the current system doesn't cater for :(

    Steve, 13 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Actually the government made it impossible to stand as a "none of the above" candidate (unless you organise a bona fide political party, you can only stand as Independent). so they are unlikely to volunteer to make "none of the above" a ballot option. What is important to know is that the candidates are shown spoilt ballots at the count. I'm going to publicise this in my ward and measure the result against other wards. I've voted Green in the past and this year I've decided that doing anything to cooperate with this sytem is not on. Voting doesn't give us power, it gives them a blank cheque.
  • I am more aware than most of the unfairness of the present voting system, but spoiling your vote is not the answer. People will not know whether you are protesting or whether you simply made a mistake. Why not take some positive action and set up a campaign to make votes count in London, just as we have Make Votes Count in West Sussex.

    John Cross
    MVC West Sussex
  • The report just released by the Institute for Public Policy Research, is advocating compulsory voting. See

    While there are valid arguments both for and against this, it is worth highlighting this particular extract, as food for thought:

    'Under the institute's plan, electors would be offered a "none of the above" choice or could simply spoil their papers. Ben Rogers, from the institute, said he believed forced voting would improve British politics.

    At the moment, the main parties simply give up on people who do not vote and concentrate their efforts on the "core vote", he said. "If you had compulsory turnout, then the core vote would turn out anyway and the political parties would have to spend much more time persuading people to vote for them."

    There may not be much in the way of pledge support for spoiling the ballot paper, by writing 'none of the above' or whatever, but it now appears to have influential support for the future. And for the same intended aim as when starting the pledge. I'm happy enough with that.
  • I don't think you have given enough information on why you believe local elections to be futile.

    From the local councillors I have met I fully believe them to be (in the main) totally committed to improving their community - you seem to only espouse an unfocused belief that the community doe not need improving.

    I would suggest you develop your argument before trying to get others to support it.
    Ivan, 13 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Local councillors are useless if you raise the issue of fraud (and what issue is more important?). The council's legal officer denies everything, despite the factual evidence. The very fact that councillors are "nice" is a huge part of the problem--because they are nicest to their colleagues regardless of party. I think the same is likely to be true of any Green councillor as it's a human trait not to want to be thought a nuisance. Please consider signing up to my pledge: vote. By the way, candidates/agents are shown the spoiled ballots so writing "none of the above" does have some impact. No mistaking the sentiment!
  • An astonishing response from Ivan. Has he read the history of comments here? Is that not ‘developing an argument’?

    The bottom line is that Ivan is among the hard core of voters for a local election, that represents a minority of somewhere between 30 to 40%. Is that acceptable democracy?

    Once elected, too few councillors will vote against their party, even if in disagreement, or if a decision is against their residents interests. If you have a situation of a significant majority for the ruling party, they win every time, on a decision made by unelected officers and a cabinet of just 8 or 9 members.

    There is an increasing body of evidence to show that many people are disillusioned with party politics, especially at a local level. And on a first past the post system, this makes it difficult for small parties, or independents, to get representation. The party propaganda literature often bludgeons the point that it is only us or them and anything else is a wasted vote.

    If people vote on one local issue that is to their favour, it is not a blank cheque for that political party to do whatever they want for the next four years. Yet they will always claim, spuriously, no matter how unpopular, a democratic mandate to push anything through. So called consultations are often a charade, for show purposes only.

    The point of this is to tap into the 60 to 70% that will not be voting, and seek a distinction between pure apathy and a protest vote to express disillusionment with the present system.
  • 'None of the Above' is simply brilliant!...

    Simple but Very effective!

    If I were in your Locality, I would Sign...
This pledge is closed for new comments.

Current signatories (Green text = they've done it)

Trevor Clarke, the Pledge Creator, joined by:

  • Mark Sugrue
  • john the blaster acid master
  • Josh Lee
  • Patrick Joseph Anthony Cullinane
  • William Finnerty
  • Suzon Forscey-Moore
  • Sir Arthur Grebe-Streebling
  • Phil Egan
  • Harriet Chandler
  • 2 people who did not want to give their names

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