#indyref: Why we should kidnap the children of undecided voters

If you’re into four-letter acronyms summing up your personality, it will probably make sense to you when I say that as an ENTJ, I have practically zero tolerance for indecisiveness. If my amateurish grasp of basic psychology has any grounding in reality, being a man probably has something to do with it as well. When required to make a decision or solve a problem, I like to collect as much information as is expediently possible, and crack on. Simple as that.

Where time permits of course I’m happy to use it looking for more information. It doesn’t always however, so sometimes you have to act on what you’ve got and hope for the best. #Indyref is a lot like this.

Not insofar as there hasn’t been a lot of time to collect information. However you might refer to this debate (and I’m drawn towards more positive adjectives than most hacks), ‘short’ probably won’t make your list. We’ve spent seemingly endless months being briefed on this and as a result, most of us have made up our minds, and most of us are fairly secure in our convictions. Knowing deep down inside that we could be wrong (some of us even being so blasé as to openly admit it – the horror!), we’ve picked our side and are ready to crack on with it and deal with the consequences.

Except some of you aren’t. I say, ‘you’ by the way because I’m not accepting any sort of kinship with you over this. Some of you are undecideds.

To an extent, there’s nothing wrong with this. Maybe you’ve been too busy to read all the information that’s out there. I get that. But too busy for the last few years to read any of it? Not even enough to lean one way or t’other? Really?

It’s okay, by the way, if you simply don’t give a shit. I don’t understand you; I don’t understand how you can wilfully ignore the biggest decision you’ll ever be asked to make, but if you’re not into that sort of thing, fair enough. Do the rest of us a favour though.

Don’t vote.

If you can honestly have been exposed to the greatest national debate these islands have arguably ever witnessed and just don’t care, you’re a fucking imbecile and the idea that your vote will count towards dictating the futures of those who do care, who have involved themselves, who have debated, who have leafleted, who have put up with the misery of being Alistair Darling; that’s patently offensive. You are exactly the sort of person we shouldn’t be looking to for answers on anything.

If you do care but are still undecided, my advice is pretty much the same. Odds are filling out the ballot is going to prove too complicated for you anyway.

What more information do you need? Everything you’re going to be told before the vote has already been told. You’re never going to get all of the facts and there’s a very simple reason for that. Despite all those scientists inspired by Star Trek, we still haven’t invented a fucking time machine. We don’t know what the future will bring. Do you only want to think of having children if you know they’ll grow up to be 5’11’’ and brunette? Will you only accept a promotion at work if you know you’ll get a company car in three years? Will you only buy a season ticket for your local club if you know they’re going to win every game and get promoted?

Part of my ire, I should be fair, isn’t caused by you. Ignorant, stupid people will always exist and generally speaking I have no problem with you. Better to be dumb and kind than smart and cruel. I’m ignorant myself about a number of things (Twilight, One Direction, things like that). Being ignorant doesn’t make you a bad person. Though I say it myself I’m a very smart, informed guy and I’m fucking miserable as a result. I wish I could get through life in an ignorant haze of swine-like contentment. Poetry sucks.

That by the way, was a reference to a stupid comment Socrates once made, but since you can’t make up your mind about something that’s happening right in front of you, I suppose expecting you to be literate in Ancient Greek philosophy is asking a bit much. Anyway,

Why are undecided voters placed on pedestals by the media? Why do we regularly see documentaries on the subject involve focus groups (groups who have trouble focusing) who blether on obliviously about arguments that have either already been settled or were never raised by anyone else because they’re too inane even for politicians?

Particularly as we get closer to big votes, everything is geared towards the undecided voter, and the closer we get to a big vote, the more apparent it becomes that this person either doesn’t give a shit, or is too fucking stupid to form an opinion. Why then, do we so gleefully parade them round, exalt them and pander to their primary-school level of reasoning?

Undecideds are the ones who choose not to bother voting on the day because it’s raining, or make a snap judgment based on which political leader they fancy the most, or which colour of party ribbon most appeals to them, or which football team local MSPs support.

If you accept that the decideds have pretty much split down the middle (with a slightly larger group sticking with No), it stands to reason that undecideds will decide which side wins.  Why is anyone okay with this?

Undecided voters aren’t carefully weighing facts from multiple sources, pondering the moral quandaries, applying ethical weighting to different points of view and slowly coming to a considered decision. They’re not considering anything. They’re putting it off until they have to make a decision. There’s a reason people like this never go far in life.

Churchill said the best argument against democracy was five minutes with the average voter. He wasn’t wrong. The average voter is ignorant, borderline illiterate, mathematically incompetent; the average voter, put simply, sucks. Don’t believe me? Look at any international comparison where the UK is higher up the list than most others. Is it childhood obesity or teenage pregnancies? It’s not education.

So when you consider that’s the average, just what is the shallow end like? Not the people who have made a bad decision based on prejudice or bad information; at least they’re trying. Those that are actively trying to avoid making a decision yet will go to the ballot box in September anyway.

You know the reason Better Together try so hard to scare people and Yes Scotland don’t want to be drawn into the complexities of issues like currency? It’s because undecideds are easy to scare because they’re fucking ignorant, and they don’t understand the complexities, because they’re fucking stupid.

It’s for this reason that I call on all (I dunno, let’s say 37) of you that read this to treat undecideds with the scorn and derision they deserve. Don’t pander to them and pretend that by not actually making any points at all, they are in fact making a particularly important point. Don’t accept their bullshit excuse that they’re waiting for ‘all the facts’. They’re waiting to be spoon-fed and it’s fucking risible. Worried this will scare them away from your team?

Not if we all do it. If there’s one thing die-hard Yessers and die hard Nobbers can agree on, it’s that this is bloody important. So we should surely all agree that the idea of THEM;  the undecided mass we spent our political lives sucking up to; deciding which way everyone jumps is just plain wrong.

So make it toxic to be undecided. Someone walks into the booth with no idea of how they’re going to vote; THEY’RE the reason society has gone to the pits. Someone gleefuly wears their ignorance like a crown of craptastic cuntishness, steal it off them and beat them over the head with it until they pick a side. Get in touch with Phil Hammond and tell him his attacks from outer-space are fine now, just as long as they take the undecideds. Kidnap their children and threaten to enrol them in drama school unless the parents take some sort of stand on something.

Those of you hanging around the more perceptive depths of the pool will have begun to suspect that I’m slightly irked by undecided voters. If you’re a Yes voter, you may be worried that I’ll put them off coming over to your side. Worry not.

First of all, no truly undecided voter is ever going to read this, because they don’t read political blogs. Or more than one ‘newspaper’, books, cereal packs or anything much beyond the TV pages. Secondly, even if they did, they’re not going to be swayed by some angry blogger they’ll never meet. Let me put it another way.

For the sake of argument, polls of course differing, let’s assume 15% of the populace is undecided. It was pretty much 15% a year ago and it will be pretty much 15% on polling day. There is nothing you can do about this, and these are the people who will decide Scotland’s future.

By the way, if, miraculously you are a genuine undecided voter and want to vote No just to spite me, go ahead. Prove just how fucking whimsical your vote is.


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