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Editorial: It’s Election Time Again

On Thursday 5 May, elections will be held across the country to elect members for local and district authorities in England, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. In London, there will be elections for the Mayor and for members of the Greater London Assembly.

Book Reviews: 'How Voters Feel', & 'Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind'

The blank ballot

'How Voters Feel', by Stephen Coleman. Cambridge University Press. Paperback at £18.99

Like every other social process within the current alienated form of society, voting has become thoroughly fetishised into a hollow shell, compared with its potential. By examining the subjective feelings around voting Stephen Coleman opens up the question of how valuable that process could once again become, were it to be returned from its current status of begrudged duty into the realm of exciting, engaging action.

How Voters Feel does not seek to address the question of economic democracy or the unbridled power of transnational corporations, though Coleman does make in passing the point that:

Party names and games

Last year Parliament passed an Act to allow political parties to register, both to protect their name and to present lists in elections where an element of proportional representation has been introduced—as in the elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly this May, but also in those to the European Parliament in June and to the Greater London Authority in May next year.

The parliamentary parties brought in this Act mainly to protect their own position by stopping candidates calling themselves, notoriously, Literal Democrats but also Conversative Party and Independent Labour. However it has also settled our dispute with Militant over their attempted usurpation of one of our names (see Socialist Standard, February 1997).

How to vote Socialist

Voters for the Scottish Parliament will have two votes, one for a constituency member as in elections to Westminster and a second which can be cast for a party list covering a larger, multi-member region.

We are not standing any individual candidates so our message to those who want socialism is to use their first vote to vote against all the various reformist and pro-capitalist candidates by writing the word "SOCIALISM" across the ballot paper.

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