Billy Bragg is spot on here. A very great deal of people were just dead set on voting for whoever the ‘political establishment’ told them not to vote for; the more obnoxious, unsuitable and irresponsible the better. The poster on the right is from Italy in relation to the upcoming constitutional referendum. It pretty much speaks for itself: people are being urged to vote against ‘Them’, in this case the banks and finance system (the hint of anti-semitism is no accident). The fact that the NO campaign is also supported by the far-right parties is irrelevant. The electorate doesn’t care. While millions are righteously angry that their economic plight and their inchoate fears of the future are entirely glossed over in the media spectacle, the only response they have come up with so far is a series of massive electoral tantrums.
In José Saramago’s novel ‘Seeing’ an unnamed city in an anonymous country becomes the site of an entirely unheralded rebellion in the form of a mass epidemic of blank voting. In response to this indeterminate and ambiguous revolt, the Government of the city is helpless and the authorities flee. In their absence, the city goes on as normal: the citizens sweep the streets, nobody checks the metro tickets, and with few surprisingly few exceptions (criminals are just given a gentle talking-to) peace is maintained. However: as we are dealing with a utopian fable, Saramago’s idealised city state notably contains no far-right parties or unhinged demagogues. Our countries much more resemble the land of the blind, but where the one-eyed man goes by the name of Salvini or Trump.