WESTERN MORNING NEWS
24 March 2015 by WMNDavidWells
Digsby Rock superstar Brian May declared today that “no vote is wasted, no seat is safe”, as he launched a campaign aimed at encouraging people to vote. His Common Decency initiative aims to undermine safe parliamentary seats by persuading voters to back “decent” candidates, rather than parties. Earlier this year, the Queen guitarist and anti-badger cull campaigner hinted that he may consider standing for parliament himself in the General Election. It was suggested the 67-year-old rocker, well known for his animal rights campaigns and fierce opposition to the badger cull, could run as an independent in the election in May. However, his agent Phil Symes told the BBC May was frustrated at “a system that he sees as failing the electorate”, but he said May had “no firm plans” to stand in a particular constituency.
May has joined a number of rallies and anti-badger cull patrols in Somerset and other areas of the South West speaking out against the pilot culling zones in West Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset.
Now he has unveiled a billboard in Vauxhall, south London, with “You have one voice – one vote – use it!” emblazoned across it. Declaring the present Government an elite which “lacked empathy” for humans and animals alike, May said he hoped his message could shake up British politics. He cited party whips as an example of where party lines override the interests of constituents.
He said: “I have a very poor opinion of what this Coalition has done in this country and I think they have turned their back on the public and turned their back on ordinary voters. Things like the whip system – I don’t think most people realise their MP is in the House of Commons in the bar while the debate goes on and he then runs in and votes according to what he’s told to do by the whip. That is where democracy stops; in my mind, we need to aim for a complete reform of the House of Commons. What we have is a serial dictatorship, we do not have a democracy.”
Common Decency was launched following May’s involvement in a failed attempt to overturn the badger cull last year, despite a Commons vote supporting the motion.
The star, who admitted not voting in the last election, said he felt the rise of social media made this election an opportune time to get his message across. He insisted that his campaign was not a party and it was intended to help people discuss what they find decent.
He said: “We are not a political party, we are a group which will be told – tell us what you think. We would like everyone to go and scrutinise the candidates they have and tell us what they think about them and we can build up a picture of who the decent guys are. What we need to do first is get people in to government who will vote according to their conscience and act according to their constituents’ wishes.”
But despite his willingness to accept a democratically decided idea of what decency is, May still had a strong opinion on the current Coalition.
He said: “We are governed by an elite who don’t have any empathy for us, for animals or for the poor and sick and the disadvantaged. If the system was changed then leaders would not be as corrupt as they are; I think they are a result of the system. Getting rid of this Government is a necessary condition of moving towards decency, but it is not a sufficient condition – we need to dismantle privilege and corruption and inequality that has put that situation in place.”