Is it the ritual of voting for who's to be chucked off 'Strictly' that gives people strange ideas about democracy? Do people 'voting against austerity' think they are doing something meaningful? Or do they recognise it's just a way of registering their bit of a protest with those - 'the adults in the room', © Christine Lagarde 2015 - who will take decisions regardless. Or done out of devilment, like when we voted Jocelyn Hapless-Nerd to be form captain. Not a golden age for democracy.
There's quite a lot of this going on, and it's prominent enough to be taken seriously - or at least, analysed as a serious phenomenon. Scotland has had its spasm, and will probably be invited to jerk itself off again at a tactical moment of the SNP's choosing sometime soon. The Greek thing will play itself into another frenetic bout of megaphone diplomacy next week. Before 2017 is out we shall all be having a go at the old In-Out. Hey, and the game may soon be extended to 16-year olds, that'll do wonders for the maturity-level of the whole thing.
So: if I vote 'no to austerity', more-or-less in a vacuum, do I consider I am invoking a fundamental right unilaterally to force *someone* to implement a Marshall Plan in my favour? A bit of a perversion of of the least-worst-system-yet-devised, that.
I am reminded of the 1980s, when Lambeth and Liverpool councillors were wont to vote for utterly demented things, some of which were just empty (unilateral nuclear disarmament in Kennington) but others of which couldn't be allowed to pass: 'spending' money they didn't have was a favourite. Reality struck, in the form of a new law requiring that a named council employee (the 'nominated adult-in-the-room') was personally responsible for imposing a balanced budget on the naughty councillors.
Jocelyn H-N's electoral success didn't turn out quite as funnily as we'd hoped either. Not dissimilar really: when it comes right down to it, the adults always get out the cane. Eventually.