The West is a liberal democracy. The fundamental heart of citizenship in such a country is each man’s right to vote. It’s the blood that pumps through the arteries of society and everyone is fully entitled to their opinions. That’s the system.
If you don’t have an opinion, then fine, but opting out is as much of a statement about your political views as voting for BNP is. Your political vote is as close to a personal worldview summary as you can get.
It’s so central to British society that the impulsion to query someone’s political persuasion is a strong one, and responses tend to reveal more about a person than most questions would. It confirms and contradicts previously-held opinions I had about people once I discover their voting patterns.
I’m fully conscious that answering the question can be something of a misnomer, and an unfair assessment of someone’s character (I myself resent having to caveat voting Green in the last election), however for someone to be offended I’d even ask is ridiculous.
If you’re happy to use your democracy token and throw your weight behind who you want to be in charge – the most powerful and meaningful act you can perform in our society – then why on earth would you be offended if you were asked what that decision was?
I’m all for people concealing their political persuasion for fear of pigeon-holing or social occlusion, but to become offended at even the question is far too sensitive. Likewise, the askers shouldn’t be offended if the responder decides not to answer.
Why stand up for something if you don’t want to be counted?