Thursday, 21 April, 2005

I have to thank Mr Doof and Jo for this one:

According to my result I should vote for the Green party but I'd set my sights out on the Liberal Democrats. This election is likely to be similiar to the two previous ones: a low voter turn out and everyone sick to death of the election by the time May 5th comes around.

One thing I can say is that the Conservatives and Labour are not being intellectually honest about the causes of voter apathy - They claim people refuse to turn out because they don't care about the issues. I think many people do not turn out to vote simply because their vote doesn't count. In reality, my vote means absolutely nothing - it won't change the result of the election because our seat is by no-means marginal. It's a waste of my time to go and vote but, alas, I will anyway just so I can be part of the grand statistic.

This is not just an opinion that is unique to me. When the election circus came around last time in 2001, the BBC interviewed people who decided not to vote. Of the people they surveyed 77% percent said "they didn't vote because they felt their vote wouldn't change anything" and 66% said they didn't vote because they didn't trust the politicians. What is clear here is that people feel disconnected from the election process and politics in general.

It's fairly straightforward to see why people feel this way. In a three party state there isn't a lot to choose from. You have the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Say what you want but the Conservatives and Labour are extremly similiar. About the only difference between them is their attitude to tax but even this difference is inconsequential. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that regardless of who comes in to power after the next election taxes will have to rise to balance the budget.

The Liberal Democrats are therefore the only real "alternative" party. I'm a Liberal Democrat but even I admit that this is too little choice. I want to be able to choose with confidence the party that suits me the best but the first past the post system makes choosing such a party fool-hardy.

So who is going to win this election? I hope it's nobody and by that I mean that I hope we have a hung Parliament. Why? Because it would do wonders for our democracy. Labour has been able to vote any bill in to law it chooses since 1997 with total confidence. In a hung Parliament MPs would have to compromise and make concessions in order to get a bill through Parliament and all this means the government is more representative. I think once the government starts being more representive of the people the people will respond in kind and go out and vote.

This said, I still believe that the root cause of voter apathy is from the voting system and only by removing that and replacing it with Proportional Representation can we truly tackle the problem. This is why I am voting Liberal Democrat - as they are the only mainstream party that advocate Proportional Representation.


22:09:15 GMT | #Life | Permalink
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