Tag Archives: Apathy

Apathy is the wrong word

It’s been a while since I posted here but it wasn’t apathy! Last night attended the witness session to the Power Commission with Robin Cook MP. One thing that I learned after I came away is that we are not talking about apathy here. People are as concerned with issues they feel passionately about as they ever were. The demonstrations against the war in Iraq were amongst the largest displays of public feeling that this country has ever seen. And the recently enacted hunting ban has provoked strong feelings on both sides of the debate too.
So if it’s not apathy, what is it? Why is it that people have strong feelings about what our government is doing, and yet don’t turn out in large numbers to make their feelings known at the ballot box?

Voter Apathy

One of the things that constantly troubles me about British politics is the level of voter apathy. Low turnouts are expected norms. One thing that the US presidential election did achieve was a record turnout – and I’d love to know how we can achieve that here. We often hear people here complaining about our government and our politicians, so why do so few of us care enough to turn out and vote? I do think many people here are cynical about politics and politicians. They are characterised as “all the same” and “never keep their promises”. An initiative has been launched ‘Power – an independent inquiry into Britain’s democracy’ (chaired by Helena Kennedy QC). As a LibDem, I’ll venture one suggestion. The crazy, outdated first past the post electoral system we cling to leaves millions of Britons feeling disenfranchised because they live in so-called “safe seats”. Why go out and vote if you live in a constituency where the same party always wins? The Jenkins Commision found that our current system is grossly unfair and it is time for a change. Tony Blair let that report gather dust – perhaps he feels his commons majority isn’t big enough?