Turnout 1945-2005


[Hat Tip Future Fair for All]


8 thoughts on “Turnout 1945-2005

  1. This is why I think voting should be compulsory, or better yet, mean a tax rebate – or both.

    This apathy is the reason the country is in such a mess, and it is caused by successive Governments ignoring popular opinion.

    1. I’m not sure compulsory voting would do it. From the late 90s onwards hte two main parties began to converge on both economic and social issues, and so voting dropped.

      From the 1970s through to the late 80s there was a choice between the two parties on social and economic policy, so people voted.

      Likewise from 1950 onwards, although no one wnated to break the post war settlement there were still real difference between the parties; for example Labour’s strong link with the unions.

      I think compulsory voting would only treat the symptom not the cause. Ideally, when two parties converge, they converge on what the median voter wants and most of the country is happy with what results, however we have ended up in a situation where we have two parties most people don’t like and not any way to vote them out in most seats – hence low turn out.

      We need a better electoral system, not enforced voting IMHO.

  2. There is compulsory voting in Australia – or at least its compulsory to turn up to the polling booth upon pain of £10 fine – and politics there is much like here, the major parties, Liberal and Labor, are both neo-liberal parties with a handful of quite minor policy differences.

    The other thing I’d say is that in the UK you’ve got all three parties converging on economic policy.

  3. Why do you think this is apathy, Charlie? I never eat at KFC or McDonalds. Would you infer that I’m apathetic about food? Could it be instead that I think both are crap?

    1. I think a better analogy for our main parties is with a 15th Century peasant.

      You’re sick of Turnips and sick of Bread and you’re just waiting for potatoes to arrive and change everything.

    2. But you eat somewhere, and it is still food, yes? So you are making a choice. It is not that people are not voting for Labour or Tories, there are more than two choices but they’re not voting for anyone. Either do not care, or do not think that they can make a difference, and they’re probably right.

      I remember during the European elections thinking that things were going to change. Labour were at their lowest ebb, the expenses scandal was in full swing and there were lots of smaller new parties, UKIP, Jury Team, Christian Party etc I was expecting the biggest shake up in British politics for decades. What happened? Everyone just voted Tory. The Lib Dems got a few seats, UKIP a few more, even the BNP, but in the end it was a massive Tory landslide. Voters had just switched from supporting the reds, to the blues.

      So in May we are once again we are just going to switch from one landslide to another and have a decade or more of one party pushing through whatever legislation it wishes. I can understand the apathy.

      The Athenians had the right idea, make it compulsory, and make sure everyone is involved, whether they like it or not.

      1. In nearly 400 seats the election is more or less already over, with the result almost certain one way or the other. Rubbish system.


        [“The Athenians had the right idea, make it compulsory, and make sure everyone is involved, whether they like it or not.”

        The historical and philosophical pedant in me must also correct this. Only men above a certain age could vote, also they had to be citizens not residents, and they were a slave society. So only about 10% of those living in the city could vote. But I do know what you mean.]

  4. Well I wasn’t going to say it, but that is another couple of things that we could learn from them. Make the right to vote something to strive for, to be coveted, rather than taken for granted, i.e. make sure that not everyone can vote. When everyone can vote, voting loses something of its importance. Only 40% of those eligible vote, in Athens it was 100%.

    Only men above a certain age could vote

    As is the case here.

    also they had to be citizens not residents

    Again, same here, only British citizens can vote. Which brings me onto the second thing; citizenship should be harder to attain, even for those born here, and easily lost. If people can lose the right to vote, they’ll cherish it more I am sure.

    and they were a slave society

    So are we, sure we may call them something else, but relatively speaking, they’re slaves.

    I am sure some well below minimum wage price can be negotiated with the immigrants to daub red paint on the tardy.

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