There have been countless tales of prophesied horror of what will happen if the Tories get in. And I wonder how many of them will actually come true in the next 5 years.
But if we go with the general consensus on Goode Olde Facebooke this morning (surely the font of all knowledge that is True and Reliable!) that the turnout for this election was 60%. If you go with the general consensus that has filled my Facebook wall for the majority of the day this was an unmitigated disaster. (Apart from the fact that the Tories are now “In”).
Lets start with the voting system. For more years than I care to remember I have been one of “Those” people who smile at you from behind the ballot box at the service station, ask to check your details and then hand you a slip of paper with the cheery reminder of “An X in the box please and then back into this ballot box – Thank You!”. It’s important to me that people are given the opportunity to vote. If you don’t vote then you can’t complain if things happen at government level that you don’t like or that adversely impact you.
Or can you?
What stopped those people voting? It has become easier and easier to vote. Polling stations are still open from 7am to 10pm. You can ask someone to vote on your behalf as a proxy if there’s a chance you might not get there in time. Or you can opt to vote by post. Even easier! This option used to be quite strictly monitored and only those who were working away, in the forces or in prison would get this option. Now though anyone can apply to vote by post.
This isn’t going to turn into a post about how I think people *should* vote. Not voting is a choice we are able to exercise and is still a valid choice. But if not voting (on purpose) is what we feel our only valid choice is, there’s something a bit amiss.
Does our vote actually matter?. The top comments from people I’ve spoken to about this today are:
“They are all the same. It doesn’t matter who I vote for, they all promise the earth and then deliver nothing”.
“I can’t see what difference my single vote actually makes”.
“Don’t like the choices / system, so going to make a stand and spoil my ballot paper”.
This time around there was seemed to be even more apathy than usual as the results projected with the way the system works meant that whichever outcome was going to be a done deal. With us the people being “done”, with many people advocating “spoiling” their votes to show their displeasure at the choices on offer.
Change is frightening. The fear of change will actually keep a person on a self destruct course in order to avoid that change. And I think this is what we’ve seen here. Those people who are scared of change, have voted the way they always vote.
Perhaps though, those who haven’t voted are actually maybe the ones who are fed up with this system and know that the only way to win the game – is not to play. (As per the film Wargames – 1983).
Unfortunately I’m not sure that not playing this game will let the school playground bullies know that its time to change the system. If we had the next election where only 40% voted – would those in power see its time for a change?
Who remembers the fist
washout Police and Crime Commissioners elections? Back in 2012 there was an overall turnout of 14.9% as per quoted on the BBC Website Did this make the government see that the systems wasn’t going to work? No. They simply said they needed to do more to raise public awareness.
The most disastrous turnout was back in 2001, with just 59.4% of voters turning out. Since then its been a steady increase to the highest turnout yet which was actually this year of 66.1%
Yep. You heard me right. This year, according to www.ukpolitical.info 66.1% of eligible voters did the deed. Well done Voters!! So yes, that is still 33.9% that didn’t vote but that is the highest turnout we’ve had since 1997 with 77.7% turnout. (Just for information the all time highest was in 1950 with 83.9% voting!
But back to todays matters. 66.1% of us eligible voters cast their say. And to all intents and purposes the very fiends from Hell are now ensconced within the walls of No10. And we, the general population apparently chose them. Many people are thinking of fleeing the country, others are making more nefarious plans to increase their personal wealth. What am I going to do?
I’m going to take reassurance that anyone in government couldn’t organise a P#ss up in a brewery and just keep swimming, keep on swimming…keep on swimming!