Apathy in the UK

I haven’t written a post in this blog for some months. I only tend to write when something moves me and I feel I want to share. Well today I have most certainly been moved (if by “moved” you mean “angered”).

It’s election time in the UK. Devolved government elections and some local authority elections in England as well as the media circus that is the London Mayoral Election.

I have always exercised my right to vote. I see it as a duty. However, today I spoke to someone from high up in a South Wales Valley and asked them, in all innocence and just as part of the general chit-chat, had they voted yet.

Their response was “Oh no, I don’t vote. I’m not into politics”.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!

I didn’t challenge them as I felt it unfair that the two of us should argue over this issue, rather than our government take action to sort out voter apathy.  The pundits/polls predict a very low turnout for the elections in Wales

It CAN be done. Look at the Scottish Independence Referendum. In the run-up to that I happened to be in Edinburgh and chatted to a taxi driver about what he thought of the whole thing. I expected an angry, semi-literate, right wing response from him (after all I have experience of Cardiff taxi rides…) but no. He started to tell me about a heavy political tome he was reading by a well-respected academic. We discussed the pros and cons and I left his cab energised by his commitment to learning more about the potential political and economic impact of independence.

Voter apathy is a symptom of a lack of engagement with society. A feeling that there are things that we need not worry about because nothing ever changes. A feeling that politics is irrelevant.

Well, see those potholes in your road? That’s politics. See those homeless people begging in the street? That’s politics. The 3 week wait to see a GP? Politics. The new estate built on a Greenfield site? Yep, politics.

In the absence of a revolution we need politicians to grasp this nettle of self-disenfranchisement. We need more adults learning about the importance of action at a personal, family, community and national level. We need more adults learning. Learning empowers people. But then again, maybe that’s exactly what the ruling classes don’t want…?

Right, I’m off to vote. It happens once every few years but I am going to make a promise this time. I promise that I will do my best to get more people to vote next time (for whatever colour of political party). I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m going to try. It’s my duty.

 

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4 thoughts on “Apathy in the UK

  1. Vote early and vote often, as they say in the US. Glad my fellow Edinburghers restored your faith in democracy. Next time, though, let me know you’re coming up.

  2. Quite right! I’m of the opinion that if you don’t vote and you have the right to, then you don’t have the right to complain about anything which happens where you live. Also, being a woman, I know how, in the UK, where I live, women from the past fought to vote verbally and physically. It may be too simple a message but for those who thought it important, we should agree that it is important to vote as a woman or man of any persuasion/orientation/change.

  3. I live on the boundary between 2 local authorities both of which have a distinctly blue hue. Both of them boast about how they keep their council tax levels low. People say ‘Isn’t it marvellous, we haven’t had a rise in YEARS!’ These, however, are the same people who complain about the potholes, the lack of maintenace or closure of public toilets, litter in the parks left uncollected…. Go figure, as they say.

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