Friday, May 02, 2003

Voter Apathy

Yesterday was the voting day for the Local Council Elections, where less than 50% of the population could be bothered to get out and exercise it's democratic rights. Considering we've just had a highly contentious war in Iraq, which has raised political awareness, you would have thought that more people would have had their say. Why bother "fighting for freedom and democracy" in Iraq, when no-one at home can be bothered to vote? If the majority of the people don't care about democracy, why should we fight for it elsewhere? People can't be bothered to vote, yet they want all the benefits of living in a free, liberal democracy, because anytime the government threatens one of their rights, people are up in arms about it.

It seems nonsensical to me - people want the benefits of democracy, but not the responsibility, and then complain when parties like the BNP get council seats in Burnley or Oldham. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE, PEOPLE! If you don't vote, you lose all your rights to complain, because you were too lazy to exercise what little political power you have to change things to your liking.

Case in point: I live in Surrey, classic Tory Heartland, where Labour save their deposit fees and don't stand candidates. It's been Tory for the last, ooooh, 400 years or something, but do I not bother going out to vote? No. I get my voting card and vote Lib Dem, because a) it's my political preference anyway, and b) because I don't want to live in a Tory dominated council that hiked my Council Tax fees by 18% this year. The result? I help 5 more Lib Dems and 2 Independents get on the council. Sure, the Conservatives still have overall control, but I can honestly feel that my vote has made a difference, and it sets up the council next election for a Lib Dem takeover, if the Conservative Party doesn't get it's act together and continues to self-destruct.

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