Monday 27 January 2003

Frankly, they don't give a damn!

George Kerevan (a Scotsman correspondent with libertarian tendencies) writes that the Apathy party heads for a landslide win in the coming Scottish elections:
One shock finding is the substantial number of people consciously not voting, as opposed to circumstances such as illness or non-registration making it hard for them to get to the polls.
So what's to be done?
An all-party committee of MSPs issued a call to allow teenagers as young as 16 to have the vote, in a bid to end voter apathy
But those born after 1981 are currently the least likely to vote, with 61.8% abstaining in the 2001 general election. Adding a cohort of even younger people to the electoral roll would surely increase the proportion of non-voters. Mr Kerevan is right in saying:
The malaise in voter turnout lies in the performance of the parties and politicians themselves, especially in Scotland. Voters face ideological sameness, following the downgrading of Scottish independence by the SNP and the Tory eschewal of tax cuts. Voters also face the prospect of a semi-permanent Labour/Lib Dem Executive coalition, virtually regardless of how they cast their ballots. Either Scotland’s politicians offer the voters greater choice and mean it in practice, or the Apathy Party will win.
It's time for a real choice. The Tories have nothing to gain by positioning themselves as yet another social-democratic high-tax party.