The Local Elections have come and gone and as I write this the vote is still being counted. There has been no change in the area that I live in, we still have a labour run council, however Manchester has rejected the idea to have a major who is elected directly by the people, similar to the process in London, where Boris Johnson (Con) and Ken Livingston (Lab) are currently battling it out. Currently Boris is in the lead, which is unsurprising, he’s charismatic, though as I don’t live in London, I can’t comment on the changes that have occured since Ken lost his mayoral position to Boris back in 2007.
The voter turnout this year was pretty low, they reckon only 32% of registered voters bothered to make the trip to their local polling station.
This is quite depressing when you think about it but I think Angela in Edinburgh has hit the nail on the head when she said “I voted because women died to get me the vote. I can, however, understand why people don’t bother. We did at the general election but ended up with a non-democratically-elected coalition. No wonder people are apathetic. No point in voting, the parties will do what they want anyway.”
yesterday, @cjgrinbergs made a very good point on this blog that perhaps the way politics is represented in this country through the media, rather than the voting system itself shoud be addressed – and he’s probably right.
George in Birmingham (Hello George) emailed the BBC News website this morning to say that most of his friends “didn’t even know about the council elections, let alone where the polling station was” and he goes on to place the blame on the councillors on their lack of promotion – so one could argue that the apathy has stretched to the council iteslf (though lets be fair, it would be a very weak argument)
So as it stands if we were in a general election, Labour would win with an overall majority of 86 seats. Pretty impressive and certainly this is a statistic not to be ignored, but the numbers over the coming days are going to be twisted and manipulated by both the government and the opposition.
The conservatives today will need to acknowledge that they have taken a battering, but rather than talk about their loss of seats, they will say that it was an even worse day for labour as they didn’t do as well as they expected.
Labour will say the result is a message from the people to the coalition that their austerity policies are not working and that it is time to listen – which the government probably wont.
The poor Liberal Democrats, who 5 years ago was a pretty legitimate “third party” have really just destroyed themselves. A party who seemed to stand for all the same things I do, sold out for power, it’s my opinion and this is matched by many, however often they say “we’ve taken tough, unpopular decisions in the national interest” it’s hard to see the Nick Clegg is nothing more than human shielding for David Cameron as his implements an ideological agenda, which has resulted in a double dip recession, I read today that for every day this coalition government has been in power 624 jobs have been lost in the public sector – unemployment could rise to 9% and there is very little growth; though the Times rich list has confirmed that the richest in society are just over 4% richer than they were and benefits are being cut for the underclasses of society.
This wasn’t an election that would actually change the direction of the government. Cameron and coalition would loose all credibility among their cronies should they decide to take a new course and should they, Labour would use it as ammunition, rather than simply saying “Thank you”.
Politics is a filthy dirty business and I’m glad I’m only watching from the sidelines sometimes. I’m glad I voted, I pray a message has been sent and I hope that someone is listening.