Why are vot­ers so ap­a­thetic?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

YOUR cov­er­age of the elec­tion shows that there were 43 coun­cil­lors elected on May 3. Of those, 28 were Con­ser­va­tive, eight were Lib­eral Democrats, five in­de­pen­dents and two Labour. We Lib­eral Democrats did achieve a rea­son­able num­ber, al­though ac­cord­ing to na­tional sta­tis­tics we might have hoped for 25 per cent or so of the elected coun­cil. Those who pre­fer lo­cal gov­ern­ment to be free of party pol­i­tics have five rep­re­sen­ta­tives. What about the other two par­ties? If you spoke to 43 av­er­age Ash­for­dians in the High Street and asked them if they sup­ported the Con­ser­va­tive Party, would 28 of them say yes? On the other hand, would only two (14 times as few) say that they sup­ported Labour? If not, what is wrong? There was noth­ing wrong with the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the elec­tion by David Hill and his team. So some­thing else must be wrong. Why did the turnout vary from 20 per cent in Stan­hope (ap­palling) to 60.1 per cent (fair) in Weald North, with an av­er­age of about 40 per cent? The two main prob­lems seem to be ut­ter ap­a­thy and the elec­toral sys­tem. Why are other coun­tries’ pop­u­la­tions so in­volved and en­thused in their pol­i­tics? Does any­body care about this? Stu­art Dove, Can­ter­bury Road, Brabourne Lees, Ash­ford. How­ever, like a lat­ter day Regi­nald Per­rin, with the rise came the in­evitable fall. And a sub­se­quent Down­ing Street de­par­ture un­der far darker clouds than the “whiter than white”’ ones on which he swept to power 10 years ago. While opin­ions will un­doubt­edly dif­fer, there can be lit­tle ar­gu­ment that his over­rid­ing legacy will in­ex­orably be linked to the Mid­dle East and the stains of war which no amount of de­luded self­con­vic­tion can erase. Though reneg­ing on his pledge to serve a full third term and rid­ing off into what is bound to be a most lu­cra­tive global sun­set, the sword of Damo­cles, that is the catas­tro­phe of Iraq, will hang over Tony Blair’s head for as long as it takes to re­solve what has be­come a ter­ri­ble and damn­ing in­dict­ment on his judge­ment and moral courage. Cllr Michael Claughton (Con), Maid­stone Road, Ash­ford.

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