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Not Apathetic

Tell the world why you're not voting - don't let your silence go unheard

They're not voting because...

The systems rigged so that only the ...

The systems rigged so that only the two main parties have a chance. Why should I vote if my vote doesnt make the slightest difference? Bring on proportional representation.

written 18th Apr 2005

Responses

Jax replies: So Vote Lib Dem.
They want to bring proportional representation in.

written 18th Apr 2005

Alan Howlett replies: There are good points to proportional representation... and bad points too.

I am sharing the Labour Party Nomination for the Chilwell and Toton seat in Nottinghamshire County Council with Maggie Garrett, an experienced and capable politician who is also a Broxtowe Borough Council Councillor.

In Divisions which elect only 1 Councillor, you know that your vote may or may not help return this person, and any record you have of their proficiency will help inform you as to what to do.

In Divisions that elect more than 1 Councillor (or MP), if you use a List system then the Party gets to choose who gets elected first, not the voters. For example, if I were really popular in the Labour Party but a totally useless Councillor but Maggie was unpopulare in the Labour Party despite being an excellent Councillor then my name would appear first on the ballot paper. The result would be that ordinary voters wouldn't have the ability to select Maggie and get rid of me!

Whatever system you have has faults- the problem is how to minimise them.

If you are serious about wanting to change things, join a political party and fight for the issues you care about.

written 18th Apr 2005

jon replies: Agree with the last sentence Alan, but that takes hard work and commitment...;-)

written 18th Apr 2005

jon replies: Agree with the last sentence Alan, but that takes hard work and commitment...;-)

written 18th Apr 2005

chrisj replies: I understand why fighting for issues that you care about can help change things, but as far as I can see joining a political party only seems to help the current entrenchment of political representation. The current system is far from my ideal of democracy.

written 18th Apr 2005

L Taylor replies: Commitment to what? To towing the line of the party leader? (and that applies to both main parties who seem unable to tolerate alternative opinions within their respective parties)

written 18th Apr 2005

Stuart Robinson replies: Alan: This only applies if you use a flawed system, such as the list system. In my home country, Australia, it is indeed possible to redistribute the votes so as to personally order every candiate on every list as you see fit. Though this can be very tedious (especially on our Senate votes, where there can be over 100 candidates), it affords one a sense that you voted for the people you wanted, not just what the political leaders want. This option is chosen by around 5% of voters each election, over the 'pick a pre-allocated list' option.

written 19th Apr 2005

Alan Howlett replies: The fundamental problem is that all political systems are broken in one way or another, whether it's political parties or not, voting systems, or methods to lobby politicians.

Taking each of my wild claims in turn:
Political parties should operate so that they have full discussion of the issues in private, followed by agreement on a policy that can be taken in public. This is great in that it allows the whole party to make a good policy choice and then pursue it as a group. But... if the leadership is dictatorial then the people with good ideas won't be heard!
Alternatively, if you go for the independent candidates it is very hard to have any depth of understanding of the policies they will pursue. Whilst some independents can be very good they can also be very difficult rebellious people who can so offend council officials that the officials refuse to work with them!

Voting systems are also faulty because they can't simultaneously solve all the problems, such as:
a. The public find it easier to work with named individuals rather than a group. This means that first-past-the-post is a good choice and that party lists are unhelpful.
b. Voters want their opinions counted, so if you want to vote for a minority party in your area your vote doesn't matter.
We could of course use IT to tackle this differently- we could get individuals to vote for candidates and the candidates with most votes get elected. Each candidate in council would carry as many votes as he was elected in. IT systems could allocate each voter to an elected official on the basis of how they voted, etc..
BUT... it's messy and people will not understand it.

Finally, lobbying is broken. How do you really know what your constituents want? How do you weigh up the number of people and depth of their feeling? There are local plans to introduce a tram system. Some people who live near to the route are really upset about it, but many more people who live just a little further away are happy about getting the system. Whose side should I support (I'll ignore issues like finance and technical stuff)?

I don't know that we ever can fix these problems to everyone's satisfaction- if someone has the solution then I'd love to hear it!

written 2nd May 2005

About Not Apathetic

NotApathetic was built so that people who are planning not to vote in the UK General Election on May 5th can tell the world why. We won't try to persuade you that voting is a good or a bad idea - we're just here to record and share your explanations. Whether ideological, practical or other, any reason will do.

A lot of users would like us to mention that if you spoil your ballot paper, it will be counted. So if you want to record a vote for "none of the above", you can.

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