Tag Archives: voter apathy

The Core Vote

Through the feeds of politics-internet I haven’t been able to escape the BMG research on the UK’s political clans (find out yours here). If you’ve managed to escape the discussion there’s more information in The Independent (and a more in depth report here), but basically it splits people into ten values and identity groups and then analyses how each vote, essentially highlighting how fractured the current alignments are and how little the current party system reflects these clans.

For liberals of all stripes, the initial findings can be disheartening. People with explicitly authoritarian beliefs make up the largest part of the electorate at 38 percent. Those who might broadly be termed liberal are a much smaller group.

It’s not scientific, but the smattering of polls in various Lib Dem online discussion forums suggest that roughly two thirds of our members are ‘Orange Bookers’ (OBs). This is a group who favour market solutions but are broadly in favour of redistribution and government intervention when the evidence supports it. They’re supportive of free trade, free movement of people and are optimistic about multiculturalism. Another third are ‘Global Green Community’ (GGC). BMG define these as those with a more interventionist view on the economy, but with liberal and environmentalist stances on social issues. They want government to pursue an ethical foreign policy, and have little interest in the nation-state, preferring a civic interpretation of Britishness. After that we have a small smattering of members who fall into one or two other camps.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

Tim Farron: Politics needs a sense of vision

There’s an article Thursday’s Guardian which compares the level of campaigning activity in two seats, one with the lowest turnout in the country, Manchester Central, and one with a high turnout, Tim Farron’s Westmorland and Lonsdale.

The report argues that the poorest and most vulnerable feel that voting is pointless as nobody will do anything to serve their interests, while in more affluent areas, people are more inclined to vote, creating a major democratic deficit.

I feel I have been forcibly excluded from participating in politics and the issues that are of interest to me and my children,” said Ray Linton, 58, a former youth worker who has been unemployed for eight years. “They think speaking on TV is all they need to do. Everything is distant now.”

Powell’s Liberal Democrat opponent, John Reid, admitted that the level of campaigning in the constituency was “depressing”. “I grew up seeing every house with a poster or board outside,” he said. “Then you go through Manchester Central and you don’t know there’s an election.

In contrast, on Tim Farron’s patch:

Within minutes of starting canvassing on the Kirkbarrow estate, three drivers have honked and waved at the candidate. Skateboarding children yelp excitedly: “It’s Tim Farron”, a resident in pink slippers collars him to complain about Poles leapfrogging the council housing list, and Calum, eight, invites him for a kickabout, which he immediately accepts, going in goal and high-fiving Calum when they score.

As an aside, you do actually need to click on the article to see the wonderful photograph of Tim’s face as the football heads for him.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments
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