THE NEWSDESK: Bad turnout is nothing for political parties to crow about

A Polling Station was held at  Caerleon Town Hall for the European Elections.  Pictured is a voter entering the Polling Station. (6458257)

A Polling Station was held at Caerleon Town Hall for the European Elections. Pictured is a voter entering the Polling Station. (6458257)

First published in News
Last updated

THE sight of party leaders tussling over who did best in last week's election would be laughable if it were not so tragic.

Here's the reality - with a turnout of less than 30 per cent in a number of areas of Gwent, the best turnout in Monmouthshire still being just 34 per cent, how can any of you now argue that you have a mandate?

The Welsh turnout figure was 32 per cent - up from the 30 per cent in 2009.

But last week 68 per cent of the electorate simply couldn't be bothered. Hardly figures of which to be proud.

Steve Brooks, director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru, had said last Friday: "Whilst this low turn-out is far from surprising it should provide a wake-up call that business as usual cannot carry on.

“Interest in European affairs has rarely been higher in the minds of voters, yet the scene of empty polling stations this week highlights the lack of enthusiasm voters have in European democracy.

"Whoever is elected this weekend must commit to being a loud voice in Brussels for democratic reform. We need to give the Assembly and Westminster a greater role in scrutinising UK ministers attending high-level European meetings. We need to slim down the super sized European Commission, and end the arrangement where the European Parliament sits in Strasbourg for some of the time".

I don't think the figures are merely indicative of cynicism about Europe. I think the turnout also says something about British politics as a whole.

Is that low turnout a surprise, given that Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are now so alike, few could tell them apart?

How many of you could name all the Welsh Euro MPs elected in 2009? How many could name all the AMs representing this area?

It's a symptom of a wider malaise. Career politicians, they say nothing to us about our lives.

They do not understand our struggles. Either their upper middle class lives will never be like ours, or they are subsumed into a political system and lose touch with their roots.

And if anyone thinks Nigel Farage is different in that, you're very misguided. Privately-educated, privileged in a way we are not. He's part of the same establishment which has turned off so many voters.

Despite the vast amount of airtime devoted to him by some broadcasters, he's a one-trick pony appealing to people's fears who hasn't got the foggiest idea how to run a modern economy. Heck, his lot couldn't even organise a carnival.

And that's the place politics in this country must always come back to: it's the economy, stupid.

I make no apologies for quoting Bill Clinton, because he is a figure which we sorely lack.

A politician who instinctively understands what motivates people, who knows how to connect with them, who people want to claim as their own, whatever his pecadillos.

Someone who knows that policy must improve the economic life of the ordinary voter.

In the Valleys heartlands which would normally be a Labour mainstay, turnout figures were very poor.

Both Caerphilly and Torfaen saw a 29 per cent turnout.

In Blaenau Gwent, it was just 27 per cent.

It didn't surprise me. Labour voters are waiting for someone with an idea, a campaign of hope to inspire them to the ballot box.

Never has Labour swept to power in Westminster without that.

And apart from his energy company policy, they've yet to see that big idea from Ed Miliband.

They've seen one goal, they'd hoped for so many more.

But if I'm critical of politicians, I'm also critical of the electorate.

It's no good simply blaming politicians when we should be demanding so much more of them.

We should be looking for those politicians who will connect with us and will inspire us.

I had a conversation with someone who didn't vote this week. The reason? They'd have to find out about each party's policies and didn't know where to start.

Never has there been so much information available to an electorate at the click of a mouse.

Yet never has an electorate been so uninformed about the issues.

If this week those who did not vote suddenly find the people saying things for them in Europe are saying things they really don't like, there really is no one else to blame.

Comments (9)

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3:46pm Sun 25 May 14

KarloMarko says...

You may say that but I am really anticipating the first "UKIP Back to the Future" government under "Nige."

Dixon of Dock Green on TV, pubs closed on Sundays, stale grey ham in the butchers, "No coloured" signs on doorways, the smell of overcooked cabbage....but with red back on the empire map, "Europe" and its filthy ideas cut off by fog and Woodbines and nylons penny. A world fit for travelling salesmen. And their ladies.

Shame Sid James isn't still around to see it. But Nigel is. Top banker.
You may say that but I am really anticipating the first "UKIP Back to the Future" government under "Nige." Dixon of Dock Green on TV, pubs closed on Sundays, stale grey ham in the butchers, "No coloured" signs on doorways, the smell of overcooked cabbage....but with red back on the empire map, "Europe" and its filthy ideas cut off by fog and Woodbines and nylons penny. A world fit for travelling salesmen. And their ladies. Shame Sid James isn't still around to see it. But Nigel is. Top banker. KarloMarko
  • Score: -1

4:13pm Sun 25 May 14

coalpicker says...

KarloMarko wrote:
You may say that but I am really anticipating the first "UKIP Back to the Future" government under "Nige."

Dixon of Dock Green on TV, pubs closed on Sundays, stale grey ham in the butchers, "No coloured" signs on doorways, the smell of overcooked cabbage....but with red back on the empire map, "Europe" and its filthy ideas cut off by fog and Woodbines and nylons penny. A world fit for travelling salesmen. And their ladies.

Shame Sid James isn't still around to see it. But Nigel is. Top banker.
Clearly a window into your intellect .
[quote][p][bold]KarloMarko[/bold] wrote: You may say that but I am really anticipating the first "UKIP Back to the Future" government under "Nige." Dixon of Dock Green on TV, pubs closed on Sundays, stale grey ham in the butchers, "No coloured" signs on doorways, the smell of overcooked cabbage....but with red back on the empire map, "Europe" and its filthy ideas cut off by fog and Woodbines and nylons penny. A world fit for travelling salesmen. And their ladies. Shame Sid James isn't still around to see it. But Nigel is. Top banker.[/p][/quote]Clearly a window into your intellect . coalpicker
  • Score: -6

4:25pm Sun 25 May 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

As I've argued for a while, the group that really controls Britain are not the ostensibly democratically elected representatives of the people, but the hyper-wealthy minority of tabloid media barons who control society through their propaganda tactics of misreporting and misinformation. Does the 'surprisingly sudden' success of the heterosexist, gendernormative, homophobic and transphobic religious fundamentalist fanatical Ukip (aka the British Taliban) show this, one wonders? Somewhat intriguing though, that their policies just happen to *coincidentally* fall in with the vested interests of the reigning power junta of right-wing journos if not, eh?;)
As I've argued for a while, the group that really controls Britain are not the ostensibly democratically elected representatives of the people, but the hyper-wealthy minority of tabloid media barons who control society through their propaganda tactics of misreporting and misinformation. Does the 'surprisingly sudden' success of the heterosexist, gendernormative, homophobic and transphobic religious fundamentalist fanatical Ukip (aka the British Taliban) show this, one wonders? Somewhat intriguing though, that their policies just happen to *coincidentally* fall in with the vested interests of the reigning power junta of right-wing journos if not, eh?;) Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: -2

5:59pm Sun 25 May 14

Banjalucka says...

Whatever, they are all in in it for cash. The advent of UKIP. like them or not, has given voters more options which should make the other parties to realise how out of touch they are.
Whatever, they are all in in it for cash. The advent of UKIP. like them or not, has given voters more options which should make the other parties to realise how out of touch they are. Banjalucka
  • Score: 3

7:57pm Sun 25 May 14

Woodgnome says...

Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option.
Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option. Woodgnome
  • Score: 4

10:28am Tue 27 May 14

Mr Angry says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option.
Rubbish, I didnt vote, I have no intention of ever doing so
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option.[/p][/quote]Rubbish, I didnt vote, I have no intention of ever doing so Mr Angry
  • Score: -1

2:13pm Tue 27 May 14

varteg1 says...

Mr Angry wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option.
Rubbish, I didnt vote, I have no intention of ever doing so
So all benefits and social arrangements you currently are engaged in, NHS, State pension, etc., should be made over to private organisations for the likes of you.

You refuse to engage, then you should be taken out of the equation.
[quote][p][bold]Mr Angry[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option.[/p][/quote]Rubbish, I didnt vote, I have no intention of ever doing so[/p][/quote]So all benefits and social arrangements you currently are engaged in, NHS, State pension, etc., should be made over to private organisations for the likes of you. You refuse to engage, then you should be taken out of the equation. varteg1
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Tue 27 May 14

Mr Angry says...

I fail to see the relevance of your incoherent rant to my choice to excersise my right not to vote
I fail to see the relevance of your incoherent rant to my choice to excersise my right not to vote Mr Angry
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Fri 30 May 14

Mervyn James says...

Mr Angry wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option.
Rubbish, I didnt vote, I have no intention of ever doing so
So I ask WHAT are you doing here discussing anything to do with politics ? You don't count and an non-vote doesn't. Just leave it to those of us who do care what happens. regardless of your justified apathy you cannot influence a thing. The UKIP and other fringe parties love people like you. More UK voters are now admitted racists as well, and I suspect a few more were too ashamed to admit it. Come vote time we may well see the closet racists voting against established parties. Racism has been fed by newspapers and other media, there are people here who hate welsh and the welsh language, Scottish Independence or Irish ones, and condemn any sort of freedoms they aspire too. All fed by the daily wailers shouting doom and more doom for anyone who thinks, OK time up for the 'UK' been there done that, fed up of London lording it over us, it is clear London and the southern east counties are a law to themselves, and totally divorced from the rest of their 'UK' because migrants rule there.
[quote][p][bold]Mr Angry[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Make voting compulsory. Copping out shouldn't be an option.[/p][/quote]Rubbish, I didnt vote, I have no intention of ever doing so[/p][/quote]So I ask WHAT are you doing here discussing anything to do with politics ? You don't count and an non-vote doesn't. Just leave it to those of us who do care what happens. regardless of your justified apathy you cannot influence a thing. The UKIP and other fringe parties love people like you. More UK voters are now admitted racists as well, and I suspect a few more were too ashamed to admit it. Come vote time we may well see the closet racists voting against established parties. Racism has been fed by newspapers and other media, there are people here who hate welsh and the welsh language, Scottish Independence or Irish ones, and condemn any sort of freedoms they aspire too. All fed by the daily wailers shouting doom and more doom for anyone who thinks, OK time up for the 'UK' been there done that, fed up of London lording it over us, it is clear London and the southern east counties are a law to themselves, and totally divorced from the rest of their 'UK' because migrants rule there. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

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