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Election Husting on Wednesday 20th April 2011

Tuesday 12 April 2011, 17:20
By John Smith

Let's get the important stuff out of the way first.

Venue: King Arthur's School, West Hill, Wincanton BA9 9BX. Access is from the rear car park to The Performance Enhancement Centre (PEC).

Date: Wednesday 20th April.

Time: Doors open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.

Wincanton Businesses Together has sent a written invitation to all Town Council and District Council candidates asking them to attend and answer questions from the voting public. We invite all voters to attend this important event to listen to your candidates and how they answer the questions put to them. We will do our best to arrange the evening so that both Town and District candidates get a fair time to answer questions.

However, we are conscious that the evening does have a time limitation, so WBT will compile a master list of questions between now and the evening, and all candidates will be presented with a copy allowing them to give a reply before the Election Day. The results will be submitted to The Wincanton Window for publication. The answers may be available as a download to make it easier.

This whole evening is all about questions. It's an opportunity for the voting public to ask questions of the candidates. So, to make life as easy as possible we invite you all to send in your questions to be added to our list for the event. Send your questions to:

Wincanton Businesses Together, C/o Link House, West Hill, Wincanton, Somerset. BA9 9BY. Tel: 01963 34327 or e-mail your questions to:

We will try to have a table on the evening for any last minute questions to be recorded. WBT will vet the questions and cannot guarantee that all questions submitted will be asked on the night. However, as stated above, all genuine questions received will be added to the master list and be given to each candidate for their consideration and reply.

For your information the following candidates will be standing at the election, and have been sent a written invite to attend the husting.

Wincanton Town Council Candidates:

Colin Bowie
Richard Douglas D'Arcy
Christine Mary Dean
Robert Alan Dickinson
Jim Eastaugh
Maureen Emery
Dora Hibberd
Susan Patricia Ann Hinks
Colin Winder
Deryck Gordon Lemon
David John Norris
Bernard Stanley Pearson
Philip Rodgers
Ruby Shave
Edward Anthony Hoadley
Georgina Serena Ratcliff
Lynda Walters

Wincanton District Council Candidates:

David George Robert Carnegie - Green Party
Nick Colbert - The Conservative Party Candidate
Tim Daniel - Labour Party Candidate
Jane Lock - Liberal Democrats
Colin Winder - The Conservative Party Candidate

Why is this husting important for you? Because the coming election will see candidates voted into office, and those candidates will be responsible for the running of our communities, and all the services that this entails.

  • Do you know how The Town Council works?
  • What powers do councillors have as individuals and as a collective?
  • Why don't Town Council candidates have a political party next to their names?
  • What budget does the Town Council have to do its work?

Now ask the same questions of the District Council candidates and then add all the other questions that are important to you.

If that isn't enough for you, what's this AV (Alternative Vote) all about? Do you know? If not, come along and ask the question. To make sure that you vote from an informed point of view on the 5th May 2011, you need to submit all the questions that are important to you, and attend The Husting to hear the answers. How will this coming election affect our residential and business communities?

WBT is delighted to provide this facility for the people of Wincanton. Please put Wednesday 20th April 2011 in your diary and join us for "The Husting". If you have any questions please contact us and we will do our best to help you.

John Smith
Chairman, Wincanton Businesses Together




Comments

johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Husting Update
Reply #1 on : Tue April 12, 2011, 17:43:36
Thanks to new Town Council candidate Edward Hoadley for pointing out that the WBT invitation letter had all the information with the exception of the venue details. The question is......do we want a smart Alec for a Town Councillor. LOL

Well done Edward for showing some initiative, albeit at my expense. Good luck in the election. See you at the husting.
sam
Posts: 2
Comment
Wincanton Town Council
Reply #2 on : Wed April 13, 2011, 09:17:20
I would just like to add that as your event has a time limitation I would urge residents to come to the Community Office in the Town Hall to obtain information on what the role of a Councillor and the Town Council is.

The Town Council is a body corporate which means an individual Councillor has no statutory authority on his/her own. Wincantomn Town Council is non political and makes decisions as a Council for the good and benefit of the Town and it's residents.

Lastly to really see what the Town Council does and the powers it currently has, residents are welcome to attend any Council meeting and are encouraged to do so. The Annual Parish meeting will be held at the Town Hall on Thursday 28th April 2011 at 7pm. The meeting will provide the Annual Report and Financial Statement of the Town Council. Also at the meeting the Police, District and County Councillor and local organisations will be giving a report on their activities over the last year.

Alternatively the Current Councillors information is always on the Town Council website and will happy answer questions from the residents.

Sam Skirton
Wincanton Town Clerk
davidsmith
Posts: 2
Comment
Annual Parish Meeting on the Diary
Reply #3 on : Wed April 13, 2011, 10:10:35
Hello [Sam]. Regarding the Annual Parish Meeting on the 28th, it would be great if we could have the definitive details for the Diary. You've given a reasonable account above but if there's more involved outside the context of this article perhaps you/someone could submit it all as a full Diary entry.

In the interests of attracting people to the meeting perhaps a before/after article is in order too. Can anyone oblige?
sam
Posts: 2
Comment
Re: Election Husting on Wednesday 20<sup>th</sup> April 2011
Reply #4 on : Wed April 13, 2011, 11:41:59
Hi Dave,

I have emailed John Baxter to do an article. Shall I email you?
davidsmith
Posts: 2
Comment
Re: Election Husting on Wednesday 20<sup>th</sup> April 2011
Reply #5 on : Wed April 13, 2011, 13:19:28
No need to include me. I'll end up with the resulting article from John. He's back from his holiday now so all's well. Mandy would be next in line in his absence, but we've yet to arrange an official channel for her, as 'Associate Editor'. It's generally best to just email the Editor because that address can be redirect as necessary when John isn't available.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Candidates
Reply #6 on : Fri April 15, 2011, 08:45:04
The first candidates for the Town and District Councils have now confirmed that they will be attending. We look forward to hearing from the rest. Please confirm that you will/will not be attending so that we can make provision for refreshments.
Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 08:45:32 by johnsmith  
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Public
Reply #7 on : Fri April 15, 2011, 08:49:43
Don't forget to send in your questions. The earlier we receive your questions the better chance we have of asking them on the night. We will be limited to time, so don't delay.

Spread the word to all your friends. This is the first full Town Council Election for many, many years. Show all the candidates that you care about our town. Show the candidates that you care about them, and what they do.

Wincanton is a great place to live. We need to care about and stand up for our town. All these Town Council Candidates are volunteers. They want to see Wincanton thrive and prosper. But to do that they need to hear from all of you. We are all in this together. Make your voice heard.
johnbaxter
Posts: 1
Comment
Hustings
Reply #8 on : Fri April 15, 2011, 17:03:51
The three sections of the Hustings need to be kept seperate. Town council candidates are not party political appointments, but we do need to know about background, qualifications, expertise, interests and if possible achievements of candidates.

The district candidates are party political and need to comment on policies and to generally promote themselves, their background, experience, views and achievments.

The Alternative Vote discussion is quite seperate and should be discussed seperately for it is not a party political issue and relates to General Elections.

The Window is keen to publish statements and photos of all candidates, be they Town Council, or Distric council candidates. It is also keen to promote a debate about the Alternative Vote proposal. Send us your views.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Alternative Vote
Reply #9 on : Sat April 16, 2011, 08:39:00
You raise a very valid point John. Recent interviews on the streets show a clear picture, that lots and lots of people don’t know what AV is about, and that they don’t even know that there is a referendum on the subject on 5th May. Eddie Izzard the famous comedian and Labour supporter, and Kris Akabusi the UK Olympic gold medal winner, and Conservative supporter are supporters of the AV system. I’m sure that there are many prominent people against it too. So why is this causing such a stir at government level? Why is Nick Clegg so fired up about getting AV? Why does AV have people for an against in all parties?
I’m told that only three countries in the world use it. Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Australia, and that the Australians don't like it. They say that AV may lead to hung parliaments almost every election. Is that good for the UK or will that hinder the decision making process? The current situation in Libya shows that it is very difficult to make clear decisions when working in NATO. So many chiefs that taking an important decision is almost impossible. Do too many chiefs spoil the broth? That’s why it’s important to come along and take part on 20th April (Next Wednesday). This one discussion could actually change the face of both politics and government in the UK for generations to come.
I have a confession to make. I was one of the many who voted many years ago for the UK to join The EEC. I voted yes because it was sold as being the right way to level playing fields for the business communities. All businesses would pay the same border taxes/duties on goods. This was an amazingly good idea and worth of a yes vote.
However, along the way, and without the permission of the UK people, the EEC (European Economic Community) evolved to being The EU (European Union). So what you say. Well, without the permission of the voting public, successive governments have gradually given over to Brussels the majority of our legal powers. We have sold the family silver. In legal terms Brussels rules. Lose a court case in the UK and appeal in Brussels. When Europe passes a law, we have to obey. I for one didn’t vote for that. We are not a district of Europe. If the referendum on the 5th of May was to ask if we stay in Europe or come out, I for one would vote to come out. I believe that the unapproved decision to change the EEC to the EU has cost our nation dearly.
So, I urge all of you to join with us at King Arthur’s on 20th April to share in the debate about Town Council, District Council and The Alternative Vote. You vote most certainly does count. Make sure it counts for good. Make your votes considered votes. Don’t waste your vote. Use it wisely.
See you on the 20th.
Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 08:39:23 by johnsmith  
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
District Council Candidates
Reply #10 on : Sun April 17, 2011, 08:52:43
We are pleased to announce that the following candidates have confirmed that they will be with us.
Jane Lock – Liberal Democrat
Colin Winder – Conservative
Nick Colbert – Conservative

David Carnegie is on a family holiday otherwise he would have been glad to be with us.

Tim Daniel is away from the area on the day of the husting so can't be with us. However he has sent in a statement to be published and read out at the event. See comment below.
Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 13:33:11 by johnsmith  
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Town Council Candidates
Reply #11 on : Mon April 18, 2011, 10:47:05
We are pleased to announce that the following candidates will be attending the husting for The Town Council positions.

Colin Winder
Jim Eastaugh
Maureen Emery
Edward Hoadley
Lynda Walters
Dora Hibberd
Deryck Lemon


Georgina Ratcliff - Apology received (See following comment).
Ruby M Shave - Apology received.
Bernard Pearson - Apology received.
David Norris - Apology received. But hey, would you apologise if you were on a cruise? I hope David returns refreshed, if not rusty.

At the time of publishing we are waiting for replies from all the other candidates. We appreciate that this husting and election have been perfectly planned to coincide with a late Easter holiday period and a Royal wedding, so some candidates may be away on family holidays making it impossible for them to be with us.

For those who will be arround we hope that they will see this husting for what it is meant to be. A great opportunity to:

1 - Connect with the people you would like to vote for you.
2 - Help the process of restoring the confidence of the voting public in our logal government representatives, who as mainly a volunteer force, do such an amazingwork on our behalf with so little resources.

So if you are around please contact us to confirm that you will/will not be attending. This husting is for your benefit. Don't lose this golden opportunity.
Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 15:51:01 by johnsmith  
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Town Council Candidate - Georgina Ratcliff
Reply #12 on : Mon April 18, 2011, 10:51:12
Thanks to Georgina Ratcliff for her apologies. Georgina can't be with us for The Town Council Husting as she and he family will be out of the area on holiday. However Georgina has kindly sent us a short statement for the benefit of the voters.

Georgina says:

Although I have only lived in Wincanton for a year I have been visiting for a good few years as I have family living here and now regard this lovely little town my home.

Having always had an interest in local affairs I would welcome the opportunity to serve as a representative in the Town especially now that we may be entering a phase when "localism" may get to show its "teeth".

It is sad that Town Councillors have been representatives who were only able to give the community's viewpoint. Their opinions sought but largely overruled by higher authorities with little or no local knowledge or sympathies.

It is time for a change and although entering local politics will be virgin territory for me it may also prove challenging for all candidates.

In addition I have no set political leanings and feel this to be a distinct advantage. My only agenda will be to try to serve for the greatest benefit for the greatest number of residents.

This is not an easy time for our Country but it would be good to help a small but, for all the residents of Wincanton, the most important part of it.

You will all understand that I would bring to the table little in the way of experience but there is sometimes a lot to be said for a fresh pair of eyes.

I'm sure that we all wish Georgina and her family a nice refreshing holiday, and all the best for the election on 5th May.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
AV Referendum
Reply #13 on : Mon April 18, 2011, 11:49:32
WBT is please to advise that we have two brave souls who are willing to front the discussion for/against The Alternative Vote.

FOR:
Championed by Dr Derreck Hudson. Derek is former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Botswana (I am advised that Botswana may be the only country in Africa that has always remained solvent).

AGAINST:
Championed by Mr Nick Colbert, a well known local businessman, one of the founding partners of Colbert-Smith Estate agents. Nick has now retired and is looking to serve his community in a positive way.

Both will have 5 minutes to put their points simply and clearly to the audience. After both have spoken we will open up the meeting for questions from the audience.

It's vital that we all arrive at the referendum on 5th May with open eyes. This issue could change the face of politics for generations to come. We would encourage our two brave souls to do their best to keep to facts so that informed decisions can be made. Statements and assumptions that can't be proved don't help anyone.
Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 15:38:26 by johnsmith  
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Order of business for the evening, and House rules.
Reply #14 on : Mon April 18, 2011, 12:00:56
The order for the evening will be as follows.

6pm - Doors open for arrival of audience and candidates.

6:30pm - Statements from Town Council candidates and questions from the floor.

7:30/745pm - 15 minute break to refresh those parts that suffer during boring debates.

7:45pm - A debate and open forum on the Alternative Vote.

8:30pm - Statements from District Council candidates and questions from the floor.

The above times are a guideline only and will depend on the numbers of candidates who attend the husting and the number of questions that are asked.

House Rules:
The aim of this evening is to promote a healthy and honest debate about all the issues that are important in the forthcoming elections, to allow voters to arrive at their own considered opinions.

We expect all speakers to act with respect to the other candidates whether they agree with their opinions,or not. Whilst political debate is, and probably always will be a very personal thing, we will not accept any abuse of this privilege. If we have no other rights in this world, all of us have the right to be spoken to in a civil manor.

During the evening the chairman's decision (whether right or wrong) will be final, in all situations.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Election/Referendum Litterature.
Reply #15 on : Mon April 18, 2011, 12:11:01
We have been asked for permission for candidates to place leaflets on the seats and we have agreed. This is open to all candidates. However, if you place leaflets on the seats, you are responsible for collecting the left over leaflets at the end of the evening.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Spread the word.
Reply #16 on : Mon April 18, 2011, 12:27:00
With only a couple of days to go WBT has more or less done it's job. We count this event a big success already.

We have secured a venue.

We have written to all the candidates inviting them to this forum to meet with the voting public.

We submited information about this event to all printed media and TV and Radio stations relevant to this area.

We have published our article in The Wincanton Window, and submitted regular updates for all to read.

So, WBT has achieved it's goal. The ball is now firmly in the hands of the candidates. The only real decision to be taken is whether the candidates who are not away on family holidays, want to take part in the event.

We believe that whether political or not, if people are asking to be voted into a position to serve the community, they should be willing to meet with the voters and tell them why they want to serve and what they would like to see done to help further improve our community. They should be willing to answer questions from the voting public.

It is not the place of WBT to take sides in any such debate, or to criticise any candidate. The only critic in this event will be the voting public who attend. They and they alone will form vote making opinions about all candidates and what they have to say about local issues.

We hope that both candidates and the voting public will join WBT in making this event a major success from everyone's perspective.

As for WBT, I hope that we will contimnue to arrange husting for the benefit of all at all elections local and general alike.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Tim Daniel - Labour Candidate
Reply #17 on : Mon April 18, 2011, 13:36:58
Our thanks to Tim Daniel for contacting us with his apologies. Unfortunatelt Tim is out of the area on the day of the husting, but he has kindly supplied us with the following statement to help our voting public see where he is coming from.


Dear John

Hustings for the District Council elections of Thursday 5 May

Thank you for your kind invitation to the hustings on Wednesday 20 April. Unfortunately I am away that day and will not be able to attend, but I would be very grateful if you would kindly read the following statement from me at the part of the meeting for District Council candidates.

“I am a retired solicitor who has been a councillor before and want to give time to my local community again.

As the Labour candidate for Wincanton, I will campaign to defend our services from the worst excesses of Tory cuts and to keep and maintain vital local services. The reckless cuts being imposed on local authorities by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government are too far and too fast. They are driven not by the requirement to reduce the deficit resulting from the world banking crisis but by Tory dogma that rejects the concept of locally provided services - and are supported by Lib Dem ministers, who are leaving a trail of broken promises. The coalition government must not be allowed to destroy the investment in our schools and health and housing services that was built up so carefully over a decade by the last Labour government after years of Tory neglect.

I believe in the good society where all are supported to meet their aspirations or receive the back-up they need when times get tough.

As the District Council is not responsible for all the services on which you depend, I would use my role as a councillor to provide strong community leadership and lobby and influence those on whom you rely.

I would work with local businesses to attract investment and jobs, and would campaign to keep free parking to support the town centre and the shop-keepers. I would press for potholes in our roads to be dealt with swiftly and promote green energy to tackle fuel poverty. I would lobby the county council to retain support for our library services, the arts and lifelong learning, would talk with transport providers to improve your public transport, and would keep in contact with the police to keep our streets patrolled.

Labour continues to stand for fairness, investment in jobs and services, a growing economy, better schools, homes for local people backed up with local facilities, an expansion in green energy for our homes and better public transport.”

I hope that the hustings go well and I am very sorry not to be able to attend. Please give my apologies to the meeting and share this statement with them.

With best wishes

Tim Daniel
Labour Candidate for Wincanton Ward on South Somerset District Council
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Comment
Reply #18 on : Wed April 20, 2011, 09:56:52
Comment received by e-mail from ML in Sparkford.

"Won't an AV voting system promote MORE negative campaigning? It will be in a candidates interest to encourage supporters to put his/her closest rival into last place on the ballot by emphasising their worst points.
It will also encourage voters to spend as much time thinking about who they dislike as in deciding who they do like?

Thanks ML
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Question from SS of Wincanton
Reply #19 on : Wed April 20, 2011, 09:58:25
Jane Lock (Lib Dem) has assured me that there will be no parking charges in Wincanton under the Lib Dems & that the introduction of parking charges is purely scare mongering by other candidates.

Would ALL the candidates conform that this is correct and that they will oppose any future suggestion that charges are brought in?

And then, perhaps, we can all consider what is best for the town without being sidetracked by what are (apparently) irrelevant issues.

Thanks SS of Wincanton
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
The BIG DAY is here.
Reply #20 on : Wed April 20, 2011, 10:06:37
Well, it’s the big day. The Husting is here and I for one am looking forward to meeting those candidates who have confirmed their attendance, and any members of the public who come to join us.
Everyone tells me that arranging a husting is a hiding to nothing because people today are totally apathetic towards all things politics. That may be a part truth, but I do believe that in Wincanton there are some signs that that this apathy could be weakening, and that more and more people do care about what happens in local elections.
I appeal to all candidates and all residents and business people to stand up and show that they care about our fair town. On 5th May Town and District Councillors will be elected. They deserve to know that the people of this town will support them in the difficult job that they have. I believe that even if the candidate(s) that I vote for don’t get in, that I should do my best to support the candidates that do get in.
WBT does, and always will work with our Town and District, and County Councils for the betterment of Wincanton. There will be times when we are in bitter opposition, but overall we will always work with them.
So, tonight, whether there are half a dozen of us, or whether King Arthur’s is packed, WBT has done a great job, and we will seek to do this every election with the sole purpose of bringing town and officials together. Bringing Councils and residents/businesses together will help to restore faith in our local elections. For too long local elections have been seen as a safe protest vote aimed at the current governments.
Local elections used as a protest stick are wasted elections. Our local elections are, and should always be about local issues that affect us on a day by day basis. Don’t waste your vote. Make it count. Make Wincanton an even better place than it already is. By showing our councils that you care, you are encouraging them.
I encourage you all to go to the Parish open meeting on Thursday 28th April. Make it standing room only. Show your support to your Town Council, They deserve your whole hearted support. After all they are volunteers who care about Wincanton.
See you all tonight. Forget the TV. Come to The Husting at King Arthur’s.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
Questions
Reply #21 on : Wed April 20, 2011, 10:09:37
Thinking about SS from Wincanton and ML from Sparkford, follow their example. If you have any questions you would like to ask tonight, even if you can't be with us (better have a good excuse) add them as comments here and we aill pick them up and ask them tonight. Don't be bashfull.
Paul Reddick
Posts: 1
Comment
Re: Election Husting on Wednesday 20<sup>th</sup> April 2011
Reply #22 on : Wed April 20, 2011, 21:02:12
I thought the event was a useful one. Thanks to those who organised it and all those who participated.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
The Husting
Reply #23 on : Thu April 21, 2011, 09:59:23
Thanks Paul. It was good to have you with us last night, and thanks for your considered input. Hope to have you at the next one.
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
After the event.
Reply #24 on : Thu April 21, 2011, 10:00:07
On behalf of WBT I would like to register my grateful thanks to all who supported the Election Husting at King Arthur’s last night. Taking in to account that this happened in the middle of a school holiday period with many taking well deserved holidays, and the fact that we are now have a long weekend for Easter followed immediately by a long weekend for the Royal Wedding, we did pretty well. The audience, albeit not huge, participated well, asking searching questions.
I would like to thank the Town Council candidates and the District Council candidates for conducting themselves in a civil and constructive way. There were clearly tender issues that could have had the candidates at each other’s throats. However it was also clear that even across the political divides, all our candidates had many areas of common ground. I was left with no doubt whatsoever that all our candidates care very much for our community, and when called to do so, would work hard together for the benefit of our fair town. So a big thanks to you all.
I believe that the most important statement of the evening didn’t even come from a candidate. Alexandra Winder hit it on the nail when she reminded us that whatever our councillors and politicians decide will always be less than perfect, because when you get down to the very basics of speaking to the nation’s electorate on the streets or on the doorsteps, so many of them, are saying “Why should we bother? What difference does it make if we vote? Our votes don’t count.”
I think that this is a very sad statement, but unfortunately a true one. Over many years parties and politicians have jointly, and maybe even without realising it, brought the whole political scene to a place where the most important people of all (The voters) don’t really care. The voters are actually shouting very loudly indeed telling the politicians that they don’t vote because they don’t care. It seems that for many years the politicians have developed hearing difficulties.
While this situation persists, even if we change the voting system it will still not help because until the electorate are re-engaged and get to a place where they respect politicians we will be no further forward. Last night was only a very small step in a very local arena. I hope that WBT may have played even a tiny role in taking a step in the right direction. Let’s keep it going.
I would also extend my grateful thanks to the following folk who worked hard in the background to make the night successful
• Robin Hearn from Wincanton Baptist Church (WBC) who supplied the sound system and microphones.
• To WBC for the coffee mugs.
• Suzy Turner-Wilcockson who provided the refreshments and served them on the evening.
• SSDC (Churchfields) for the loan of the thermos flask.
• Dave Dolling the caretaker at King Arthur’s for setting up the comfortable seating.
James Phillips
Posts: 1
Comment
Re: Election Husting on Wednesday 20<sup>th</sup> April 2011
Reply #25 on : Fri April 22, 2011, 21:47:20
We should have political debates more often. Would enliven the town! Maybe an AV debate closer to the time?
johnsmith
Posts: 19
Comment
AV
Reply #26 on : Sat April 23, 2011, 22:41:24
Hi James
If we had more time I would agree. The husting was the best we could do in the circumstances. It's not easy to get a sensible venue when you have Easter holidays, schools out, and a Royal Wedding. We advertised widely in the printed media and radio as this was the meeting we invited all to attend. We had a good balance of people there. But I guess with this lovely weather people decided that they had better things to do with their time.

This means that a lot of people will go into the referendum without knowing what it's all about. The face of UK politics could be dramatically changed for generations to come.

As was said somewhere above, Alexandra Winder hit it on the nail. Unless we are able to engage all the young voters and show them that voting is important, the system doesn't matter. As it stand we will have to do an Australia and make it illegal not to vote. That would be a sad day in my book.
davidsmith
Posts: 1
Comment
Make it illegal not to vote?
Reply #27 on : Sun April 24, 2011, 02:23:48
As controversial is it may sound, I'm fairly sure that if the Australians ran into trouble with the change to their voting system it might have originated from the concept that it's surely better NOT to vote than to vote ignorantly.

In an ideal world everyone would educate themselves about important political issues and then vote intelligently. In this far less ideal world every voter who - for example - votes Labour because they've "voted labour for 25 years" and every student who feels obliged to vote because their parents pressure them into it because of its "paramount importance to society" despite not knowing who they're voting for, or why, serves only to dilute the overall legitimacy of the 'educated vote' from everyone else.

I feel it's best I don't vote on this matter until I'm confident I have enough information on which to make a good decision. Should I fail to prioritise and find the time to get educated, it's still best I don't vote.

I believe that, rather unfortunately, something horrific like 70% or more of the British population vote blindly as above, and it's that which is the root cause of damage to the electoral system.

So FORCING people to vote only serves to exaggerate/accentuate the dynamic described above, leading to further degradation of... well, democracy I s'pose.

Ultimately, while getting more people to vote should boost the accuracy of the outcome as an indication of what the country wants/needs, the priority needs to be educating people on real and specific political issues so that not only will they feel strongly enough about said issues to actually bother voting, they'll also feel confident enough to vote in the first place, and contribute a meaningful vote. Forcing more people to vote blindly, or even randomly, will only cause more problems.
Last Edit: April 24, 2011, 02:29:22 by davidsmith  

Posts: 1
Comment
Hustings and AV Vote
Reply #28 on : Mon April 25, 2011, 19:28:19
Whilst it would have been nice for a larger audience to attend the hustings to discuss AV, I don't think you need worry, John, that "a lot of people will go into the referendum without knowing what it's all about." There's a great deal of information from both camps coming through the letterbox just now and for those that want to know more about it, the resources both on and offline are not exactly difficult to find.

Moving to Dave's comment, I agree that uneducated voting is unhelpful, but I believe there is a much larger group of people with perfectly educated opinions who simply don't bother to vote at all. Compulsory voting would round those votes up and those with unformed opinions might take a little more interest in the matter if they knew they had to vote. I'm for it.

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