Saturday 10 January 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015 Posted by Jake 1 comment Labels: , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Saturday, January 10, 2015 with 1 comment | Labels: , , , , , , , ,

The main political parties try desperately to seduce supporters away from UKIP and the SNP. Famous politicians cover up their extensive blemishes, prepare their little speeches, and go out to campaign with all the insincerity of teenage Lotharios collecting kisses. They chase the national flags relentlessly. But they leave undisturbed a far larger untapped reservoir of votes: all the people who don’t vote at all. Why is that?

In the 2010 UK General Election there were seven parties that took more than 250,000 votes. 

These seven were dwarfed by the number who didn't vote at all. The most successful party in 2010, the Conservatives, took just under 11 million votes. About twice this number, 22 million, didn’t vote, comprised of:

Figures from the Electoral Commission for the 2010 General Election show the large number of MPs who owe their jobs to these voters not turning up. No MP that year had the support of more than 46% of registered voters in their own constituency.

293 MPs won their seats with the votes of fewer than 1 in 3 of their constituency's registered voters (less than 30%). 

5 of these MPs had the support of fewer than 1 in 5 of their registered voters (less than 20%). 

If the party strategists dug a little deeper into those who didn't vote in 2010 they would find a sleeping giant. However, would they actually want to wake it?

To understand why they may rather let this sleeping giant slumber take a look at results from a survey by the Hansard Society. This asked various groups how many would definitely vote at the next election:

Least likely to vote among these groups are the young, the poor, and ethnic minorities. Each of them are economically disadvantaged. 

a) The Young: A Joseph Rowntree Trust report states 70% of people under 22 are in low pay jobs.

b) Social Class "DE" includes semi and unskilled workers and those dependent on welfare. These are not only on very low incomes. According to a report commissioned by the Department of Health they also die faster! This graph, from the Marmot Report, shows the mortality rate for men aged 25 to 64 years. The graph is divided into social classes (I (highest) to V (lowest), and also divided into Employed and Unemployed:

c) Ethnic Minorities: According to a report by the Department of Works and Pensions, nearly 40% of ethnic minority households are in "relative low income". This is twice the rate for white households:
So why wouldn't the political parties want to wake up these non-voters? Sadly politics is a short-termist game. In the short-term the quickest way to give one group more is to give another group less. If the economically disadvantaged groups have removed themselves from the political process, then there is no political cost in giving them less. Something both Labour and Conservative are well aware of.

Fans of J.R.R.Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga may remember Aragorn winning a great battle by raising the army of the dead. Aragorn successfully canvassed the ghosts with the promise of releasing them from a curse.

Will any political party have the courage to rouse the 22 million un-dead non-voters? By adopting policies that would release them from the curse of deprivation? And win the great General Election battle with their support?

We will do an analysis of non-voting by constituency pretty soon, and will link to it when it is ready. 

**Added 16th January 2015: link to online voter registration: **

1 comment:

  1. National Audit Office, Jan 2015:

    "There would be nearly 20,000 fewer deaths from cancer each year if mortality rates for all socio-economic groups were the same as for the least deprived."


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