A new poll conducted by the Guardian and ICM concluded that the dramatic drop-off in British voting is the result of anger, not apathy. Brits still talk about politics, think about politics, and view the decisions that politicians make as important to their daily lives. They're just incredibly angry with politicians, whom they view as lying and undifferentiated in their views and actions. Basically, Russell Brand was right.
And the poll reflects my own view pretty well, too. My MP, Meg Hillier, has a safe Labour seat. She personally spearheaded the push for an all-recording, all-surveilling National Identity Card; voted for the Digital Economy Act; and was part of the New Labour government that went to war in Iraq; added fuel to the property speculation bubble; gutted unions' right to strike; and let the finance industry confiscate the world's wealth in a crooked, unregulated casino game.
Last election, I voted for the LibDems, who've since broken practically all of their campaign promises, and voted in favour of a system of secret courts where you and your lawyer aren't allowed to review the evidence against you. So much for "the party of liberty."
So who do you vote for? Pirates? Greens? As the 2015 election draws nearer, I'm certainly going to be looking more closely at both of those parties. I can't imagine voting for Labour or the LibDems at this point.
In the week that the former Labour minister Denis MacShane was jailed for fraud, the continuing damage done to parliament's reputation by the expenses scandal of 2009 is also plain – 46% of respondents identify the sense that "MPs are just on the take" as a thought that would discourage them from turning up at the polling station.
Only around a third of potential voters, 34% of the total, say they are put off by careerist candidates who "don't say what they believe". Just 26% regard the parties as "so similar that [voting] makes little difference", and only 25% see the failure of the parties to "represent my mix of views" as a particular problem.
Fury with MPs is main reason for not voting – poll [Tom Clark and Rowena Mason/The Guardian] DiscussNext post