Reconnecting with the voters

If we really want the parties to reconnect with voters, we should import – from Australia, say, or Brazil – a far more important innovation: compulsory voting. Obliging people to cast a ballot may sound illiberal: but it has the huge advantage of forcing political parties “to reach beyond their comfort zone”. Labour could no longer seek to win elections by “wooing public sector, welfare-dependent and unionised voters”, or the Tories by wooing “the propertied, wealthy and rural”. It would also put an end to the favouritism shown to older voters. That 76% of pensioners voted in 2010, but only 44% of eligible first-time voters did, explains why the heaviest cuts have fallen on younger people with families. With compulsory voting, parties would have to consider the effects of their policies on everyone. Insisting that voters devote 20 minutes of their time once every four or five years to the act of voting seems a small price to pay.  (Tim Montgomerie,  The Times).

 Yes, this is very do-able and it works fine in countries like Australia. Opponents would be libertarians (wrongly , in my opinion.  A government should govern for all the people, and all the people should get to choose).  The other people who would strongly object are the very people who have been trying to prevent the poor and  people of colour (a.k.a presumed Democrats) from voting, or gerrymandering the constituency boundaries, which amounts to the same thing.  In any case, not voting is not some kind of political statement  – it’s a lazy person’s cop- out.  Every citizen should vote!


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