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A SURGE IN INTEREST April 23, 2010

Posted by wmmbb in Global Electoral Politics.

Yes, indebtedness is the highest it has ever been in Britain. The interesting surge that is occurring is that among the punters.

Sometimes, it can be forgotten that compulsory voting is not the norm everywhere, and one way of coping, or form of political contrivance is withdrawing from the electoral process. Then, as now seems to be happening in Britain, the punters start getting interested. Perhaps only to be as Carl Sandburg might say to be disappointed with the result, but hope is triumphant in its moment.

Polly Curtis in The Guardian notes:

The number of people registering to vote has increased markedly, adding a new generation of voters to the electorate and making the outcome of the election even more volatile, according to a survey of marginal constituencies conducted by the Guardian.

Figures collected from more than 20 of the most marginal areas following Tuesday’s deadline to register to vote indicate across-the-board increases in the electorate, compared with the last general election, suggesting that turnout could soar on 6 May.

In one area, the increase is as high as 17%, and there are also indications of a dramatic surge in people requesting postal votes.

The volume of postal vote requests doubled in some areas compared with 2005, putting electoral administration systems under pressure and raising new concerns about postal voting fraud and the extent to which parties are manipulating the system to boost their vote.

Candidates in three separate areas told the Guardian that postal votes were central to their campaign. One said they had redoubled their efforts to sign people up for postal votes as the margins between the parties tightened and the prospect of a hung parliament and a second election this year grew ever more likely.

The Liberal Democrats could benefit disproportionately from the boost in numbers and postal votes. The Electoral Commission has said that those expressing an interest in registering were disproportionately in the youngest age bracket of 18-24 – the same group that recent polls show backing the Lib Dems. Previous trends show that people who use a postal vote send it quickly after they receive it meaning that millions of people will be voting in the next week when the party is still high in the polls on the back of the first TV debate.

After the election, when the American advisors who perhaps know less about inclusive election systems, the two party monopoly may look again to Australia, and to the inestimable example J Howard to see how with a compulsory system it is possible to exclude the fickle young folk.

We shall see. The Sandburg dyspepsia is hard slog of the empowered scorn for those who created there condition, much like the contempt implicit in the Rudd dismissal of the Charter of Rights. Homer was blind, Rudd merely wears glasses.


At Larvatus Prodeo, Kim makes an pertinent observation with respect to the major development in the British Election, or it could be just the familiar tactic of trying to control the dominant narrative using fear. She observes:

So, in advance of the second leaders’ debate, is the election shaping up as the people vs. the markets? There can be no starker illustration than the rhetoric flying around at the moment that capitalism and democracy are uneasy bedfellows.

A really interesting development will occur if the dominant narrative put out by the usual media fails to take on.

They had their leaders debate, and the situation remains much the same. Martin Kettle in The Guardian reports:

There has never been a general election like this one. Yet modern British electoral politics is full of famous upsets in which the entrenched incumbent party has been ousted by a wave of tactical switching by the voters in byelections. In a single constituency, in a high profile campaign, such things can happen – though to go from third to first is unusual even then. But not, until now, in a general election. This is the first general election to behave like a byelection.

I am wondering that for a enough voters, with all forms of alternative media, whether the mainstream media, for example The Sun, have lost their decisive sway – but perhaps not.



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