Wednesday, March 26, 2003
posted by Jonathan Calder |
Yet, in the 2001 election, the number voting fell to below 60 per cent for the first time since the election held in December 1918. Curiously, the turnout was highest in places where people found it hardest to get to the polling stations, like Brecon or Galloway, while in parts on inner-city Liverpool, Manchester or Leeds, where polling stations were within walking distance, half - even, in constituency two-thirds - of those who could have voted simply didn't bother to do so.
There is a way of construing this indifference as a good thing. It might, conceivably, be the sign of a healthy society: people who are relatively happy with their lot may not feel impelled to go out and vote. It might, perhaps, reflect a recognition of the declining powers of the national parliament.
But what it clearly demonstrates is the paradox that those who are most dependent on the state seem to have the least engagement with it.
Jeremy Paxman The Political Animal (2002)