Where Angles Fear to Tread

September 19, 2014

Indyref Fallout (part 1)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Obtuse Angle @ 2:12 am

As the results start to trickle in, and initial indications are that the Union is safe (in some form or other), thoughts start to turn to what comes next. The most immediately obvious point of note is the turnout, with even the most apathetic areas hitting 75%, and the keenest turning out over 90%. So in what is supposed to be an age of disengagement and dissilusionment, why this blip? Unlike most votes, two conditions are simultaneously true:

1) People’s votes count. Unlike most plurality (FPTP) contests in a general election, every voter matters.

2) People care about the outcome. A fair voting system isn’t enough to drive turnout, voters have to actually care about the result. Turnout in the AV referendum (a subject which (depressingly) most of the electorate didn’t understand, let alone have the slightest interest in) scarcely topped 40%.

For an example of the opposite, we need look no further than the recent PCC by-election (a safe seat and what many biters consider a non-job), which struggled to get to double figures.

So if you care about turnout, offer people real influence over things they care about. How to achieve this is a question for another, more civilised time.

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