Thursday, April 24, 2008

Candidate Apathy

We hear a lot about voter apathy, but what about when the candidates cannot even be bothered with democracy?

I went to the Balsall Heath Hustings last night, looking forward to listening to a debate between the candidates so I could decide who to vote for having recently moved to the area. When I got there, I was very disappointed to find that only two candidates had turned up, namely the Respect candidate and the Conservative candidate. Clearly the candidates for the Labour Party, the Lib Dems, the Greens, the BNP and the Independent Community Party had more important things to do. Apparently Mohammed Azim, the Labour party candidate has not been present at the hustings for the last three years!

This leaves me in a bit of a problem. I was not planning on voting for either of the parties who actually turned up. What should I do?

It looks like I have three options:

1)
Vote for one of the parties that turned up. At least they care, even if I do not agree with what they stand for

2) Give the candidates who did not turn up the benefit of the doubt and vote based on election literature, or relevant ward, local and/ or national issues?

3) Follow the example of the majority of the candidates, reject my democratic rights and do something more important instead?


I am being serious when I say my vote is up for grabs, so please, whatever your party allegiance, use the comments below to inform me of what you think the important issues are at this election and who I should vote for. All comments will be considered seriously.

For context, the 2007 results were as follows:

Sparkbrook Ward, Birmingham City Council

Candidate Party Number of Votes
Shokat Ali Community Independent Party (UK)

503

Charles John Alldrick The Green Party

310

Mohammed Azim The Labour Party

2503

Arthur Charles Botterill British National Party

106

Anwar Hussain The Conservative Party

548

Mohammed Ishtiaq Respect

3514

Dilawar Khan Liberal Democrat

919

Candidate Elected - Mohammed Ishtiaq


A review of the husting is available here.

5 comments:

JPH said...

Even the candidates can't be bothered to turn up?! That is an absolute disgrace.

My initial reaction is that Respect may be the way to go. I wouldn't hold his inexperience against him, especially since he gives a monkeys and that seems to be the asset in shortest supply.

Anonymous said...

you're right about candidate apathy. at www.aboutmyarea.co.uk we ran a campaign last year to provide better voter information by listing all the candidates and giving each of them the chance to post a statement about why people should vote for them. The response rate across the UK from politicians was about 30 per cent - just the sort of low turnout they moan about with voters. What was interesting was that where the response rate from politicians was high, the turnout was high. Where politicians seemed apathetic, the turn out was lower. coincidence?

Louis said...

It appears most people do not take hustings as seriously as me and JPH:

http://www.thestirrer.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2178

I find anonymous' comments fascinating.

Baht At said...

a responsible subject only votes if there is someone worthy of voting for and usually there isn't given that most politicians are egotistical power seeking swine that it would be a waste of good rope hanging.

Personally I think voting should be compulsory and all ballots should have a "none of the above option" which if it wins automatically disqualifies all the candidates from ever standing again and result in the selection from the electoral register of a replacement candidate on the jury selection basis

Louis said...

I think we should always excercise our right to vote as people have died so we can have it. Just ask the people of Zimbabwe.

I am sympathetic to the idea that voting should be compulsory and there should be a none of the above option. I am also interested in the House of Lords being appointed jury-style for five year terms. Not sure about banning the losers from ever standing again, however!