It is puzzling to read excited media speculation about the possible ‘turn-out’ at the General Election. One writer could hardly contain himself at the thought that it might be ‘as high as 60 per cent’. Is that high? It rather sounds as if forty out of every hundred either don’t know who to vote for or simply can’t be bothered. But which is it?
Undoubtedly there are those who find the effort of walking down the road every five years too big a burden. But the possibility is that millions are utterly disillusioned with Brown, Cameron and Clegg alike and cannot bring themselves to support any of them. If they represent a large slice of the silent 40 per cent our democracy is in a sad state. Then again the turn-out has been at these levels for many decades and maybe the lazy-bones have it.
Some experts argue that we need to know. They go on to contend that there is a way. Voting should be, they argue, mandatory but the ballot paper should include an additional line reading ‘none of them’. One imagines that the establishment would not like this prospect, one that could become a nightmare fo it should the largest vote be recorded for the ‘none’.
But it could lead to the re-emergence of Independents, it could even lead to news of a new Party. Who knows? But it would be fascinating to know why it is that a huge slice of the population never exercises the franchise that pioneers fought so hard for.
Alas, it is hard to believe that such a truly democratic move will ever take place. After all, Turkeys are renowned for not voting for Christmas!