Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/299/13866

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 May 2003

Needed - new policies, not new voting methods

VOTING IN elections is at an all-time low; less than three in five of the electorate took part in the 2001 general election and local elections have only attracted an average of about a third of voters for some time now. Kevin Parslow reports on New Labour's attempts to overcome 'apathy'.

The government has introduced 'new' methods of voting in an attempt to increase participation: voting by e-mail, text messages or computer. None of these have significantly increased the votes in the two elections they have been tried.

However, the wider use of postal voting has seen a considerable rise in the turnout for local elections. In the 29 areas which had full postal voting, half the voters sent back their ballot papers, compared to an average of 35% in those which kept polling stations open.

Even in those areas 8%-10% applied to vote by post. The chief executive of Herefordshire, which had the highest turnout at 61% said: "Judging by our results, the traditional ballot box could be a thing of the past."

In fact, the working class fought for the secret ballot in the past. The 19th-century working class political movement, the Chartists, had this democratic demand in their programme. Previously, voting had been carried out in public, with voters bribed by the rich and powerful to support candidates of the ruling classes.

Everybody knew who was voting for whom. The secret ballot was vital to allow working people, who were gradually being given the vote, the right to vote for independent working class candidates.

But this is threatened because New Labour wants to 'modernise' the electoral system. Postal voting is potentially a throw-back to the past as sharp participants from the big political parties take advantage of the slack rules introduced by New Labour to manipulate the ballot.

There are several ways now that the ballot can be manipulated and it's the vulnerable in particular whose vote is being 'bought' by these political sharp practices.

Real choice

In reality, the reason for the low turnout in elections is the similarity in policies of the major parties.

If there is no choice, how do you decide who to vote for? British elections (and European, for that matter) have been 'Americanised', where the working class has only representatives of big business to vote for.

Under Thatcher, the Tories introduced postal voting for all trade union elections because they believed that this would prevent the election of officials who would more accurately reflect the interests of the membership.

But this manoeuvre is wearing thin with the election of the "awkward squad", officials who don't always accept what the bosses dictate.

In the wider political field, the erosion of our democratic rights can be prevented if the trade unions withdraw their support for New Labour and organise independent, working class candidates with socialist policies for all elections. Then, there will be real choice in elections and there would be real enthusiasm to vote.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 10 May 2003:

No To Foundation Hospitals

Fight Corus Job Massacre

Airport Workers Demand The Truth

Nursery Nurses Step Up The Fight Against Poverty Pay

Iraq watch

Northern Ireland: Only Working Class Can End Sectarian Impasse

Elections 1 May 2003: Build The Socialist Alternative

Bootle and Wales: New Labour's lies and dirty tricks

Blair's 'Baghdad Trounce'

Needed - new policies, not new voting methods

Spectacular gains for Scottish Socialist Party

Neo-Nazis blast a warning

Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta


 

Home   |   The Socialist 10 May 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Elections:

trianglePCS Left Unity election: All votes should count

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Next year's local elections

triangleGermany: Bavarian elections and huge anti-racist demonstration mark an historic weekend

trianglePolarisation, risks and resistance in Brazilian elections

Working class:

triangleTory chaos reaches fever pitch

triangleBrexit as a window on our times

triangleIn defence of socialist feminism

triangle1,000-strong rally in London this weekend

Labour:

triangleFight Cardiff Council's school cuts

triangleBlairite Birmingham steps up union-busting and two workforces plan strikes

triangleFight for a general election to kick out the Tories

Election:

trianglePCS AGS election: Where now after the Left Unity conference?

triangleVictory for left in RMT union president election

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

11/12/18

Socialist

Tory chaos reaches fever pitch

5/12/18

EU

Fight for a general election to kick out the Tories

5/12/18

PCS

PCS AGS election: Where now after the Left Unity conference?

5/12/18

Technology

The growth of artificial intelligence technology

5/12/18

Huddersfield

Racist attack in Huddersfield

5/12/18

Buses

Fatal bus crash - an avoidable tragedy

5/12/18

Housing

Arrogant landlords can be beaten

5/12/18

Tories

Austerity: not one more day - Tories out now

5/12/18

NHS

Health bosses move goalposts on A&E waiting times: more funds for our NHS now!

28/11/18

Environment

We need system change to halt climate change

28/11/18

Housing

The Tories' letting fee ban is full of holes - we need rent controls and council homes!

28/11/18

Haringey

Haringey 'Corbyn council': end the secrecy and confusion - lead a fight against the cuts

28/11/18

Brexit

End Tory misery - general election now!

28/11/18

EU

For a socialist alternative to the EU - mobilise to kick out the Tories!

22/11/18

Brexit

Brexit as a window on our times

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999