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A matter of indifference

2012-05-02 00:02:57


The last place one might have expected to see this was in the Failygraph, and I'm not even sure that the Rev Dr Peter Mullen is right that the Tories will necessarily get a drubbing on Thursday.

People are in a funny mood, and while many are sick to the teeth of Cameron and his Tories, they are not ready to rush out and note for Miliband. And nor will they vote in their droves for UKIP or another minority party.

What is going to predominate on Thursday, then, is indifference. Typically, we will be seeing turnouts in the thirty percent region, or less, which means that councillors will be getting elected on the votes of ten percent of the electorate. That is already happening in by-elections for MPs, and the trend will be more evident with the locals.

This, in turn, makes a nonsense of the earnest analysis that we have seen of late, with clever-clogs think-tanks purporting to tell us something of the political attitudes of today. But, of those who know anything of grass-roots politics, it matters not whether voters are in the north or south, east or west. The predominant attitude is indifference. That is not apathy. People do care, but the majority are indifferent to the messages offered by the established political parties.

Like performing seals, if they are called upon to give vent in focus group, people can entertain their questioners with legends of what they might do, if they could be bothered to vote. But the majority the vast majority do not vote.

Confronted with political parties that are so much hot air, parties which as Mullen says have alienated their core supporters (all of them, not just the Tories), they see no point whatsoever in partaking in the voting process. Most feel that their votes will not make the slightest bit of difference. Largely, they are right.

The media, of course, is as bad as the politicians. What interests them, such as the Murdoch saga, is also largely a matter of indifference to the majority of people. Like the politicians, the hacks have spiralled off into a planet of their own, leaving their readers stranded.

Only the political classes and their media groupies now find anything of interest in the current party political agendas. For the rest of us, politics is not even a spectator sport. One does not watch the TV news any more. One looks at it in amazement. And the party political broadcasts are no longer even vaguely amusing.

Mullen thus asks why anyone should vote for Dave's Tory party.  But he is an exception. Most people don't even go that far. They don't bother asking the question. There is no  need to ask. Party politics is a tedious game for a diminishing minority.  It has nothing to do with real people.