Just a quick one folks, to say that during the election run up I am only too happy to hear your views on things (relating to stuff on this site, natch) within reason, but please make them reasoned opinions, not just election slogans. I will remove comments that are just party phrases and don’t add anything constructive to the conversation…

28 Comments to “Electioneering”

  1. Latelygay says:

    Well, to get things started, here's a wholly non-political point. I would like to complain in the strongest possible terms about the 45% (approx.) of voters who in the last two general elections have chosen to stay away from the polls. Even in 1997 the figure was only 65%.

    How can we complain about the state of our politics and the failure of our democracy when so many of us choose to ignore the entire process.

    Fair enough, if someone thinks that none of the candidates are worthy of a vote then they should at least turn out and spoil their ballot papers.

    But to stay home and do nothing is a nonsense.

  2. Latelygay says:

    Just to clarify, my stats are based on reported turnouts for Greenwich/Woolwich according to Wikipedia.

  3. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    What I mean is out-and-out-slogans like "Vote Conservative" or "Vote Labour." They don't add to the conversation and just clog up the forum. Reasoned debate and yes, stats, are fine by me.

  4. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    Oh – and btw, Lately Gay, I was having the debate about spoiling just last night. I agree.

    It is our DUTY to vote. If we can't think of anything to vote for, then as far as I'm concerned the worst thing we can do is not vote at all.

    Turning out is imperative. Spoiling is more honourable than doing nothing.

  5. Old China says:

    When you think of how hard the working man fought for the vote back in the 19th century and that women were literally dying for their right to vote less than a hundred years ago, it does beggar belief that so many people just "can't be arsed" now.

    Pankhurst must be turning in her grave.

  6. PlumBun says:

    Perhaps they were all trying to vote by proxy or post but had to deal with the incompetents that work fo Greenwich Council….I have been trying to get a proxy/postal vote for about 10 days now. All I want is someone to post me a form so I can vote. At this rate it will be the next election before I get to put my X on a piece of paper. I think Gordon waited for me to book my holiday before announcing the date!! Also I really want a website that gives simplified versions of the main parties stances on things like tax, education, the NHS, pensions, children etc etc so I can compare and contrast what their views are on the same subjects. If anyone comes across one please let me know!

  7. Alexander says:

    You can see the voter turn out for Greenwich on the council website here:


    It does tend to sit at about ~40% which is a bit dire.

    Probably an unpopular comment, but I do symathise with the non-voters. The choice is barely a choice at all – the different political parties aren't really that different, and recently we seem to have had one scandal after another what with expenses, jobs on the side, non-domiciles etc. It seems power corrupts, and the people in power generally seem to be more interested in putting themselves before their constituents. So what to do? It seems you're just choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea in a lot of cases.

    Still, the alternative is far worse though – if voting is a 'sh*t sandwich' then not-voting is going hungry. We all know this, but then I think it's not enough to motivate most people on the day.

    It would be nice if online voting was implemented. The government recently spent millions on the About My Vote website (http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/) and all it does is print up a form which you then have to send through the post anyway. That's like paying for a cab to take you to the nearest bus stop. If you let people register on the internet and vote on the internet I'm sure you'd see voting go through the roof.

  8. scared of chives says:


    bbc.co.uk/election2010 does a pretty good job – you can search by topic (eg, 'education') to see the parties' stance on issues.

  9. andrekabu says:

    I did a map of the Greenwich Peninsula Ward candidates and where they live (creepy, eh?), together with some loose, ill-defined thoughts of each of the candidates according to some irrelevant criteria. Here.

    I hope this doesn't contravene your rules!

  10. one swallow says:

    This is quite an interesting exercise in checking in a simplified way which way you should vote based on the current party line.

  11. methers says:

    That nice Wyvill Richard Nicolls Raynsford sent me an application form for a postal vote. I thought everyone would have got one from him; I'm afraid my copy went straight to the recycling. Going to vote in the Portakabin on Humber Road is part of the thrill of election day!

    I would recommend Vote for Policies as a way of comparing the parties and finding which of them most closely aligns with your views, but it appears to have disappeared for the moment. Hopefully it will be back later.

  12. Latelygay says:

    Alexander, I've said it for you already … voters might think they're all equally appalling, so then they choose to walk away, but no, none of us can walk away. Our taxes are extracted whether we like it or not. When did you last go into a shop and get nothing or rotten goods in return for your pennies and then walk away??

    Politics, government … it's no abstract. It's real life. It's our lives!

    We should take back the initiative.

  13. Wolfe says:

    GP – spoiling is not honourable it's yellow. The hard bit is making your mind up, not just showing up. If you, or anyone else, can't make a decision you shouldn't go to the poll and you should certainly forfeit your right to discuss or criticise the next goverment and council. Spoiling a vote isn't voting,it's just vandalism.

  14. Latelygay says:

    Agreed, Wolfe. Spoiling a ballot paper is an act of vandalism and not one I happily recommend, but, despite your indignation, justified as it may, you do not suggest an alternative.

    To posit effectively, 'I'm not partcipating because of reasons I assert it my privilege not to disclose, (but at the same time I'd ask that you bear my non-interest appropriate to my relvant interests/disinterests, in mind, please) … Well' it's hardly a credible manifesto for the 'Count Me Out' party.

    Acutally, should we have a 'count me out' section on the ballot paper?

    As you can probably tell I feel very passionately about this. Yes, nobody should be compelled to do anything such as vote, but can it be right that for the last 25 years the UK has been governed by parties again whom nearly two thirds voted each ti

  15. Alexander says:

    Voter turnout is highest when ideological differences are most significant, which is why the US has the lowest voter turnout in the Western world; because it's simply a case of Republican or Democrat over there and both are pretty similar ideologically. It's been the same over here when New Labour came in and their policies swung over to the right to match the Tories. Voter turnout in the UK has been in decline ever since. The Greens are the only real alternative at the moment which is why they've been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years.

  16. Latelygay says:

    And your point is, Alexander?

    What you are declaring is a merely a symptom.

    I personally despise centrist politics but if you'll forgive me, you're ardency is not matched by a clear view of how things could be.

    Whatever our views, I have unwittingly broken an informal rule I have for never engaging directly with other posters.

    I always says 'it's nothing personal', so on that note, I will will give way to the other honourble members on this board that they may speak their piece.

  17. Alexander says:

    Latelygay I was just pointing out that as party ideologies converge, voter turnout decreases. It's fine to say "everyone should vote", I was just pointing out that there's actually a measureable scientific explanation for what's called 'voter apathy'. I'm not condoning non-voting, but voting mattered a lot more 100 years ago when the left wing and right wing parties were almost diametrically opposed. I think these days politicians are just seen as little more than community caretakers to a certain extent and they're mostly angling to sell themselves based on how different they are from the rest, but ultimately I'm not sure how different the actions of one candidate would be over another, or if there's any difference at all. David Cameron has been very big on the concept of change and why voting for the Conservatives would actually be different from voting for anyone else (I look forward to reading his manifesto when it's released tomorrow and seeing how different it's actually going to be from what the other parties are offering), but a point when all the candidates are virtually identical, voting becomes a bit of a pointless endeavour, and I think that's the reason why we struggle to get 50% voter turnout a lot of the time.

    I'm playing devil's advocate a little bit here (I believe the call was for 'reasoned opinions'), and I do vote and encourage others to vote, but you have to analyse – it's not enough to say "something is bad" if you don't delve into "why it's bad".

  18. Anonymous says:

    Never mind ideology – just don't vote for anyone who supported giving over our park to the Olympics

  19. lula says:

    I'm on holiday but I've managed to get a postal form from Greenwich council which I've returned (Let's hope the actual voting form arrives in plenty of time!)… Isn't it funny though how suddenly the labour councillors have suddenly been rearing their ugly heads recently? I've seen them more times in the last 3 months than I have done in the last 3 years!!!

  20. Fat Cat says:

    A whole generation were prepared to give everything so that we may vote in free and open elections today. Once every four or so years is it really so much effort to spend a few minutes deciding which candidate to vote for?

    As for voter tunout it seems to be roughly the same in the US and UK at around 61%. As for the Greens offering the only alternative unfortunately it may be the case that the hard left BNP are seen as a true alternative to the present ruling party.

  21. Anonymous says:

    That's terrible. Why don't you set up a Princess Lula Party, so that all your needs are met without you ever having to pick up the telephone or pen and paper? Of course you wouldn't have to let any 'ugly' people in, they could all be as pretty as you come across.

  22. Hauraki Girl says:

    Well, I for one will not be voting for the seemingly sexist party that sends electoral propaganda to the 'male of the household' as opposed to all registered voters. ¬†Which is a pity as I tended to vote that way, but I can't stand the sexist attitude…..

  23. lula says:

    wow Anonymous – you're mean!!!

    I think you'll find "reared their ugly heads" is a cliche and does in no way refer to their appearance!!!


    What I CLEARLY mean, is that the councillors only appear and start taking notice of what their voters want in the months running up to an election…

  24. RogerW says:

    Hmmm. For anyone having trouble deciding which way to vote, your problems may soon be over.
    From next week until election day, the great free local newspaper "Greenwich Time" will be running a series of special 16 page pull-outs giving all the advice you could possibly need on which party is the best and why you should vote for it :)
    [And I can already tell you one thing for free... it ain't the Greens!]

  25. G says:

    Here's another useful 'blind test' site in which you pick the policies that you most agree with. At the end, you find out which party was closest to your views. http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

  26. Jen says:

    Having had the pleasure of meeting candidates of only one party during this election period, I'm going to be switching my previously red vote to the lib dems. It looks like they have a good range of experience on their team (a teacher, a local businesswoman and a community volunteer), a mixture of ages, and they actually talked sense about my ward (Greenwich West).

  27. Kate Powling says:

    I am trying to drum up local interest in a hustings for Peninsula ward, but the Phantom's post on this provoked very little comment – 3.

    Would there be interest? Many of the candidates are keen (and frankly, if individuals don't want to speak to voters motivated to come we can draw our own conclusions) but I don't plan to put the work in and ask for their time if the audience could fit in my small East Greenwich living room!

    Someone else has emailed me asking why Nick Raynsford is speaking in Blackheath (with rival candidates from other Parlimentary constituencies but doing no debates in Greenwich and Woolwich. She has asked him to take part in something more local alongside the other candidates for Greenwich & Woolwich.

    Phantom, I will keep you posted on this one!

  28. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what Nick Raynsford's response will be to Gordon Brown's statement (in the second Leader's debate) that MP's should NOT have any second jobs? How does our MP justify his consultancy with the building industry now? (Presumably the RT Hon member for Greenwich and Woolwich is now even more keen to get rid of Brown…)