Democracy 2015
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The Opportunity

Andreas

In Samuel Becket’s play, ‘Waiting for Godot’, Vladimir and Estragon speak these famous lines: -

“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.”

British politics is also waiting for Godot. As the 2015 general election approaches, voters view contemporary British politics and politicians with a mixture of apathy and contempt, but they strongly desire something better. This emerges clearly from the authoritative ‘Audit of Political Engagement’ carried out annually by the Hansard Society.

As matters stand, the propensity to vote is declining sharply. The 2013 audit shows that the number of people certain to vote (41%) has now declined 17 percentage points in just two years and is 10 percentage points lower than it was a decade ago. At the same time, 20% of the population now say they are ‘absolutely certain not to vote’, which is four percentage points higher than last year and double the number who said the same 2011. The collapse – for that is what it is – is most marked among the young. Only 12% of 18-24 year olds say they are absolutely certain to vote, a decline of 10 percentage points in a year, and a decline from the 30% who said the same in 2011.

These dire figures find a parallel in voters’ attitudes to MPs. The Hansard Society found that just 22% of the public could correctly name their own local MP, a decline of 16 percentage points compared to two years ago. And only 23% are satisfied with the way in which MPs as a whole are doing their job and some 34% say the same about their own local MP, both figures being lower than at any other time in the past 13 years.

What is to be done? When asked by the Hansard Society, some 60% of respondents said that every citizen should get involved in politics if democracy is to work properly. And a slightly higher percentage (63%) commented that if one is dissatisfied with political decisions you have a duty to do something about it.

To bring about what changes? Nearly half the public would like to ‘make politics more transparent so that it is easier to follow’ and 39% want politicians to be ‘more accountable for their performance between elections’.

In fact those are two of the principles that Democracy 2015 embraces. Its values are honesty, objectivity, transparency, democracy and service. In other words, Democracy 2015 is what people have been waiting for.

The Opportunity

Andreas

In Samuel Becket’s play, ‘Waiting for Godot’, Vladimir and Estragon speak these famous lines: -

“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.”

British politics is also waiting for Godot. As the 2015 general election approaches, voters view contemporary British politics and politicians with a mixture of apathy and contempt, but they strongly desire something better. This emerges clearly from the authoritative ‘Audit of Political Engagement’ carried out annually by the Hansard Society.

As matters stand, the propensity to vote is declining sharply. The 2013 audit shows that the number of people certain to vote (41%) has now declined 17 percentage points in just two years and is 10 percentage points lower than it was a decade ago. At the same time, 20% of the population now say they are ‘absolutely certain not to vote’, which is four percentage points higher than last year and double the number who said the same 2011. The collapse – for that is what it is – is most marked among the young. Only 12% of 18-24 year olds say they are absolutely certain to vote, a decline of 10 percentage points in a year, and a decline from the 30% who said the same in 2011.

These dire figures find a parallel in voters’ attitudes to MPs. The Hansard Society found that just 22% of the public could correctly name their own local MP, a decline of 16 percentage points compared to two years ago. And only 23% are satisfied with the way in which MPs as a whole are doing their job and some 34% say the same about their own local MP, both figures being lower than at any other time in the past 13 years.

What is to be done? When asked by the Hansard Society, some 60% of respondents said that every citizen should get involved in politics if democracy is to work properly. And a slightly higher percentage (63%) commented that if one is dissatisfied with political decisions you have a duty to do something about it.

To bring about what changes? Nearly half the public would like to ‘make politics more transparent so that it is easier to follow’ and 39% want politicians to be ‘more accountable for their performance between elections’.

In fact those are two of the principles that Democracy 2015 embraces. Its values are honesty, objectivity, transparency, democracy and service. In other words, Democracy 2015 is what people have been waiting for.

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