Friday, April 26, 2013

Angela Eagle flies too low

How do we increase turnout in British elections?

Perhaps the parties could abandon their increasingly technocratic pursuit of swing voters in a select group of seats? As Mrs Thatcher's funeral games reminded us, it is not so long since British politics involved big ideas and was merely a career for a narrow elite. And in those days the turnout was significantly higher.

That is not the solution that Angela Eagle, Labour's shadow leader of the house, favours. In a speech to the Hansard Society this week she said:
"We should consider incentives for voting. How about entering everyone who voted into a lottery?"
That was not the only part of her speech that smelt of contempt for the voters. She also suggested "simplifying the legislative process so that the interested citizen can more easily understand and engage with it".

That's right. We can't have proper checks on the government because the voters just won't understand them.

The irony is that Labour began by arguing that the workers ought to run their own industries. After a century of their policies being put into practice they now believe the workers cannot possibly understand the parliamentary process and have to be bribed with the prospect of a lottery win to get them to vote.

A footnote on chess

Parliament is or was full of people who were chess champions in childhood. The careers of Rachel Reeves and Evan Harris passed me by, but I do recall the days when the Eagle sisters were a force in the junior game.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

I do find it strange that Labour rates the electoral opinions of gamblers above those of prisoners, who may have been banged up for nothing more serious than being unable to pay a fine.