Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Here we go again

Once again the Government is consulting on combining the dates of two elections so that they fall on the same day.  In this case it's the district council elections in 2014 (for those local authorities that have them next year) and the elections to the European Parliament.

I oppose this.  It springs from a mindset of 'democracy is an expensive nuisance, so let's penny-pinch on it as much as we can, and let's not expect too much of the voters by asking them to express an opinion twice'.

Different elections attract different electorates, who come out and vote for different reasons.  Combining elections muddies that distinction, and results in people being elected - or not - at one tier or the other, or even both, for reasons completely unrelated to their record or their manifesto.

I'd rather see local councillors elected by people interested in their local authorities and casting their votes on that basis - and similarly for the European elections.  If the election dates are combined, we run the risk of losing many good councillors, and gaining many poor ones, not on the basis of their local track record but on a national debate about a whole other level of government on which they have no influence at all.

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