Now the good left-wing liberals at the Guardian think this grumpiness, this disengagement, this disinterest is a problem. And that’s where I disagree – the core consideration is the extent to which we are able to live as Greek idiots. Quietly, privately, without bothering our neighbours with our problems – and when such people want change they will get up from their armchairs, walk away from the telly and vote. The idea that not being bothered with voting most of the time makes them bad people is a misplaced idea – they are the good folk.
In the late 1990s around 10% of people weren’t registered – the Electoral Commission say the situation is now worse. In some places up to 20% of people are not registered to vote and concerns about false registration are making local authorities tighten up registration by removing non-respondents more quickly from the register. And, not surprisingly, the three groups most likely not to register are young people (over half of 17-26 year olds are not registered), private sector tenants (49%) and immigrant groups (31%).
A healthy democracy needs healthy political parties and right about now we have sick and dying parties. And in order to become healthy they will need to open up. Selections need to be open to the public not closed as must policy development.