Floating Voters, CS Lewis, and 'That Woman'

Election day has arrived and, subject to decent weather, we should see a high turn-out. High in this context is a relative term as there has been a sharp decline in the numbers over recent years; the last election standing at a mere 61%.

I am sure that people have a variety of reason for how and why they vote. Here are just a few that seem likely:

Personalities. In this super fast, media obsessed world it appears that celebrity is a major motivating factor. Even so it can be difficult to find anything that resembles a personality.

Policies. I know people try to convince you that this really matters but you have to ask how many of the electorate have ever read the manifestos.

Ideology. Some have an idea of the kind of government they want and vote accordingly. Even if the current leader of their chosen party, or indeed their policies, seem less than attractive they will continue to offer electoral support.

I suppose which ever of the above becomes your main motivation it is at least better than being what the media call a 'floating voter'.

I overheard a conversation on the train last week where one man said to his female companion 'I will vote for whichever party knocks on my door first'. A simple approach if not exactly politically engaged.

Perhaps that is part of the problem; we think the whole matter of governing this incredible country is simple. And so like a crowd watching a football match we shout at the referee, sure that we could do better.

Our politicians don't help by trying to offer answers to the complex questions we face with the most simplistic of all responses; the sound-bite.

CS Lewis, the writer of The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe, once said that reality is not simple. He went on to say that it is not neat but odd. This sounds like a terrible negative view but we human beings do seem to be not very neat and a little odd; probably a good description of British politics.

Just last week I was amazed to hear the response from Gillian Duffy at being labelled a bigot by the Prime Minister. Whilst everyone focussed on the nature of bigotry and the size of the gaff made by Brown, we seemed to miss the real cause of her upset.

'How dare he call me 'That woman'' she said.

Perhaps that is why there is such a low turn out to the election; none of us what to be known merely as 'that woman'.

Politicians of all parties need to remember the electorate may not be neat. We may be a little odd. But most of all we are real people

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