Flippancy over voting (Clare Green)

So the recent EU election and council elections in England produced “shock” results, but are they really so surprising.

If you look at the ammount of eligible voters here in Shetland who total 17,496, only 5,175 bothered to vote with an additional 16 voters spoiling their papers.

Imagine what a difference the outcome would have been if a further 12,321 people or near to this (I do understand that there are some who may not have been in the islands due to unavoidable circumstances) had voted and there had been no spoiled votes.

The phrase that is often bandied about is “voting does not change anything – so why bother to vote”.

Well quite clearly in this instance – “not” voting made all the difference. Mirror these kind of results up and down the UK and the future of democracy is in a very delicate state indeed.

Voting is one of the only routes if not the only one where we as a people have some determination in the running of our country and our destinies. Why is it being treated so flippantly, crutially it is worrying with the independence referendum this year and the general election next year.

Is it really too much to ask that every four or five years or so, eligible voters go to the polling station. It only takes a few seconds. Or pick up the phone and request a postal vote from the electoral office?

The possible senarios that may result through not using the voting process in the near future I find very frightening indeed.

Clare Green

3 Staneybrake,



Add Your Comment
  • Johan Adamson

    • May 27th, 2014 16:19

    I think there is too little publicity surrounding what is done at EU level and about the candidates. People cant vote if they dont know what difference it will make to them and do not know what or who they are voting for. More knowledge would certainly help but not solve the problem. Personally, I will take the general election and voting at the Scottish referendum a lot more seriously. Most people do not know who their MEP is.

    • clare green

      • May 28th, 2014 19:02

      Sorry Johan, but to say people can’t vote because they don’t know what they are voting for is not a good enough reason not to vote,it is up to all of us to find out this information if it is not forthcoming. And in the lead up to the EU election there was plenty of information in the media and in party leaflets delivered to house holds.There is such a thing as self responsibility. In addition those who do not choose or bother to vote prevent the democratic process working for those of us who do.

      • Johan Adamson

        • May 29th, 2014 9:05

        I didnt get anything in the post this time. I wouldnt know where to go to find out the info on the EC and what our rep had done for us

    • Gordon Harmer

      • May 29th, 2014 6:27

      Not much of an argument Johan when one of the main policies of the yes campaign is to get Scotland back into the EU. So as well as not knowing what is done at an EU level we have not a clue what currency we will be using, which in its self debunks any other policy which needs costing. So with no knowledge of how an independent Scotland will be financed and how the EU will work for us how can you take the referendum a lot more seriously?

      • Johan Adamson

        • May 29th, 2014 10:03

        Thats fine Gordon. But my point still stands, the parties and the EU could do a lot more in terms of getting us out to vote in this election, because I would normally vote, and I know others in the same boat, the numbers speak for themselves. Pontificate all you like, but what are you going to do about it?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • May 29th, 2014 13:47

      Johan, I pontificate because like you I have an interest in our future and because of that I vote whenever I have to. I do not get my information from leaflets or organisations pushing their side of the debate I research on the internet to help me make up my mind.

      Not everyone can or wants to, or they consider other things more important to themselves and that is part of democracy and freedom of choice. Tell me what more could the parties do to get us out to vote, we don’t trust politicians because they are so out of touch with the real world and the majority of them are ruled by self interest.

      Its not up to me to do anything about it, it is up to the individual to wake up to fact what ever the election/referendum it all affects their future and their families future and to get involved. People will realise after September 18 how important it is to vote but that could just be too late.

  • j keith hawkins

    • May 28th, 2014 22:38

    I couldn,t agree more with Clare Green, in fact I would go as far as to say voting should be compulsary, unless people unable to on medical grounds.

  • David Spence

    • May 29th, 2014 2:23

    I find it interesting that we are rather quick to blame elections being fixed or rigged in other countries, but we do not question the elections we part-take in our country or within Europe. The recent so-called election results in Europe seem to indicate apathy within the people of Europe and this of the EU, but more than likely, as a direct result of a capitalist based political system, due to corruption within the EU, and the perception that many people think our so-called EU Representatives are in it for themselves and not for the people or country they are supposed to represent………..as said, in a so-called free market based economy (capitalism) and political decisions based on such principles, it is not surprising that many people are disillusioned by politicians (especially if they are the vile Tory reps) looking out for what they can gain and no giving a damn about the people they are so supposed to represent.

    Isn’t it highly disturbing that the more we emulate the…………ally across the pond……..the worse society and our moral judgement becomes because money is the beginning and end of everything……..no matter what. How sad that such a principle should ever be allowed to exist.

  • Joe Johnson

    • May 29th, 2014 10:19

    David Spence, you should seriously become a politician. You seem to be all knowing and all seeing and have all the answers to everything.

  • David Spence

    • May 29th, 2014 13:08

    Well Joe, if you want to balance how society is in terms of the basic structures within it, and how these structures are controlled in terms of how well they function, then you only have to compare it with other countries and what key factors are the basic elements within these structures and whether or not it is of greater or lesser benefit to the population as a whole.

    If those structures are provided by the government and not private market forces, you can easily see that in many cases, giving such responsibilities to market forces is, as a whole, highly detrimental to the population but only beneficial to a very small minority within that population.

    Yes, every society has elements of state and market forces within it, it is the proportion of each element which defines the moral stance within that society. However, as amply demonstrated by our present Government, the vile Tory Party, their principles and agenda is purely based on their own selfish needs and the needs of the minority benefiting at the cost of the majority of that population regardless to any consequences or detrimental affect this may have as a whole.

    The terrible and tragic consequence of leaving the basic structures of what makes up a society to ‘ market forces (aka capitalism) ‘ is a) heightened sense of selfishness and the desire to better oneself at any cost. b) the necessity to fabricate and alter the truth to gain greater financially. c) bring out the worst in human nature in the form of a jungle survival mentality. d) divides and segregates society e) causes people to become more aggressive and violent as a result of competitive principles controlling such behaviour. f) a heightened awareness of aggression and the desire to have greater control by focussing more on military strength, weapons manufacturing, xenophobic attitudes, a heightened level nationalism and patriotism…..are these very familiar traits via media publications (movies, (82% of movies contains atleast 10% or more of violence) tv programmes, computer games, papers etc etc).


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