Local Elections: Apathy is the winner in election

Casting a vote on Thursday at the polling station in Christ The Servant Church, in Abbey Meads

Casting a vote on Thursday at the polling station in Christ The Servant Church, in Abbey Meads

First published in News by

ALMOST two-thirds of voters in Swindon didn’t bother to turn out for the local election.

Despite a nationwide push encouraging residents to have their say in the Alternative Voting referendum, only 39.2 per cent of the electorate actually showed up at a polling station.

That was the turn-out for the AV referendum itself across Swindon, but it’s estimated the number who cast votes in the town’s council elections at the same time was much the same.

It had been hoped that deepening anti-cuts sentiment, as well as the UK-wide referendum, would help push up numbers significantly.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland denied the poor turn-out spelled doom for local politics, but said more needs to be done to get people off their sofas and into polling booths.

He also said that Thursday’s election were a mere dress rehearsal for the much bigger all-council election, coming in May next year.

Mr Buckland, who helped run the Tories’ local election campaign in the south of the town, said he is confident things are on the up.

“Do you think I’ll become an endangered species?” he said.

“Call me an eternal optimist, but I don’t think politics is doomed.

“This year represents an increase in turn-out on average years. It might well be what we’re seeing is an upsurge in interest.

“I think we’re living in times of challenging economics, and I think it’s going to go up. People tend to lose interest in times of relative calm. People get more interested when things are at stake; and they are at stake. We’re living in turbulent times.”

The highest turn-out for the local elections was in Highworth ward where 46.08 per cent of the electorate voted.

The lowest was in Parks, where the figure was just 29.62 per cent.

And there is another reason why 2012 may see an increase in turn-out.

While this year only one-third of all council seats were up for election, next year, because of changes to the ward boundaries, all 59 councillors will see their seats put up for election.

Party leader Coun Rod Bluh (Con, Dorcan) admitted the Tory Party was concerned about the gains made by Labour this time round.

He said: “When you’re in this position, you’re going to be concerned. We knew the moment the government changed from Labour to Conservative we’d have to fight a lot harder.

“Yes, we’ve got reduced majorities; that was to be expected. The battle will be fought again next year and the people of Swindon will have to decide.”

Comments (13)

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9:37pm Fri 6 May 11

Hmmmf says...

"It had been hoped that deepening anti-cuts sentiment, as well as the UK-wide referendum, would help push up numbers significantly." Said Adam Kula, "We know there are millions and millions of Labour supporters in Swindon, utterly committed to freebies for all. The fact that they didn't turn out to vote just goes to show the murky depths the Tories will sink to, they must've cancelled the 'free taxis to polling stations' benefit in the last budget. We still crushed them like ants though. Two Nil! Two Nil!"
.
"No, Adam Kula is not an anagram of Ed Miliband," said Labour leader Derique Montaut during his resignation speech, "Though I can kind of see why you might think so."
"It had been hoped that deepening anti-cuts sentiment, as well as the UK-wide referendum, would help push up numbers significantly." Said Adam Kula, "We know there are millions and millions of Labour supporters in Swindon, utterly committed to freebies for all. The fact that they didn't turn out to vote just goes to show the murky depths the Tories will sink to, they must've cancelled the 'free taxis to polling stations' benefit in the last budget. We still crushed them like ants though. Two Nil! Two Nil!" . "No, Adam Kula is not an anagram of Ed Miliband," said Labour leader Derique Montaut during his resignation speech, "Though I can kind of see why you might think so." Hmmmf
  • Score: 0

9:54am Sat 7 May 11

Captain Sensible says...

Obviously the local Imam's forgot to send out all the postal votes for those 40 people that are registered to vote in each house in Broadgreen.
Obviously the local Imam's forgot to send out all the postal votes for those 40 people that are registered to vote in each house in Broadgreen. Captain Sensible
  • Score: 0

7:41pm Sat 7 May 11

whitein says...

And these two thirds will be the first to complain.
And these two thirds will be the first to complain. whitein
  • Score: 0

9:02am Sun 8 May 11

Robfm says...

whitein, I think you are probably right.
whitein, I think you are probably right. Robfm
  • Score: 0

11:13am Sun 8 May 11

Hmmmf says...

Unless of course it simply means that the 60.8% of people who didn't vote are actually perfectly happy with the current status quo and believed (pretty much correctly, to Adam Kula's obvious disappointment) that it would remain thus here in Swindon in spite of their absence.
Unless of course it simply means that the 60.8% of people who didn't vote are actually perfectly happy with the current status quo and believed (pretty much correctly, to Adam Kula's obvious disappointment) that it would remain thus here in Swindon in spite of their absence. Hmmmf
  • Score: 0

11:34am Sun 8 May 11

Robfm says...

Hmmmf, there was a large body of opinion, and that included some within my own party that voting either way on AV gave the process legitimacy, when in reality it had none as it didn't give a real chance of change.
Hmmmf, there was a large body of opinion, and that included some within my own party that voting either way on AV gave the process legitimacy, when in reality it had none as it didn't give a real chance of change. Robfm
  • Score: 0

11:48am Sun 8 May 11

Hmmmf says...

Haven't you noticed though it's always the 'losers' who whine about 'voter apathy', never the winners. Odd that Kula claims that "Apathy is the winner" here yet in all his other pieces it's Labour who've won a crushing (Two-nil!) annihilation of the Tories.
Haven't you noticed though it's always the 'losers' who whine about 'voter apathy', never the winners. Odd that Kula claims that "Apathy is the winner" here yet in all his other pieces it's Labour who've won a crushing (Two-nil!) annihilation of the Tories. Hmmmf
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Sun 8 May 11

I 2 Could B says...

hmmmf, seems you've also noticed adam kula's biased reporting. also worth checking all the recent election related headlines from his articles. in every case the headlines or articles refer to non-labour candidates by the full name or second name only, apart from two headlines related to labour, where he uses their first names only: derique and ellen. a classic mistake of journalists who either know said people personally or who have a bias towards them.
hmmmf, seems you've also noticed adam kula's biased reporting. also worth checking all the recent election related headlines from his articles. in every case the headlines or articles refer to non-labour candidates by the full name or second name only, apart from two headlines related to labour, where he uses their first names only: derique and ellen. a classic mistake of journalists who either know said people personally or who have a bias towards them. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

6:06pm Sun 8 May 11

Scrumping says...

The overall standard of reporting by the Adver of this election has been terrible. It is surpassed only by their inability to stop TheBFM from using these pages as his only communication tool.
The overall standard of reporting by the Adver of this election has been terrible. It is surpassed only by their inability to stop TheBFM from using these pages as his only communication tool. Scrumping
  • Score: 0

6:34pm Sun 8 May 11

Robfm says...

Congratulations Scumping you have won the prize.
Congratulations Scumping you have won the prize. Robfm
  • Score: 0

7:47am Tue 10 May 11

Scrumping says...

Fool
Fool Scrumping
  • Score: 0

8:50am Tue 10 May 11

I 2 Could B says...

scrumping, you're rapidly becoming as much of a Robfm groupie as itsamess. it's weird how Robfm inspires this amount of devotion in people.
scrumping, you're rapidly becoming as much of a Robfm groupie as itsamess. it's weird how Robfm inspires this amount of devotion in people. I 2 Could B
  • Score: 0

11:07am Tue 10 May 11

Robfm says...

It's my suave sophisticated personality and good looks wot does it. :):):):):)
It's my suave sophisticated personality and good looks wot does it. :):):):):) Robfm
  • Score: 0

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