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Response to T_i_B (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 05:38 PM

6. Yes, that's certainly been the case.

But a lot of the discussion seems to hinge on poaching those who already vote from other rival parties.

My argument all along is about the need to convert non-voters - who, if they'd formed an electoral bloc, would have been a major force to reckon with in the last general election, possibly even a plurality, if not a majority - into voters. I'm talking about people who disenfranchise themselves, through cynicism, despair, distraction, whatever.

The black shading on that map illustrates a hypothetical showing for the "Apathy Party" in 2010. If they'd all voted, it would have broken down like this:

1. The Apathy Party 438 seats

2. Conservatives 168 seats

3. Lib Dems 27 seats

4. Labour 16 seats

Source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/general-election-2015-how-uk-9201348

I think Labour has an opportunity to do this. If it doesn't, somebody else will likely beat it to the draw, and as that breakdown shows, it's most vulnerable to this sort of development.

It may come down to relatively simple things (other than cutting out the internal backbiting, which we all seem to agree is disastrous), but probably not so easy to put into practice against traditionalist resistance. I remember my own experiences getting involved in my CLP - it was so ritualized, with points of order, remarks through the chair etc. It was largely modelled on the trades union movement. And that's before we consider the internal politics in branches, which were often quite rancid and sometimes reflected slights and rivalries and often uneasy alliances going back decades. I gritted my teeth and got through it, but it was all quite arcane, and if I hadn't been so committed, I'd have probably bailed out long before I did.

Younger generations and other sectors of society who tend not to turn out for elections may be more open to messages coming from people nearer their own age groups, social background and localities. That could snowball. But it's likely to meet dogged resistance from supporters of the status quo.

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