If the lunatics are running the asylum, who is voting for them to get there?

Postal VotingI work from home, with an office overlooking my back garden. My polling station is literally 300 yards from my back gate. So, I had a little dabble at ‘sampling’…to see what I could see.

Without having a set time schedule, I had a few coffee-breaks outside & did a quick headcount of the people coming to & fro. Living in a village environment, I can recognise most of the people, if not always knowing names.  I made the numbers up by occasional glances out the window during moments of attention deficiency.

Without having any real knowledge of their political belief, other than being able to put a fair guess as to who they might be likely to vote for, I found my interest wandering off at a slight tangent.

I noticed that, if I divided the voters into simple groups, I could gain some interesting results.

So, without being too insulting in my ‘description’ of these unfair generalisations, here are my initial groups:

  • Category A: People who I would not trust to know what they are even voting for. There are many other generalisations one could suggest, but we’ll just leave it at this.
  • Category B: People who might be politically astute. Those who know a little about how things work, or are politically motivated.
  • Category C: Older folks, probably voting the same as always. They’ve been voting the same for generations, they feel it a duty.

Having done a quick headcount at 6 different times between the hours of 8am and 8pm, counting for the minutes it took to finish a cuppa, I came up with the following.

  • Total observed voters: 123
  • Category A voters: 56
  • Category B voters: 42
  • Category C voters: 22
  • Could not decide: 3

Of the 120 observed and categorised in my sample, 46.7% were people I would have no confidence in being able to make a rational, sensible voting choice. The angry people, those one avoids when nipping into a local store, the irrational ones, the downright creepy ones, the really-not-intelligent ones, etc.

It also seemed that of the people locally I’d categorise into A, they did appear to have a greater turnout at the polling station. It concerned me greatly that, of the people I could remember locally I’d not trust to vote logically, most of them HAD actually voted.

The older folks, the creatures of habit, don’t make a massive difference, other than they’ll always vote along with the status quo. They would be unlikely to actually want anything which might involve risk or controversy and they tend to be driven by a romantic view of politics from yester-year.

If this carried through until June I’d be confident of a Brexit vote, but it does make me wonder if those the taxpayer pays a large wage to for governance are chosen by those who actually know least about them. Are loads of apathetic, but maybe more clued-in, voters simply not bothering?

Ah, a mere observation, a rude generalisation and an irrelevant issue overall…but it does concern me that perhaps voter turnout should be encouraged if we intend to retain any real democracy in the UK and get a better picture of the real population and their views.

I’m not a fan of postal voting, as it stands, having already expressed concerns it is abused by particular sections of the community. That said, I’d be open to the potential offered by postal voting or e-voting (online or via mobile), if problems could be overcome.

My problem with both options is the same. Some homes in the UK have a level of ‘control’ applied which can manipulate voting, whether from a domineering husband or an over-zealous religious peer. This could be hard to eradicate, but would need addressed before any rollout could ever happen.

To allow a simple expansion of the current postal voting system would simply be to invite malpractice into an already-shaky approach to democracy. This will be an interesting debate, no doubt, at some stage during the upcoming election dissection.

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