Wednesday, May 12, 2010

News just in: Most people not very interested in politics

'With party leaders hammering out a coalition deal, Westminster was abuzz. But outside the bubble, did the rest of the country share the political class' fascination?'

What motivates articles like this? The 'Woe is me' language, the constant seeking out of evidence (very scant if this article is anything to go by) to support the a priori beliefs of the author, the inability to process any information which might contradict the a priori beliefs- these are all so horribly familiar.

Why didn't the author mention that turnout in the last two elections has risen, from 59.4% in 2001 to 65.1% this time? OK, it isn't the 77.7% of electors who showed up in 1992... but its better than a poke in the eye. While I do meet people all the time who parrot the cliches about how all the politicians are as bad as each other, and they are all corrupt, the statistics say that almost two thirds of electors do think it is worth voting.

This evidence is proffered of 'a community to whom [the countries leaders] appeared utterly alien':

'In The Oddfellows pub, lunchtime drinkers muttered into their pints about the mediocre form of Watford FC, not the relative merits of a "progressive alliance" versus a Conservative-Lib Dem pact.

Along the Victorian and Edwardian residential streets surrounding the town centre, the only leaflets being delivered were for a local pizza restaurant.

The Conservatives had an office at the far end of Watford's High Street. But otherwise, in a town so recently bombarded with election propaganda, the sudden absence of party colours adorning windows and lamp-posts was strangely unsettling.'

It really is the most shoddy argumentation. If the point being made is that the Westminster elites are irretrievably alienated from the hoi polloi, the evidence given here doesn't remotely prove it.

Are people who are interested in politics a small minority? Yes. Does that matter? No. Is it any different in 2010 than it was in 1910 or 1810? Almost certainly not. What matters is that those with knowledge and power do the right things, and govern the country well. The punters in Watford will appreciate that.

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