Wednesday, 27 June 2012

2 years to go, and the campaigning is starting. A couple of days ago saw the launch of the "Better Together" campaign headed by Alastair Darling, over against the Scottish National Party's campaign to go for an independent Scotland. I feel there ought to be another campaign. This should be a campaign to get as many people as possible to actually vote in the referendum. My goal would be to have over 90% turnout. I am fed up with electoral apathy. In most elections we actually get results which mean that the winners have the votes of a minority of the population. The last thing I want is to be taken out of the UK (or kept in) by less than 40% of Scottish voters. Whatever the result you want - let's have it clearly stated by a large group. Personally I would still want such a massive decision to have a clear and big majority too. 51% of those voting saying "Out" would not be a good way to leave. Most organisations set a bar for big decisions - so for instance we might want to see a 60% (of those voting) majority in favour of Independence before we go down that route.  So how about a "PLEASE DON'T NOT VOTE" campaign. (I know it's the double negative, but it's more striking than "VOTE" and it flags up the danger of electoral apathy better.) I know it is a terrible indictment on our engagement with democracy, (and of our experience of it), but hey, we need to start where we are, not where we'd like to be.  I see images of people who have long been denied the vote, crying with joy when they are given the chance, forming long queues to cast their vote, and exhibiting all the signs of exhilaration at having obtained political freedom, and it makes me feel ashamed of our apathy. In fact, I may just put this plea on facebook...... !

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