|HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC||help|
|You are in: Vote2001: Features|
Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
'Ok, I'm going to vote'
Two out of three ain't bad - BBC News Online users have persuaded a second avowed non-voter to change his mind.
Your powers of persuasion have won over non-voter Simon Whiteley - he will go to the polling station on 7 June after all.
Nineteen-year-old Simon, an engineering student from north Lincolnshire, was the third candidate in BBC News Online's Persuade Me to Vote series, and having heard some of the arguments e-mailed by our users his apathy transformed into voter action.
According to some estimations, up to 13 million people will stay away from the ballot box on general election day. The figure is considered abnormally high.
These are Simon's original reasons for not-voting:
"This election is the important one, because the country's future and the future of 60 million people is decided for the next few years. Now this is what is frightening because from my impressions, none of the politicians standing are worth voting for. They all seem to be untrustworthy dirty dealers.
"I don't really know much about the way political parties work, but I don't understand why we have to choose between the 'reds' and the 'blues'. Why can't we have a party that combines the best values and ideals from all the other parties and none of the rubbish?
"I don't know who to vote for. Mr Hague has no experience and all his shadow cabinet have no idea at all. PM Blair has an experienced team but they are all in it for themselves.
"Britain's leaders should be of the highest calibre and should be voted in because they are going to do the most for the country's collective best interests. But the way I look at it there aren't any standing for this election."
Some of your arguments and Simon's responses.
Simon: "I'm concerned about the manufacturing sector. I went to a factory in Letchworth recently which might have to shut if Vauxhall at Luton closes. It would be terrible to see those jobs go. I think employees should have more rights. I lost my job as a part-time barman when I was 17 for no obvious reason and it affected my A-levels at the time."
Simon: "I'm not that worked up by tuition fees. I'm from a family on a lower income so my fees were paid for by the local education authority. The problem is that lots of engineering students will go abroad for work so the taxes they pay will not come back to the country where they were educated."
Simon: "Good point, although that's not to say they weren't intent on getting to power at some point."
Simon: "The point is why don't we have a party that is pro-business and pro-people - that's what I meant by combining the best of both parties."
Simon: "I've not heard much from my local candidates. But I think that the local argument is a good one because you're going to see the effects at local level quickest."
Simon: "I didn't think you were allowed to do that. I find that interesting. I hadn't thought of it."
Simon: "I think if I voted it would be for one of the big parties. The smaller one will not get in and it will take years for them to get anywhere. Things need to be done sooner than that."
Simon's verdict: "I will vote, although I'm not sure who for. It'll probably be for one of the main three parties. I think the point that swung me is the idea that really we take democracy for granted. Having grown up with it I don't know anything else. But I suppose democracy is what has kept stability in Britain for so long."
22 May 01 | Vote2001
Persuade me to vote III
|^^ Back to top
VOTE2001 | Main Issues| Features | Crucial Seats | Key People | Parties | Results & Constituencies | Candidates | Opinion Polls | Online 1000 | Virtual Vote | Talking Point | Forum | AudioVideo | Programmes | Voting System | Local Elections
Nations: N Ireland | Scotland | Wales
To BBC News>> | To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>