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Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Apathy: Will you vote?

Are you going to vote in this election? Do you feel your vote will make a difference? Have the events on the campaign trail made a difference to your decision on whether to go into the polling station or not?

If overall turnout falls below 70% at the election as two polls have predicted, then it will be the first time this has happened since 1918 when 57.2% of the electorate voted.

The polls also suggest that Labour supporters are less likely to vote than Conservative ones? Is this true of you?

Are you apathetic or energised about this election? Send us your view using the postform below.

Have Your Say My husband and I would like to vote, however we will be out of the country and it seems as though no-one wishes us to be able to use a postal vote. When I first tried the telephone number given on the advert it registered as 'unknown', on further attempts I am now awaiting the forms to be sent in '2 working days'. I'm still waiting a week it any wonder there's apathy over voting?
Nicola, Essex, UK

I turned 18 just under a year ago, and was looking forward to voting. However, after reading the manifestos of each of the parties running in my constituency (Tory, Lab, Lib Dem), I am extremely disillusioned. Nevertheless, I will vote. I would much rather support the Lib Dems, however pointless it may seem, than vote for the two Tory parties. I am not holding out for electoral reform in the near future, as any winning party will immediately forget its previous commitment to PR, as seen with the Labour Party when it first became a serious contender, and after the 1997 election.
Ajita Hathlia, London, UK

Less than 100 years ago - the suffragettes fought a long, hard battle to get me the vote - I will certainly use it!
Jane, West Lothian, Scotland

People can be more hypocritical than the politicians

Cyan Collier, London, UK
It occurs to me that if the vote were to be taken away from the apathetic, they would be up in arms screaming for democracy. The people can be more hypocritical than the politicians
Cyan Collier, London, UK

The constant mentioning of the 'fact' that so many people are planning not to vote only makes the practice more acceptable. I am sure that there are a number of people who genuinely feel that there is no one for whom they wish to vote, but I suspect that a sizeable proportion of the 'not-voting' fraternity are simply lazy. Understanding politics and making an informed choice requires effort that in our 'I can't be bothered' society is simply beyond some people.
Matthew Salter, UK

Your MP, whichever party they belong to, is required to represent your views in parliament. Its not about who, its about how; bombard them with petitions, fight the policies you object to and take an active role in ensuring your voice is heard. Ensure like minded individuals hear the message too, because if you don't, nobody else will
Iain, Shrewsbury UK

The only thing that could get me to mark an 'X' would be the last minute candidacy of Lord Buckethead

Ed Bayley, USA (English)
Labour, with their nasty undertones of political correctness and discrimination against men (women only shortlists? I'd be scalped if I suggested men-only or whites-only shortlists!)

Conservative, whose keystone policy appears to be denouncing anyone who is not English, particularly if they wish to make a better life for themselves in the UK.

Liberal Democrat - disastrous tax hikes are the last thing this country needs.

Just about the only thing that could get me to mark an 'X' would be the last minute candidacy of Lord Buckethead (remember him?) in the Braintree constituency.
Ed Bayley, USA (English)

I am really sick of hearing the comment that so many of the electorate are apathetic. If the country as a whole wants more people to vote then I'm afraid it will have to wake up to the fact that there is a wider diversity of opinions held with the UK public at large, than the current voting system in the UK allows.
Stuart, London

Voting is NOT a privilege. Slaves have privileges, free men have rights. We own the right to vote IF we choose to and we own the right not to vote if we don't consent to rule by any of the candidates on offer.

I will not be voting, not because I don't care who "runs the country" but because I don't want anyone to "run" the country apart from the people who live and work here.
Alex, England

We care passionately about the decisions made about OUR lives on OUR behalf

Steve Dillon, Croydon, Surrey
I find myself, for the first time in my adult life, contemplating not voting. I, along with somewhere between 30 and 50% of those registered to vote but not presently moved to do so, are not apathetic. We care and care passionately about the decisions made about OUR lives on OUR behalf. So, if we're all so passionate about politics, what's the problem? The problem is twofold: lack of involvement and lack of choice. Our only involvement in the decision-making process is a free ticket in the five-yearly lottery that is our electoral system. Once the election is over, our involvement ends for another 4 or 5 years. I find it very ironic that the Government's advertising campaign to get us all to vote uses the message that "if you don't vote someone else will be speaking for you". The truth is that the MPs we elect won't be speaking for us, but for their party. The only choice we have is which one of the 2 or 3 voices available to us we wish to prevail. The choice of MP is completely irrelevant. Only a fundamental change to our system of government will redress the balance.
Steve Dillon, Croydon, Surrey

Yes, I'll be voting. It's a privilege, granted as a right less than 100 years ago - people forget that. I'd prefer proportional representation, as I would vote differently then. And remember - if you don't vote, you vote for the party that wins. So don't criticise those in charge - you helped put them there.
LPW, Bacup, Lancs, UK

Three parties, one neo-liberal ideology, no choice, why bother? The real power rests with unelected, unaccountable bodies such as the IMF, World Bank and WTO, who are creating a new world order where corporate interests can plunder the planet unfettered by concerns such as democratic accountability.
Richard Alonzo, Halesowen, UK

Clearly what we need is no parties, no politicians with opinions (as if they're allowed to have them anyway) just policies that get voted on - a kind of Eurovision Song Contest for government. Every election just line up the policy choices and everyone in the country gets 10 votes - you give 10 to the policy that you'd most like implemented, 9 to the second and so on. At the end add up all the votes and the top 30 or so get implemented, easy!

According to the BBC website, if the Tories won the election with 35%, the Lib Dems came second with 33% and Labour came third with 31%, Labour, having come third would win with 312 seats, the Tories, who won, would come second, 88 seats behind. The Lib Dems meanwhile, having come second, would get less than half as many seats as the Tories! Maybe, just maybe, the apathy may have something to do with the UK's insane electoral system!
Joe Mcnamee, Brussels, Belgium

I will certainly vote. The sooner I get a sensible MP with some common sense down here the better. I also can't wait to get this government out nationally.
Mr Harry Wentworth, Torquay, England

You can't be as terrified as Mr Wentworth is of another Labour or Liberal government and still accuse the parties of being the same!

David Harley, Birmingham
I will also certainly vote. The fact that one or two people on these election forums are so vociferous in their opposition to one or more of the particular parties should tell us that there is a choice in this election. You can't be as terrified as Mr Wentworth is of another Labour or Liberal government and still accuse the parties of being the same!
Dave Hartley, Birmingham, UK

I am 16 and so can't vote but if I could I would if only to ensure that we don't have William Hague and the Tories in power. His right wing policies would place this nation in severe danger of falling behind in the world, and for all the people who say that nothing has changed in these four years, well that's because Labour has been forced to turn around 18 years of under-investment in public services and mis-management of the economy from the Tories. So all you thoughtful people get out there and vote!
James, Bedford

What do you do if you don't believe in the idea of political parties? It is hardly a democracy if an MP has to follow the 'party line'. In a truly effective democracy, MPs would be interested in running the country, not in arguing for arguing's sake. If all MPs worked together, rather than against each other, maybe "apathy" would not be so prevalent. I will vote, but only to ensure that certain right wing candidates do not get into power. This, I think, is the only effective use of the vote. To make sure that we remain as democratic as we can be.
Alan, Bristol

I can't believe that people can say they have no choice

Richard Medlycott
I can't believe that people can say they have no choice. They said that in the US last year. Who's saying that now, after America was landed with the most Right Wing administration in history? If you are lucky in some constituencies you'll have a choice of not only Tory, but Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, Socialist Alliance, Euro Sceptic. Now are you going to tell me that they're all the same. Get off your backside and vote; it doesn't cost anything. My main bugbear is the voting system. ROLL ON PR and then we would see the Government/political system we wanted.
Richard Medlycott

My intention to vote has little or nothing to do with whether the election is being portrayed as boring or not. Though normally liberal minded on many social issues on this point I'm decidedly illiberal. If I had my way those too idle or merely self indulgent not to bother casting their vote would be fined a considerable sum of money and/or thrown into jail for their total dereliction of duty in not participating in the system that thousands of people laid down their lives to preserve. It is also a decidedly irresponsible attitude of those who continue to undermine our democratic system by peddling a continuous output of cynicism, which to my mind fosters the very apathy they pretend to bemoan.
Alex Birchley, Birmingham

I would rather vote for a baboon than for the current pathetic government

Dave Tankard, UK
A single transferable vote would help a lot, as it would allow people to register a protest vote without compromising their preference for a mainstream party. For myself, I would vote UKIP but for the fact that my constituency is one of the most marginal in the country. If I could register a vote for UKIP to be transferred to Conservative I would do it. I would rather vote for a baboon than for the current pathetic government.
Dave Tankard, UK

To all those people who say there is no difference in the two main political parties, may I ask the question, how many of you have bothered to read the manifesto of each party when published?, how many of you have bothered to find out where and when your local candidates were holding meetings and then attended? Get involved folks and stop moaning.
Colin Mackay, UK

I thought of standing as an Apathy Party candidate. But I couldn't be bothered. I think we should select MPs for one term only on the "jury list" system.
Brian, Belfast

I've decided to vote for Rupert Murdoch and cut out the middle-man!
Brian Tricker, Tring, England

Get up off your ideological rears and take part

Dr. M. Moran, Sheffield
To all those who whine they are 'disenfranchised', who on earth do you expect to represent your opinion? Isn't it rather arrogant and selfish to expect somebody else to invest their effort and finance in airing your view? It is not the job of Governments to ensure there is a party for every opinion. And if you aren't prepared to get up off your ideological rears and take part in process then why do you expect other people to? The phrase 'put up or shut up!' springs to mind.
Dr. M. Moran, Sheffield, UK

If you don't use your vote then sooner or later politicians will take it away from you. Politicians will promise us the earth to get our votes, but when they are elected they will revert to their real agenda, which is to look out for themselves. Given that the choice is between Blair's lies and Hague's lies, on 7 June I shall mark my ballot paper "None of the above"!
Paul, Milton Keynes, England

If you don't vote then don't moan

Ian Shaw, London
If you don't vote then don't moan afterwards about how hard done-by you are. I'll vote as a matter of duty (even if it's a spoilt vote) just to make a point about how dismayed I am with the three major parties.
Ian Shaw, London, England

Many non-voters are not apathetic but positively reject what they know to be an undemocratic system. The fact is that the present political system serves the interest of a rich few regardless of who forms the government. What better illustration than the new Labour Government?
Hary Powell, Nottingham, England

It amazes me that people say there is nothing to choose between Labour and Tory

Steve, Luton
Yes I will certainly be voting on June 7. It amazes me that people say there is nothing to choose between Labour and Tory. It is only four years since this country suffered 18 years of Conservative government. Since then the Tories have lurched to the right. It is crucial that voters turn out and show that the Tory leadership this country will have no truck with extremism, left or right. I urge all with the right to vote for whichever party best placed to ensure the Tories are kept out.
Steve, Luton, UK

I am a forty plus year old, and have voted in every election to date. This time I will not be doing so. Why? Because the integrity of politicians of all parties commands none of my respect or trust. The previous Tory government was racked with sleaze and scandal. This one is no better, perhaps worse. If the leaders of parties took decisive action when members transgressed acceptable limits I believe the public would be far more prepared to vote.
David Thorpe, London, UK

The faces may change, but nothing else does

Iain Alexander, Grantham
I've never voted in the past and I certainly don't intend to start now. The faces may change, but nothing else does. By voting for any one party I am suggesting I think they should govern and frankly I find all politicians distasteful: No one seems to really care about the country and people they claim to represent! I urge everyone not to vote, they don't deserve our support and we shouldn't give it to them!
Iain Alexander, Grantham, UK

There is currently a TV commercial, encouraging people to vote - it provides the web address If this is miss-keyed by one character you are redirected to a party political site. This is cheap - it is no wonder people are disgusted and have no wish to be associated with the process.
Pat, Essex

Politics, like life, is full of compromise

Mark M. Newdick, USA
Not voting because one is "dissatisfied" with all the parties is an intellectually immature argument. Politics, like life, is full of compromise and sometimes we have to select the least onerous path in order to move forward. Doing nothing is a cop-out for the lazy mind, and totally irresponsible.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

Will not be voting this year. I am disgusted with the handling of foot and mouth, so many healthy animals had to be killed to get this election on track! Living here in Mid Wales we have witnessed this disgraceful slaughter, but no one wants to admit that Professor King was more interested in election dates than foot and mouth!
Maureen, Wales

We are now in the age of the Professional Politician and what a boring lot they are

Phil, UK
We are now in the age of the Professional Politician and what a boring lot they are. There's not a real character amongst them, they've not been anywhere, not done anything, nor have they achieved anything of any worth that is not associated with their Profession, politics. They are frightened of opening their mouths in case their careers will be finished so they trot out the party line. Don't they have an original thought in their heads? And they want us to go out and vote for them!
Phil, UK

Not voting because one is dissatisfied with all the parties is an intellectually immature argument. Politics, like life, is full of compromise and sometimes we have to select the least onorous path in order to move forward. Doing nothing is a cop-out for the lazy mind, and totally irresponsible.
Mark, USA/UK

Voting should be compulsory and there should be an extra box on the ballot paper of 'none of the above.' This way people can register their dissatisfaction of the main parties without seeming not to care about politics at all.
Tom Skinner, Manchester, UK

I agree with Tom Skinner, there should be a tick on the ballot form saying 'none of the above'. It might force them to actually do something instead of arguing with each other all the time. I can't see why they will not collaborate on things like health and education. It might actually be better for us the people.
Paul Thompson, Manchester / UK

If people don't want to vote, it's their right

Nick, Southampton
I'm totally against compulsory voting. If people don't want to vote, it's their right. What I'd also suggest, though, is setting a rule that if participation is below, say, 20 per cent in a constituency then this constituency loses its MP. This alone may increase participation. If however it doesn't, then it means that the people don't want to be represented, and it's up to them!
Nick, Southampton

Voting should be compulsory even if it is a vote for no party.
David Rubin, Toronto Canada

I really can't be bothered to write this...
Lazy Voter, London, UK

This election offers a choice rather similar to that of being bitten by a Mamba or a Cobra

Julian Borrett, Leeds
I do intend to vote because people fought and died for my right to vote. I have not yet decided how I will vote but I know I shall not be voting for either of the two main parties. The two main parties have absolutely nothing to offer the disenfranchised classes. For millions of people, this election offers a choice rather similar to that of being bitten by a Mamba or a Cobra.
Julian Borrett, Leeds

Only by not voting can I make my point that I am not represented by either of the two Conservative Parties or the Lib Dems. Politicians should realise that an individual not using their right to vote is in fact a reflection of their ineptitude. For many, many years now people have got on with their lives despite Government, not because of them.
Dan Dove, Bognor Regis, England

No, I certainly will not vote. I really do wish that the media would stop calling this decision 'apathy'. This does grave injustice to those of us out here who feel disenfranchised by spin and deviousness. I have been a faithful Labour voter all of my adult life - no longer. It is my opinion that this current Government is more interested in presentation than content.
Dr Tony Shuttleworth, London, UK

I am 16 and I just wish that I could vote now

Benj'min Mossop, London, UK
I think it is absolutely disgusting that anyone in this country so much as considers abstaining from voting. The right to vote was fought for by so many, and yet it is shunned both by the lazy and by those who abstain in the name of 'freedom' from politics. I am 16 and I just wish that I could vote now. Unfortunately I am in the minority, and the majority chooses to shun democracy, either through political apathy at the ballot box or in their daily lives. The turn out will fall this year and those who abstain will have disgraced humanity.
Benj'min Mossop, London, UK

Won't be voting this time despite having studied politics at 'A' level and followed elections closely. A recent question individually to members of the education sub-committee received no response at all. If they won't have the decency to even acknowledge a question to them, why should I go out of my way to vote. We only matter when they need us (elections), the rest of the time we are an inconvenience.
Chris White, Hove

With politicians playing the media game so well, it is about time that the three leaders decided on a live television debate together

Julian, London
We are a public more spinned against than spinning. We know that politicians have their own agendas to work to, and so every night we see paraded in front of us the photo op, sound bite, or new "election poster." With politicians playing the media game so well, it is about time that the three leaders decided on a live television debate together. In an era where only a few issues divide the parties, let's see their leaders in a room debating the questions that matter and let the people decide who they trust, without the spin. Then the country may just engage in the debate with you.
Julian, London

Voter apathy and lack of concern in Czechoslovakia in 1948 led to a "victory" for the Communists. Hitler came to power on just 32 per cent of the vote. The Conservatives under Thatcher only got a minority vote. History should teach us something about what happens when we do nothing.
Barry, Havant, Hants

Can someone tell me the difference between Conservative and Labour?

Andy, Lincs
It looks like the residents of Conservative and Labour head office are inundating this forum, encouraging us to do the right thing. To suggest that people who don't vote are "incapable of making serious decisions" is a joke. It is the government that is incapable, not us. It's not about democratic rights, it's about not agreeing with any of them! Can someone tell me the difference between Conservative and Labour? And the Liberals are just an appendage of the Labour Party! If we don't have people we agree with standing in our wards, who do we vote for? My advice is - Vote Apathy - if you can be bothered!
Andy, Lincs, England

I will be voting for all of the candidates. My big X all over the ballot paper will turn it into a spoiled paper, which by law must be counted. It is the only way available to me to register a protest vote saying none of these greedy liars are worth voting for.
Lulli, Coventry, England

I won't waste my vote for anyone one.
Waseem, Grayshott, UK

There are many voters around the country who consider themselves to be traditional Labour voters who feel that they can't vote because none of the three main parties represent their left wing views. I'm not a left winger, but I think the media could encourage unpersuaded voters to register their votes by voting for a socialist party candidate or similar. I suspect many of the people who plan not to vote are those who feel the government are too far right, and don't want to encourage that stance.
Iain Wright, London

I am a firm advocate of mandatory voting. However the system has to be changed to PR. My vote will be worthless, just as it has every other time I have voted, because I live in an area where Labour could get elected with a Shaved Rotweiller in a Suit. What's the point?
Ian Lowe, Scotland, UK

Ian Lowe has hit the nail right on the head, in my area the Tory will get in as usual. A vote for anyone else is a futile protest. The comments on this forum show that the public are politically aware and looking for a real alternative to the varying shades of Conservatism on offer. Until all votes count as much as those in the marginal seats, apathy will increase. Show you care and spoil your ballot paper. That way you have made the effort to go to the polling station and registered your dissatisfaction.
Jenni, England

Show some respect for your country and go and vote

Ruth, Bristol
It disgusts me when people say they cannot be bothered to vote because it makes no difference. There are people across the world to this day who are fighting and dying to achieve democracy in their country. Only last century in this country women fought and died to get the vote. How insular and self-interested we have become. Show some respect for your country and go and vote. Yes, it might mean a 10-minute walk to the polling station and yes, you might miss the last bit of Eastenders, but for the respect of those not as lucky as us, go and use your freedom and don't take it for granted.
Ruth, Bristol, UK

I won't vote, but only because I am French and have not bothered (or found the time) to apply for British citizenship to which I am entitled.
Pascal Jacquemain, Croydon, UK (French)

Many people who say they won't vote often take a very high moral tone, which suggests to me that they're not really engaged in the real world anyway and are therefore incapable of making serious decisions. The fact that it doesn't make a lot of difference in practical terms who governs to many people is no excuse for not voting; it does make a very real difference to many other people and, ultimately, determines what kind of society we all live in, besides being a testament to how lucky we all are to live in a stable democracy. I'll vote because I can.
Steve, UK

I will not be voting for any of the megalomaniacs on offer this June, not because of apathy but due to disillusionment

Thom Leggett, Milton Keynes
I will not be voting for any of the megalomaniacs on offer this June, not because of apathy but due to disillusionment. I don't believe that the people I elect have or will ever look after my interests; the main parties (the only ones who even stand a chance of winning in our antiquated electoral system) are too deep into the pockets of bug business to look out for the man in the street.
Thom Leggett, Milton Keynes, UK

Voters have a tremendous choice in this country. Most voters will have the choice of a Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidate, not to mention a socialist, probably an independant or two, and a eurosceptic. The common complaint is that only two candidates have any chance of winning, therefore the other candidates don't count. Well doesn't that depend purely on how people cast their votes? I am very fortunate- I shall be voting Lib Dem in constituency taken by them in 1997 but my reason for voting for them is because I support their policies. Perceived lack of choice is no excuse for apathy.
Tim Saunders, UK

I don't understand people who don't vote because they think their vote doesn't count. Tactical voting can be extremely powerful, and we are only just learning how to do it. A vote always counts, even when it's not a winning vote. It encourages losing parties to keep trying. Thousands of people up and down this country are giving many days of their time so that you can have the opportunity to exercise your democratic rights. You owe it to them, and to future, better, politicians, to spend 10 minutes of your time giving someone the encouragement they need to keep going.
Andrew, Burnley, UK

There are so many things which are important for the general public to know about which are at present being hidden behind games of point scoring. if we were properly informed on policies and real issues then apathy might be reversed.
Natalie, London, England

Of course I'll vote - otherwise I have no right to complain

Guy Chapman, UK
Of course I'll vote - otherwise I have no right to complain about the mess the government of the day always seems to make of running the country.
Guy Chapman, UK

The French essayist Paul Valery highlighted the problem when he wrote that "politics is the art of preventing people taking part in affairs which properly concern them".
Ian Millar, Cambridge UK

Anyone who does not vote forgoes any right they had to criticise what the government do. Time and time again I hear people moaning about what the Labour Government has or has not done, and when asked which way they will vote at election time they say "I don't vote, there's no point". If you want something changing, there's every point in voting.
Simon Giles, Southampton, UK

Apathy is the wrong word. Alienation is a better description for many people

Nigel Unwin, Newcastle, UK
Apathy is the wrong word. Alienation is a better description for many people. Unless you live in a marginal seat you may as well not vote - however you vote is pretty much certain to make no difference to the outcome. Electoral reform is essential if people are to feel more connected to the political process.
Nigel Unwin, Newcastle, UK

People will only start returning to lodge their votes when the voting system changes. A system that can return a party to power with a huge majority despite their failure to attract even 50% of the popular vote, is long past its sell-by date. Politicians from both the big parties can deny it until they are blue in the face, but the voting public know better.
Damian, St Asaph, N Wales

Instead of not turning up, spoil your ballot paper and explain why you are not voting for any of the candidates.
Paul, Milton Keynes, England

Don't vote - it only encourages them.

I will be out of the country during election week, but I will certainly vote by post prior to going. As far as I am concerned, if you can't be bothered to make the effort, you have no right to complain, no matter what party is in power.
Bev, Exeter, UK

Why bother? Every four or five years our political masters come to us begging for our vote, saying they will act on our behalf. They then spend the next four or five years listening to the CBI, Institute of Directors, the TUC, the IMF, the WTO and the protocols of GATT and the G8. Essentially, they couldn't care less what we think.
Al, Edinburgh

The majority of the electorate regularly vote against the government which ends up in office

Richard Philips, London, UK
This country's 'apathy vote' doesn't surprise me at all, especially when the majority of the electorate regularly vote against the government that actually ends up in office. I know which party will win my constituency seat - my vote is therefore irrelevant. I would vote under a system of proportional representation.

I am not going to vote for a candidate (party plant) who doesn't live in the constituency, they clearly can't represent the electorate's interests if they haven't been part of it.

There should be an option on the ballot paper to choose "none of the above". And why in this day and age can I not vote for policies, which mean something to me, rather than for a party?
Richard Philips, London, UK

I think it is healthy when people do not vote as it signals that they are concentrating on more important things. I trust the people that are in charge of running things with the job they have and if I did not, I would spend my whole time worrying about it which does no one any good at all. We do not have a harsh regime in this country, so we should just relax a little more about the whole issue of government, and start concentrating on making good the only thing we truly have to live with 24 hours a day: ourselves.
Matt Parker, Manchester, UK

It's not apathy that stops me from voting - it's the fact that I've been effectively disenfranchised by Nu Blu Labour, which supplanted the party I supported.
Sasha Lubetkin, London, UK

Don't vote if you don't want to, but then don't complain if everyone else who bothers to vote elects a party you don't like.
Steve, UK

Apathy only rules when people have no real choice

Dave, Milton Keynes UK
As a candidate for the Socialist Alliance I hope that people do turn out for one of the socialist or green parties - but don't vote for one of the three main parties who are all in essence the same. Apathy only rules when people have no real choice such as the "choice" between Labour, Liberals and the Tories
Dave, Milton Keynes UK

I will be voting. To me, general elections are about strategic direction (not, for example, details of taxation). As a "natural" conservative with around a 90% record of Tory voting over 33 years, I believe it is absolutely essential this time to vote against them, however safe the seat, to give the leadership the resounding raspberry I believe they deserve.
Phil Sams, Neston, Wirral

if you don't vote - don't whinge

Craig H, Brighton, UK
Quite simply if you don't vote - don't whinge. We have the most bizarre way of registering our disapproval in this country - opting out, then complaining later when we don't like the result. I would rather someone vote against me than not at all. We have all heard that our forefathers died for our right to vote. But people are dying today, now, not too many miles from here for that right. That said it is unfortunate that nothing seems to have come from the government policy of making voting easier in this day and age. Why not vote at the local supermarket or mall?
Craig H, Brighton, UK

Given that most of the campaigning seems to be about point scoring over the other parties it's not surprising that people don't care about voting. Maybe if people felt that politicians were addressing them they'd feel more inclined to vote. The perception that Labour will win regardless can't be helping matters either.
Linus Cox, London, UK

It's not that people don't care about the way their country is run, rather that they are not presented with viable choices at the ballot box

Idris, London, UK

I think it's wrong to think about a potential low turnout in terms of voter apathy. It's not that people don't care about the way their country is run, rather that they are not presented with viable choices at the ballot box. Add to this the fact that the two main parties are quite openly targeting their campaigns at one specific slice of the population - 'Middle England' - it's hardly surprising that many people show little passion for this election.
Idris, London, UK

The right to vote should be seen as a privilege. Perhaps in the event of continued absence from the voting booth this privilege should be withdrawn.
Noggin The Nog, Northlands, UK

I will be voting at this election - I think that it is my duty. OK, the party that I will vote for do not match my views exactly, but I would rather who I am voting for in power than a party that is completely at odds with my views. It's one of the few times that we have a real say (until such a time as we have some constitutional reform).
Dominic, London, UK

The future of the UK will be decided by the 800,000 people living in marginals

Adrian, North Hampshire, UK
What's the point unless you live in a marginal? The future of the UK will be decided by the 800,000 people living in marginals. Tony Blair has already recognised this, targeting "Operation Turnout" on marginals, and distributing his manifesto not to all 38 million voters, but just to one million in marginal constituencies. Perhaps some alarm bells should be ringing and a review of how to represent people fairly undertaken after the election?
Adrian, North Hampshire, UK

My entire family of 17 people would not vote, even if we were paid. Only Charles Kennedy has made any sweeping policy statements, and that's only because he has no chance of being elected.
Chris, NW London

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