Posts Tagged ‘voter turnout’

Begrudgingly, Labour must accept police and crime commissioners

20/11/2012, 07:00:52 AM

by David Talbot

The police must no longer be immune to radical reform. A mighty vested interest, which has historically seen off just about all attempts to reform it, they have grown into a monolithic empire that successive governments dare not touch. It has been a failure of political will to pursue reform; Blair balked from many of the more controversial reforms his bellicose former home secretaries, in the shape of Messrs Blunkett and Clarke, conjured up. For Labour’s leaders, being pro-police was a vital ingredient of being New Labour. But the myopic faith our political leaders, and the public, once had in the police has sadly waned in the light of recent events – and it is why Labour should welcome the newly-minted police and crime commissioners

The police have long claimed the irrelevance of their political masters when it comes to policing. They have operated an arrogant closed doors policy that has intimidated, and dissuaded, many from engaging in their work. These reactions demonstrate that our police are systemically intolerant of debate and virulently closed to new ideas.

The police need democratic oversight. They are one of the most closed, complex and costly of public services. It is can only be right that the police are brought closer to the very people they are sworn to protect. The apparent immunity of the police service to wider accountability has been a distressing aspect of the service ever since the committees of councillors, members of the public and magistrates took over in the 1960s from local watch committees, which had existed since the 1830s.


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How Labour can get out the vote that other parties cannot reach

10/05/2012, 02:22:14 PM

by Peter Goddard

One of the perennial concerns of political observers and party campaigners alike is the problem of low turnout. It’s a particular issue for the Labour party given some of the most disadvantaged groups, who would potentially be natural Labour supporters, are also among the least likely to vote.

Admittedly, high turnout is not the be all and end all – after all, elections with 100% turnout are generally characterised by a 100% vote in favour of the excited gesticulating man in a general’s uniform. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned from the world of sales and marketing which could increase the number of our supporters making the effort to have their say.

When campaigning to increase turnout, the temptation is to take an approach which attempts to convince people that voting is ‘a good thing’ and that the current government are the heartless friends of bankers.

This may be accompanied by a range of well-meaning liberal talking heads despairing that voters are not exercising their democratic rights to fight back against the government and wondering what more can be done to win back these disillusioned voters.

Whilst this seems logical on the face of it, it is an approach that may actually be doing more harm than good. The reason? Social proof.

Social proof is the principle that people tend to do what other people are already doing. One person standing and staring into the sky is an oddball. A dozen people doing this will soon find themselves joined by a flock of fellow skygazers. The government have latched onto a variant known as ‘nudge’ but that doesn’t mean it can’t be of use for Labour.


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