Blears pitches prize draws and online polls at young votes
Sticker chartists swell the electorate
Hazel Blears plans to reinvigorate local democracy and sprinkle some Miracle Gro on the nation’s grass roots by bribing voters with stickers and tickets for prize draws.
The Communities Secretary has delivered up a white paper “setting out proposals to deliver a fundamental shift in power, influence and responsibility into the hands of communities and citizens”. The aim is to counter the UK’s growing pessimism and cynicism about politics.
It advocates forcing councils to respond to petitions from voters, driving through more accountability and ensuring every locality has a “community kitty scheme”.
Technology inevitably plays a part; a proposal that voters should be able to launch online petitions to demand elected mayors, means every town and village could have its own Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone.
Young people are of course crucial to this effort to reinvigorate local democracy. Amongst the ideas being pitched to make it cool to vote, are "schemes which recognise people who have turned out on polling day, for example every voter getting an ‘I’ve Voted’ sticker at the ballot box".
Anyone with young children knows that a “sticker chart” can be highly effective in persuading junior to stop turning up his nose at greens, stay in bed after 4.30am and stop pissing all over the duvet.
But frankly, allowing people who still respond to this kind of encouragement after puberty to actually have a say in running the country sounds downright dangerous.
Equally disturbing is the proposal that people who vote are automatically entered into a prize draw. Apparently chicken dinners, TVs and iPods are favoured prizes in the US, which is fine if you’re choosing between having Colonel Sanders or Steve Jobs as the President. (Don’t even start.)
The whitepaper is keen to point out that “voting incentives should not be construed as ‘paying for votes’ or create a major new financial burden on councils”.
Rather, “they should be viewed as an eyecatching method to increase awareness and engagement, especially with young people who have never voted and who might view the process with suspicion”.
The problem is anyone who only votes to get an iPod, or even a Big Mac, may not necessarily be casting a particularly informed, discriminating vote.
Just as a footnote, the press release accompanying the white paper includes details of some of the actions Portsmouth is taking to increase its youngsters' role in local democracy. These include the Sorted! emerging Youth Parliament.
Apparently, “the Sorted group of young people were formed in response to strengthening young people's participation on the health information, advice, guidance and services they receive”. [sic]
The council ensures “the young people are trained in tier 1 substance misuse and sex and relationships, as well as mystery shopping techniques”. All of which will stand them in good stead for when they take their seats at Westminster.
The full white paper is available here (pdf). ®
my politicle histroy
1992 age 12 - fancited by politics watched all ecetion news did volentry work for local libdem candate tryed to stay up late for the elction covrage
1997 age 17 - still facinated politicles watched all brodcasts but was in middle of studing for exams anoyed was 1 year to young to vote v enfusistic about albor land slide
2002 age 22 - starting to get sik of polititions having read a lot of there addresses and studeyed there policies and it's affects but know the local mp perconley and had help form him in campain to get broadband in the arear
2008 age 28 - having watched and listened to what politions are saying I honistley can not bring my self to vote for any of them
blare, brown, hage,duncon smith, camron and the lot of them have killed my intrest in voteing in 10 years I rember al the speches made in 92 97 and they are just prouting the same retroic even worse now the blue ones are saying what the red ones said in 97 so I think if I vote for the blue ones they will be just as bad as the red ones are I think my only hope are the purple ones I take with food every lunch time
@NB, so thats why there is so much knife crime
When I were a wee Yoof, I used to believe that voting for the LibDems would sort everything out. As I have got a bit older I see the LibDems as useless and the other two as evil.
Everyone know never talk about politics or religion, so they don't. Both hot topics with me.
The labor government is a bit like ebay, got to power because they were the best, now able to use that power to do the most insaine and evil things and not be slapped down for it.
There has gotta be a point where blowing up the Houses Of Parlement is better than putting up with this.
The 'kids' don't vote because even the adults get nowehere with it.
mkay mouse nearly Ready to say... I Say! ?
Hmm, encouraging people to vote. Is that a new idea? No, I Think not. Is IT compatible with the idea of discouraging people from voting in certain Key Areas 42 Swing the vote at the last minute?
The games are played in a myriad of ways. Some pleasant and some foul and some Simply Divine -Quite Immaculate and in deed and indDeed rather Kalman too.