Ballot-box blues: Voters set to stay home this May
Our talented colleagues not only work tirelessly for MPC but many are also active councillors. We’ve asked a couple of our councillors what the word on the door-step is ahead of the local elections in May.
Isobel Ballsdon is a Conservative councillor on Reading Borough Council and an Account Manager in our Thames Valley office.
“On the door-step a minority of traditional Conservative supporters are telling activists they are furious that the Referendum result has not yet been implemented. They’re saying “to hell with politicians, I’m not going to vote for anyone”. This voter apathy and angst is not unique to the Conservatives.
Although understandable - I mean who isn’t fed up and despairing over Brexit (no matter whether a Remainer or Brexiteer) – it is both illogical and short-sighted to abstain and I’ll tell you why. Regardless of the widely anticipated low turnout this May, all the councillor seats will be filled. Having a hardworking, vocal councillor prepared to speak up on your behalf can make a huge impact on your life and the whole of your community. The opposite is true too if you’re landed with an incompetent and / or inactive councillor. Surely it makes sense therefore to cast your vote for who you think most capable to represent you and your local community?”
Theo Dennison is a Labour councillor in West London and works in our Thames Valley office.
“This year a big national funk overhangs what might otherwise be a pretty straightforward set of local elections. The seats up this time were won in 2015 on the same day as the General Election that saw David Cameron return to Downing Street with an unexpected majority. It was a bit of a high-water mark for them, with Conservatives winning seats with big majorities and little work, which should be impossible to replicate in May.
Normally Labour would be expecting to make big gains and I am confident that their better candidates still will. We were hoping Brexit failure would lead to a Conservative meltdown, but it looks more like turnout will drop and voters will put a plague on all our houses.
My sister in Lancashire is fighting a safe Conservative seat needing an 11.5% swing to oust the incumbent. It was a key seat but in line with the latest expectations it’s just been downgraded so she’s on her own. Contact rates are down, residents roll their eyes on their sofas and wave canvassers off rather than answer the door. When they do speak to you there is an air of exhaustion, politics isn’t working for them, enthusiasm is low, and they don’t see the point – if politicians don’t work for you why vote for them, they say. Hers is a strongly Brexit area but anger isn’t turning to revenge they are switching off. Pocket book and local issues are being ignored, there is a feeling of helplessness, good candidates are carrying on, but rewards may be thinner than we had hoped.”
MPC provides a local authority election reporting service in the run up to and aftermath of the local elections.
As part of the package we offer a pre-election report which is delivered in April and helps set the scene for the upcoming polls. A further report maps out the post-election political landscape in each authority and is supplied in the immediate aftermath of the election.
If you may be interested in this service, please contact your relevent regional office.