It was getting late in the day but I met a fellow SNP Member in Lochmaben to help deliver some leaflets in the town centre, up by the golf course, by the loch(s), around Marjoriebanks, and Rankine Heights, with a fair bit left to do today and tomorrow. There was still a chance to speak to some voters even though it was starting to get dark and this time there was more positive input on the voting process from younger people (most of whom had to travel from Lochmaben to work.) Where you live and where you work are seldom the same it seems, so that can add significant travel costs in terms of time and fuel, or some frustration with the scheduling of bus services.
What is it that divides those who could vote but don’t and those who can vote and do? I’m sure the answer can’t be generalised across such large population (but I’m sure it’s been tried.) It makes sense that if someone is campaigning on an issue that affects you directly there will be more perceived value in voting as a way of influencing change for the better.
But is it as simple as having the right policy? I think there are a lot of assumptions made by some politicians about what you or I actually care about and what motivates us. I don’t think that the current crop of MPs in the Westminster government really represent most of us at all. As a councillor it is possible to get away, to a large extent, from petty party politics and listen and deal more directly with concerns. Even here however, the system is far from perfect: the amount of perceived waste and unnecessary bureaucracy in Dumfries and Galloway Council has been brought to my attention repeatedly by voters (and those who don’t vote because of it!)
It’s not right that a Council should be wasting money when many of the people it serves don’t have enough to maintain a healthy standard of living.