'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Thursday, 21 April 2011

People of Britain: Listen to me!!

Except they’re not listening to me. In fact they are not listening to any of us. That's why the AV turnout is going to be disturbingly low...

I’ve blogged previously about my frustrations at getting anyone to pay attention to the good things the Lib Dems are doing; it’s basically because so many people have lost their faith in us (thanks to both real and perceived u-turns) that while we may be doing an awful lot right, no-one is willing to engage.

I’m afraid much the same is true about the AV referendum.

My friend Peter – who is a very bright soul and an excellent historian – said to me the other week (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the AV Referendum was probably the most important constitutional (and therefore political) event in 100 years – and yet he was struggling to get excited about it.

Various of the great and the good have tried to explain why no one’s very interested in the AV campaign. This ranges from it generally being dull, mendacious (No campaign, I’m looking at you), confusing, and uninspiring all round.

I don’t think so.

I think it’s down to trust.

People haven’t lost interest in politics – look at the support people like 38 Degrees get for their campaigns or the attendance at the TUC March a few weeks about – people haven’t stopped caring.

But they have lost faith in national politics.

They lost faith in Labour and the Tories some time ago (the former more than the latter – as memories fade of past Tory misdemeanours)

Now they’ve seen us in power – and truth to tell, despite many of the great things we’ve done, an awful lot of people don’t trust us any more either.

Hence turn out will be lower. If people are feeling let down by the three big national parties, they are not going to hurry over deciding how a load of national politicians should be elected.

I suspect they would rather go on a march. Or indeed, eat a bag of soot.

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