the friend online
05 May 2006

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What does the Town Hall matter anyway?
With the rather worrying news recently that up to 25% of the public entertained the possibility of voting for the BNP, who did you vote for in local council elections yesterday? If you had the opportunity to, did you vote at all?

In 2003, the last local elections in which there were no other national elections to tempt people out to make their marks, turnout averaged 36%
  • And when people do turn out to vote in a local election, the chances are they're actually voting on national issues rather than local ones – in Birmingham in 2004, the Labour party lost its 20-year control of the city in what most predicted was a backlash against the Iraq war
  • It's all very well 'sending the party in charge at Westminster a message' – but actually, what has the national government's invasion of another country got to do with how much money the local library service has to spend each year on new books? These are the local issues which it is much more important to think about when casting a vote than considering the local elections to be a national opinion poll

  • simon gray & John Ward

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