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Debate: Will you turn up to vote on May 1?

The local elections are a week away. Liverpool has the UK's lowest voter turnout. There is no poll in the city next year, so everything counts. But can you be bothered voting or not?

Published on April 23rd 2008.

Debate: Will you turn up to vote on May 1?

Cerys Cooper says she is one of the silent majority who will not be turning out to vote on May 1

HAVE YOU heard the recent radio adverts, aimed at persuading people to vote in the local elections this year?

These expensive ads are part of a public relations campaign paid for by you and me, the great council taxpayers.

The claim that, by voting in the local elections, citizens
can hold politicians and bureaucrats to account is total nonsense. These
guys are a law
unto themselves
- and don't think
you can change it

The radio campaign claims that if we don’t vote on May 1, we won’t have a say in how the bins are collected, how our children are taught in school or if the streets swept of dog muck. So you can lump it, in other words.

It would have been a laugh if they had also claimed that if we didn’t vote in Liverpool, we wouldn’t have a say in the huge pay-offs paid to people leaving the city council and culture company!

The claim that, by voting in the local elections, citizens can hold politicians and bureaucrats to account, and subject them to their will, is total nonsense.

These guys are a law unto themselves - and don't think you can change it.

A new broom might sweep clean for a bit, but all politicians, are, in the end, all the same. Power corrupts.

No one ever knocks on my door in Walton and asks me what I think of paying the latest failure a £250,000 golden handshake.

No one ever asks me what I think of the great city of Liverpool having the worst performing council in the country.

I have never seen the top municipal officers or members wandering around Walton Hall Park asking people for their views on allowing developers to build on their green spaces.

Politicians, of whatever party, never ask me about dog dirt, or empty houses on Edge Lane, or how much in allowances councillors should be paid.

They ask for my vote once a year – then they all go away and do what the hell they like. It’s no surprise, then, that the percentage turn-out in Liverpool is just 27 per cent – the lowest in the country. Or that one ward – Central - has a turnout of just 12 per cent.

People are voting with their feet - the only kind of vote they are prepared to cast. And after what’s gone on among all the parties at the Town Hall in the last 18 months, I would be astonished if there wasn’t a stampede away from the polling booths on May 1.

It does not matter whether you are voting in Liverpool or anywhere else. It is your absolute duty to turn up and be counted, says Chris Jason

STAYING at home on polling day means that you stay silent.

Staying at home means that you are mocking the most hard-won privilege in any society: Democracy.

And here, after events at the city council in the last year, it is more important than ever that the people of Liverpool make their voices heard on May 1. You won't get another chance for two years.

Are you prepared to stay silent until 2010 about the embarrassment of living in the city with the worst council in the country?

Silent about the eye-watering salaries of the fat cats; care home closures, redundancies?

That’s not Liverpool - or its people.

We normally have a view about everything – and we should express it about our civic leaders in no uncertain terms on May 1.

You may have no time for the ruling party or any of its opponents, but by staying silent you seal your lips forever.

How else are they ever going to learn?
How else are they ever going to change?
How else can the city ever move forward?
Don’t bother voting, goes the cynical old saying – it only encourages them.
Not true.

Staying silent only encourages politicians to think no one has noticed what they have been up to. To think that no one cares. To think they can do what they like.

Politicians, both in and out of power, need to know that we are watching them. They must earn our trust – not take our votes for granted.

They need to know that we can make our own minds up, without spin and circuses. That it is we, the people of Liverpool, who grant power - and it is we who will take it away.

Our forefathers won the right to vote and
in some parts of the world, people are
still fighting to make their voices heard.
It would be a disgrace
if, on May 1, Liverpool
did not shout at the top of its voice

And surely, given the millions of pounds in public money which the city council has spent down the years, no one can believe the local elections are irrelevant?

Our forefathers won the right to vote generations ago. They fought to make their voices heard.

In some parts of the world, people are still fighting to make their voices heard. It would be a disgrace if, on May 1, Liverpool did not shout at the top of its voice.

Vote for whoever you must. But never be accused of only a weak whimper.

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Beatrice FraenkelApril 23rd 2008.

I wouldn't vote for the Lib Dems either - they have done more damage than Militant. That's why I left them!

Am I Bovvered?April 23rd 2008.

Yes, but the point is, I bet nobody can be arsed voting them out. You get what you are given, and in this case it's a shambolic leadership. No wonder the city is a laughing stock when we continue to let them get away with it by not even being bothered to vote for an alternative.

DEMOCRATApril 23rd 2008.

this is a cracking site about the lib demshttp://www.worst-council-in-the-country.com/

the Sensible oneApril 23rd 2008.

I say vote BNP and scare the lot of them.

Hilary BurrageApril 23rd 2008.

Do you know that even just 100 years ago Liverpool had not a single woman councillor? And that it's even more recently that all adult women were 'allowed' to vote in every election?..... And still the senior representation in the city is overwhelmingly male (and white)..... This alone is surely enough to make us consider how fragile our local democracy is. PLEASE VOTE. It matters!

Suburbs dadApril 23rd 2008.

Stanley Street is right about voting being too casual. But I don't think I will be voting because none of these people gave told me they are worth it.

PeterApril 23rd 2008.

If anyone votes Lib Dem after ten years of their abject failure, sleaze and incompetence, they need karting off to Broadmoor. They deserve all they get.

OHYEAH?April 23rd 2008.

For fools only.

Tricky WooApril 23rd 2008.

They add a whole new meaning to the term "power shower," do the Lib Dems not?

catch_22April 23rd 2008.

In liverpool we have a particularly poor political situation, both at a local and national election level, crap councillor, 3rd rate MPs. At local level we are only just finishing licking the wounds inflicted by Labours Militant folly which has allowed a motely grouping to rule for 10 years under the banner of Lib dems. Although these libs dems are so far removed from the national Lib dem party in behaviour and poilcy that the national leadership rarely mentions its control of Liverpool. And what's worse is in an effort to try and pull Liverpool out of a quagmire the council have increased the authority granted to 3rd rate council officers and senior managers, telling us all the time this is necessary to attract world class talent and then hiring cast offs and rejects from other Northwest councils and created numerous joint ventures with private sector harpies that create short term investment and huge long term costs. In most wards there is little choice votes are cast in low turn out areas along party lines which means that its difficult to break large majorities and when you do all you get is a choice of 2 which will put people of voting inlocal elections becuase who wants to vote for Labour at the moment? What we need is a campaign to encourage tactial voting as in our political system money, change and national attention comes not from large majorities to one party but to swing seats. So if you want better local politicians and more money from Westminster Liverpool confidential or the Daily Post could start a campign to turn Liverpool into a swing city then politicians would take notice.

WappingApril 23rd 2008.

I've always thought that if voting could change anything "they" wouldn't let us do it. The quality of candidates seems to be appallingly low. I'd certainly like to vote for someone I could believe would be good at their job but if I vote, it will be against the incumbent and I think that's a disgrace. At ground level they all look the same.


I agree.

scouse690April 23rd 2008.

Suburbs dad...you should be ashamed of yourself...not voting?!? As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as a wasted vote. As long as you vote for what you believe in, you then have a right to whinge and moan at the local government. It's those people that DON'T use their vote...then moan continuously, that get on my pip!! They have no right.I've already voted...yes a postal vote...but by doing it that way it allows me a chance to voice my opinion(vote). Last time, an emergency cropped up on the day, and I was unable to get to the polling station. At least I know that my vote has gone in now. And NO, I haven't voted Lib Dem, or Labour...I've voted Green, for the first time. And NO, I don't believe that it's a wasted vote...after all, if we all thought that way, there would never be a change!! The Greens would never have allowed the selling off of PUBLIC spaces, to the private sector. This local shower of idiots in charge at the moment think that it is all within their ownership, to sell off as they please. They are now selling off even more of Otterspool Prom (at the bottom of Riversdale Road) for even more houses to be built...where do they think the people are coming from?? And Tesco's finally got the thumbs up to extend onto the University playing fields in Mather Avenue, that must've been a hefty bung into the back pockets!! The demolition of the ancient trees in Sefton Park...just because they weren't on the original plan?? And right on top of breeding season for the birds....these idiots need reporting to the RSPB...in fact, I'll do it.And building on Stanley Park, when we have huge brownfield sites (ex factory) going spare....these Parks belong to the people of Liverpool...not the local government, who are selling them off, to bolster the coffers to counteract all of the money they have POURED away. And the Littlewoods site...art deco buildings, to be demolished for developers to build yet more houses/apartments....our heritage is being knocked down, left right and centre, so that they can line their own pockets.Enough is enough!!...everyone should use their vote, and vote for what they believe in.I'm worn out now...This is how I feel, but I'm sure there will be those of you, out there, that disagree...but, that's the whole idea of democracy and freedom of speech.

AnonymousApril 23rd 2008.

Iknow it's not a popular thing to say, but the BNP is always an option.

Tramway FieldApril 23rd 2008.

I have also voted Green by post in st michaels. The Lib Dems should loose St Michaels, Belle Vale and Yew Tree Wards. If they loose just another 2 wards they will loose controll of the council and we will have a Hung Council. After all the big pay offs thats what most of the councilors need!

Mosley StreetApril 23rd 2008.

Vote BNP and you'll scare the BNP; they'll be intimidated by having supporters capable of making an 'x' in a ballot paper.

Stanley StreetApril 23rd 2008.

I always vote on principle, but it really is a case of going for the least-worst candidate. I've never voted for this shower and they've been in power ten years! Voting should be more of an occasion, we should all get the day off work and have to turn up at the polling station in person, no crappy "text" or telephone voting, and no postal votes permitted until the Visiting Presiding Officer has been around to nail the lazy bastards to their beds to give them a good reason.Voting is too casual these days, it's no longer considered important enough for people to be arsed.

AnonymousApril 23rd 2008.

i have always voted lib-dem, not this year....use your vote!

Peter SnowApril 23rd 2008.

The Lib Dems have 48 seats currently. There are 90 seats on Liverpool city council. Ergo, if they lose just THREE seats, they will lose overall control of the council. THREE SEATS AND THEY'RE OUT! If anyone needed an excuse to go and vote this is surely it? The Greens will win St Michaels and Labour the other two. What price then a Lab/Green coalition? That would be fantastic. But there will also be some surprises - a certain blonde, who likes Rottweillers, may well be dumped on her arse too. And whether after 30 years, Frank Doran will survive in Kensington, the most neglected, depressing and derelict area of the city is also open to doubt. I shall keep you posted throughout the night!

MattApril 23rd 2008.

Brilliant rant above - but I shall be voting Labour!

de VouvrayApril 23rd 2008.

There is only one thing in the world that can possibly motivate a politician to actually do their job, and that is the threat of losing their seat, their priveleges and their access to the gravy train. And that can only happen if the voters threaten to vote them out. So VOTE!!!!!!!!

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