Thursday May 7th is the general election here in the UK. The nation will turn out to vote for the next #Prime Minister, but the major issue in this election is voter apathy. In this election it appears there will be no party that can win outright and a coalition may almost certainly be necessary. While the UK has had a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition in power since 2010, the Conservatives did at least get winning margin of votes, even if they were unable to get enough seats to have a majority in the House of Commons. This year the polls are even tighter - as of May 6th, the BBC Poll Tracker had the Conservative Party ahead with 34% of predicted votes but the Labour Party is right behind them with 33% of the votes, with other news sources placing them neck-in-neck.
The need for a coalition
With voting so incredibly close the question on the UK public's minds is not about which party will win, but instead which coalition will win. This year the smaller political parties have been heavily involved in campaigning - with UKIP and the Green Party as well as the SNP (Scottish National Party) and the Plaid Cymru (the Party of Wales) all working hard to promote themselves around the UK. In fact, the Green Party has the second largest share of votes amongst students in the UK, although voter turnout among students is notoriously low. With these parties fighting for the public's vote, the larger parties are increasingly struggling to get a majority. News coverage for this election has focused a lot on which potential coalition will be in power. A Conservative/Lib Dem coalition has proven very popular as well as a Labour/SNP coalition, despite Labour leader's claims that he will not be looking to form a coalition with SNP.
One of the major causes of voter apathy in the UK is that many people feel that the major parties do no represent the concerns of the lower classes or of racial minorities. Voters are disenfranchised by the similarities between Ed Milliband and David Cameron, whom many see as upper-class posh boys who do not understand the issues facing the common man. This has not just been an issue for this year's election - according to UK Political Info, voter turnout in the UK has been declining since the 1950's, 2001 had the lowest number of people voting with a staggeringly poor 59.4% turnout. Some have stopped believing in the promises that are being constantly made by politicians, a feeling not helped by the Liberal Democrat's broken vow to not raise tuition fees in 2010. With politicians constantly making the same commitments as their political rivals, many have begun to wonder if they intend to keep any of their promises.
The increasing interest in "third parties" in this election shows that some voters feel like there is finally a party which represents them. This could lead to a higher voter turnout, but unfortunately many supporters of these smaller parties feel that their vote will be wasted and there is a chance they might decide not to vote at all. With news outlets all over the country already predicting that there may not be a result to announce tomorrow evening as there could be no clear voting majority, this election could take days or weeks to decide as parties scramble to form a coalition. As the election becomes even more convoluted and the winner becomes even more dependent upon political scrambling as opposed to voting results, it could be that this will be the lowest year for voter turnout in the UK since 2001. #Government #Election 2015