Health Warning! Soph didn’t like this when she read it because of the maths, but if one is making assumptions and statements the basis is essential.
This fuss about Electioneering, and Haines in particular I leave to later, but it does raise general questions. I have never voted in GB and voting in N.Ireland is more a case of tactical voting than choosing the guy you prefer. Anyway! To put the questions into perspective I will use some rough and ready assumptions and Maths. If the population of the UK is 60m, then roughly only 80% will be eligible to vote, say 50m. They do say, with apathy only 50% vote, and roughly, because of the system of government selection, 30% vote traditionally, so that only leaves 20% or 10m actually voting because they have a real preference. Let us assume that there are 3 people per dwelling, or 20m households and they each receive 3 fliers from prospective candidates and the fliers cost 20p to print, organise and distribute, then the cost of the fliers is £12m, of which only £2.4m are used effectively. This sort of reasoning applies to so much about electioneering. How many see the bus so lauded, on anything but a newspaper or TV? The same applies to the placard on a lorry, with the razzmatazz of unveiling. So, is all these thousands and millions there is such a fuss about, mainly wasted, or otherwise used?
Theoretically, on average every other person has a computer in the UK Inaccurately that would mean that there is one in every house, but, let us guess that 70% of houses have a computer being used by someone. Most households take newspapers. For the sake of those households with no computer, a token could be printed in the local newspapers, at government expense, to apply, post free, for a request for fliers to be sent to them. The BBC and Google provide localised weather reports daily at no other cost than buying time on broadband. It would seem reasonable at election time, they could provide a sub blog with a title like ‘theelectionwhereyouare.com’ on which all one had to do was type the post code and there would be all your candidates with their self-styled reference, especially if Google and the BBC were allowed to have a small advertising space. Those politically minded people who appear on the doorstep, and to whom some tell them what they want to hear to move them on, will be disgruntled if electioneering goes electronic. Their effectiveness, in the light of the above might be called into question, and a possible subject for a postgraduate degree. My opinion means nothing, but perhaps my questions might have some merit, like, if only, say, 20% of those eligible to vote, which amounts to 40% of those who do vote, are the ones who really have some effect, is all the money spent worth while? It comes from us originally, the unions in their sub, commerce in the cost of purchases and services, and do we still really get the governments we deserve, or has experience deadened our political senses? With the American system cost seems irrelevant, but here it is obviously a stumbling block, and perhaps if other means of getting the message across were employed, minimal government funding would be adequate. Currently I suspect the rural areas are poorly served. I once had to drive a colleague round a large county in winter, as he had to canvas 25 councillors to have a hope of being employed in the post. It was tiring, dirty because of the mud at the farms and, in the end, unrewarding.
With respect to Haines, I have obviously been foolish. I thought logically the PM selected a person from those elected, one he trusted, knew well and liked to work with, and whom he proposed to be his successor if he died in office. I didn’t realise that there was a race which required £100,000 to win, or, as in this case, even lose. You live and learn! Er – why the race?