Editor’s comment: Better turnout would be a better result

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 April 2018

Islington healthy streets hustings at Christ Church Highbury. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Islington healthy streets hustings at Christ Church Highbury. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK


Protesting Brexit. Quizzing politicians over cycle lanes. Speaking out against cuts to school funding. Joining thousands of campaigners to elect and support a Labour leader who has given the party its biggest shakeup in a generation.

Whatever your stance on these issues – and I know there were a number of differing opinions at Monday night’s transport hustings – it makes me absolutely delighted to see our pages so full of rage.

Not because I take pleasure in others’ anger (quiet at the back) but because it is so good to see a motivated electorate ahead of the local polls.

Turnout at the 2014 council elections wasn’t great. It ranged from 33.8 per cent (Bunhill) to 44.2pc (Highbury East). Turnout in every single ward was dramatically down on the 2010 figures (although those had been bolstered by coinciding with a General Election).

Since then, the political landscape has transformed. Surprise results have seen the UK vote to leave the EU, Jeremy Corbyn elected to lead the Labour Party in not one but two landslides, Donald Trump become one of the world’s most powerful people, and Labour win its biggest swing since 1945 in an election that was expected to demolish it.

While I have been more excited by some of these results than others, every one of them should serve as a reminder that democracy is not always a done deal, however beige and insignificant the differences between candidates may seem on paper. I understand feeling disenfranchised; I also understand not wanting to vote, or even and especially to register. But I hope the pages of the Gazette this week are a sign that we’re in line for a much better turnout this time round. Because we all deserve better than leaders that few of us voted for.

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