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Election antipathy?

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Will Cooper Will Cooper | 16:43 UK time, Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cambridge University colleges


By 5 live political reporter Matt Cole:

Harlow, Cambridge, and Birmingham. My little tour of places where the English local elections could get tricky for each of the main parties. Sadly I didn't get to Trumpington. I've not made it up - there's a sign to it outside Cambridge.

I'll go back at some point because the name conjures up rather a charming picture. But still, I didn't go - let me know @bbcmattcole if you can recommend it.

Meanwhile these could be tricky elections all round, not least because everywhere I've been people are seemingly united in being generally disgruntled with all our politicians, few parties excepted.

I've spoken to people in towns and cities across England over the last eight or nine days.

I would have chatted to more save the fact that when you stand on the pavement and wave a microphone around with a 5live logo on it, it can have the same affect as fly spray on bugs.

They don't collapse and die I hasten to add, they just run. But of those I stopped and spoke to (and please do if I ever try and collar you!) almost all expressed dissatisfaction with all our politicians.

If that view is more widely held than by those not afraid of the microphone, then I fear for the turnout on Thursday.

Last year just 41% of people voted. I stopped by the study of Cambridge University's politics professor Andrew Gamble on Tuesday. Sadly he's now based in a gleaming new building, so it wasn't a dark gloomy affair with leather bound chairs, a fire place and floor to ceiling ancient tomes and text books.

He did actually have a good shelf of books, but politely dodged my question when I asked how many were his. Anyhow, my point is that Professor Gamble said this antipathy toward politicians is genuinely something new - more than the age old dislike of them.

Possibly he said it's because he modern media spotlight now shines 24/7 allowing the public a long hard look at people they've now decided they're not too keen on.

So come Friday I'll be interested to see if that pavement peeved-ness has translated into a ballot boycott.


  • Comment number 1.

    My view is that the country the 5Live "team" would like us to view is the one we get bashed with all the while. I am beginning to believe John Mann and Tom Watson are the only MPs in the country 5 Live want to hear from. A good deal of it doesn't mean a thing to much of the population. Just as the country the Daily Mail push is one full of stereotypes and is unrecognisable to the 5Live UK audience and I don't recognise that country either.

    Or maybe this piece hasn't been edited yet and it will become a little bit more even handed. 41% voted, which although is not showing majority engagement, shows that spread across the country, nearly half the population was interested enough to vote. Half full, half empty, whatever.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.


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