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Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Destructive Power of Elderly Voters

I have been thinking about Clacton. The Conservative Member of Parliament for this English constituency, Douglas Carswell, has resigned thus forcing a bye-election - in which he will stand as the candidate for the United Kingdom Independence Party. He will win, overwhelmingly.

This has made me think quite a bit about the destructive power of elderly voters. They are a big majority of those who will vote in Clacton and a majority throughout England. And they are a threat to the future of their country.

They look backwards, not forwards, and in terms of narrowly selfish preoccupations, they win hands down. They want to know what's in it for them and that's about it - apart from some xenophobia which they have learnt from the Daily Express. They dominate elections so totally now that younger people don't bother to vote just as people who don't own their own homes don't bother to vote. They know that the political parties aren't interested in them.

For the forthcoming Scottish Referendum - please let it be Yes! - the voting age has been lowered from eighteen to sixteen which tilts things just a little in favour of those who might think about the future instead of the past.

I think we need to push things farther in that direction. We need to break the power of elderly voters. If we don't, we have no future.

So I make the following proposal. I am happy that the voting age should remain at 18. But I think that at 18, a new voter should start with a vote which will be counted as 100 votes. At each birthday, the value of a person's vote should reduce by one, so that an 88 year old would have a vote counted as 30 votes: 88 - 18 = 70 years older and 100 - 70 = 30 votes remaining. ( On this scheme, I would currently have 50 votes)

At a stroke, this changes the whole electoral situation and would force the political parties - a complacent, ostrich-like bunch of clapped out clubs - to confront a whole range of issues they would prefer to duck. Housing would be an obvious one, but others would include drugs policy, jobs, energy supply, transport infrastructure and climate change. That's just for starters. They might even have to think about their cosy little assumption that next comes King Charles III.

The same result could be achieved by a method which is not discriminatory in the way that the first proposal is. At eighteen, a voter starts with 100 votes - and that is their life time supply of votes for General Elections. How many they use in any one general election is their decision. They have to reckon that in their life time there will be around 12 - 15 General Elections. But instead of averaging out their votes, they can vary the number they use each time. So if they are desperate to get rid of Mr Cameron, or whatever, they can use 50 or even 100 at one go.

Oh I know these are outrageous ideas. But think about it. Do you really want to be ruled by the Dead Souls of Clacton?


Back in 1968, when students occupied the London School of Economics, one of the banners read, "Beware the Pedagogic Gerontocracy". I have just changed "Pedagogic" to "Electoral".

It would be interesting to map the changing age profile of voters at  General Elections since 1945 and how the voting patterns by age group have changed.


  1. With the utmost irony, it is the ludicrous nature of the ideas from your elderly self that is the most telling argument in favour of what you are proposing.

  2. I live in CLACTON and quite old but I am not a dead soul. :|