I woke up to the good news this morning that Seema Malhotra had won the Feltham & Heston by-election with an increased majority of 6,203 (making that a satisfying 8.6% swing from the Tories). Seema will make an excellent MP and a great representative for her constituency.
Obviously the vote did not reflect the recent poll-bounce for the Tories after their actions in Europe, but it does show one issue that plagues our elections. Turnout.
The turnout at this by-election was a paltry 28.8% which must have come as a major disappointment to all the candidates. Even though Labour managed to increase their vote and their majority, they wil need to analyse that even though a significant amount of work was put into this campaign, less than 1 in 3 people decided to vote.
Apathy is now one of the biggest players in our democracy and it must be the number one priority for all who are politically active. If we find it acceptable that 70% of a constituency fail to register a vote, then clearly something is very wrong with the way we do politics.