Politicians, not voters to blame for rising anti-political culture in UK

March 11th, 2009 - 5:41 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar.11 (ANI): Two leading experts have said that they will argue at a debate at the forthcoming Economic and Social Research Council’’s Festival of Social Science (March 6 to 15) that the blame for the rise of an anti-political culture in Britain rests with politicians not with voters.
Politics has become “depoliticised” because key decisions have been sub-contracted to independent bodies immune from scrutiny, according to Colin Hay of Sheffield University and Gerry Stoker of Southampton University.
Hay and Stoker, acknowledged authorities on British politics and government, will explain the sources of the current political disaffection and offer ideas for what might be done to re-engage citizens in democratic politics in front of an audience on March 12 at the event at the Showroom Cinema, Paternoster Row, Sheffield.
Titled ”Re-engaging citizens in democratic politics”, the evening event aims to create an interactive debate between the presenters and members of the audience.
Professor Hay, author of Why We Hate Politics, said that he and Professor Stoker, author of the award-winning book Why Politics Matters, will give brief presentations, before giving the audience an opportunity to debate.
“The event is designed to stimulate a lively discussion, about what might be done to re-animate our polities and to re-engage citizens in democratic politics, especially the young ones whose levels of participation are currently the lowest,” he says.
Their views assume significance in the wake of voter turnout at the 2001 and 2005 General Elections being 59.5 percent and 61.4 percent of the electorate respectively, the lowest ballot box participation since the Second World War.
Hay and Stoker will tell the audience that politicians are wrong to blame the contemporary political disaffection on a decline in civic virtue or on political apathy.
“Politicians offload decisions to others because they no longer trust themselves to govern effectively and in the collective interest,” says Stoker.
“Electoral competition has increasingly been reduced to the level of a beauty content between candidates whose claim to distinctiveness is based less and less on differences in political conviction and a substantive policy platform,” says Hay.
“If we are to reanimate and revitalize our politics, then we need to recreate the space for public and visible decision-making. In short we need to recreate the space for politics.” (ANI)

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