As the ballot boxes are put away for another year in Kidsgrove and Newcastle-under-Lyme we can now look back on an election season which has actually delivered some very telling and decisive decisions locally in Kidsgrove.
The main talking point is sadly not who has won the Kidsgrove election or Kidsgrove By Election, but the appallingly low turnout which blighted all the elections in the Kidsgrove area.
The latest election to take place this week was the Kidsgrove By Election, which was forced upon Newcastle Borough Council following the conviction of Kyle-Noel Taylor. This election recorded a turnout in the Kidsgrove Ward of a shocking 18%, despite this being an election in which all 4 candidates and parties spent a great deal of time trying to get Kidsgrove residents out to vote. When we delve further into this 18% we actually learn that 32% of the votes cast where from postal votes, which means that only 7.28% of the Kidsgrove electorate actually turned out and voted on the day.
It has been reported on this site and others locally in the past that a By Election cost to the taxpayer is around £2500. If this figure is to be correct, this actually means that the cost of each vote in the Kidsgrove By Election was £2.67, which compares to just 47p if every electorate in Kidsgrove was to cast their democratic right to vote. This makes each vote 568% more expensive than it is originally calculated to be on paper. Of course this £2500 is a fairly conservative figure as researching this topic suggests that the true cost of a by election like the one in Kidsgrove could be costing as much as £4000, which makes those figures not even worth thinking about.
So of the result we have learnt that the winning party in the Kidsgrove by Election was apathy. It managed to poll a massive 82% of the vote. So what does this mean? Is the vote like this because people are happy on the whole with what is happening? After all, some observers suggest that voters only go out and vote when they want change. Or, maybe voters just feel let down with the whole political system at the moment and have little or no faith in anyone or party in the political system.
It doesn’t get much better if you look back at all of the elections in the Kidsgrove area for the previous week. The turnout in wards was appalling once again with the majority of wards seeing less than 25% of voters bothering to cast their vote. This once again ensures that apathy is overwhelming winner. So before the winners get too carried away with their success, they should stop and reflect on the real figures. What are they going to do to try and connect with those voters who currently feel that Kidsgrove elections have nothing to offer them?
Out of interest it was Labour who was the political party victors in Kidsgrove taking all the seats on offer and ensuring that they now hold all 12 seats which the Kidsgrove area has at Newcastle Borough Council. This does mean that no longer can Labour be the party who moans about what they “would do” and needs to demonstrate to Kidsgrove “what they are doing”.
I’m sure like many Kidsgrove we shall watch in hope that Labour can reduce that voting apathy figure, when the next elections come about.