Brian Edwards Media

Lazy – or just plain ignorant? Why the under-25s aren’t voting.

More than a quarter of the under-25s haven’t bothered to get themselves on the electoral roll.  Again. The media and the politicians are wailing that they’re not showing civic responsibility, that they’re not exercising their democratic right, that they don’t care about politics. Again.

Every election year we go into this chant about the irresponsibility of the young; every election year we seem surprised that the same old pattern reoccurs, as if some miracle or mind-shift might have happened in the ensuing three years.

Well, we shouldn’t be.  We should be amazed and grateful that so many young people actually do enrol and vote, because we’re giving them damnall incentive to do so.

In other democratic countries Civics is taught in secondary schools. The kids learn how government works nationally and locally, how policy is developed, how it becomes or fails to become law, and the part citizens play in determining their own future.

In New Zealand first-year Law students have to be taught all this, first-year Politics students have to be taught all this – and nobody else gets taught this at all.  So it’s not very surprising that our young people have little or no interest in politics. It’s very hard to be interested in something you don’t understand and even harder to become interested in something you know nothing worthwhile about.

Of course they always have the endless knee-jerk opinions of those around them. They may listen, may parrot, may believe. It’s what they do believe that’s the worry.  If they listen to the voices in the bars, the voices in the street and the voices in the workplace what they’re likely to hear is that politicians are rogues and vagabonds, that those in Parliament are intent on making our lives as difficult and as costly as possible and that there’s no point in voting because one lot is as bad as the other.

I’ve known a lot of politicians in my life. I have yet to meet one who has gone into Parliament with the intention of doing anything but good for the country. I’ve never met an aspiring politician who was in it for the power and the glory. Well, maybe one – no, make that two – but I’m not telling.

Most of our politicians work insane hours and spend a lot of time being nice to people who are difficult and unpleasant. Many of them take huge pay cuts for the privilege of doing so. They sacrifice their social lives and often their marriages. We repay them with scorn and derision.

They’re not going to put up with that sort of thing unless they really believe in what they stand for, unless they really believe that they can make a difference. And they can make a difference, in small and incremental ways.

One of the ways they could make a huge difference is by introducing Civics into schools as a compulsory subject, as it is in so many other countries.

That way our kids and grandkids would have a basic understanding of how the country is run, might start to have some opinions about how it should be run, and might feel impelled to take a few minutes to exercise their democratic right to vote once every three years.

,

36 Comments:

  1. I’m surprised in your long career Brian, you have never met Winston Peters!

    BE: I’m not sure what this refers to, David. I’ve met Winston Peters on numerous occasions, though I’ve only interviewed him once. As it happens, Judy and I now live in his former house. (We have had the exorcist in.)

  2. Sorry Judy I mean. Just saw the initials.

    JC: I did mention two exceptions. But I’m naming no names. You’ll all have far more fun working it out. Though I’m ready to bet you won’t get one of them,

  3. One thing that I don’t think gets considered is that young people tend to move around a lot – flatting situations or short term renting. Many young people forget or can’t be bothered updating their enrolment details.

    Voting could seem like “hard work” or just something that people who actually feel attached to and involved in their society do. Many young people feel a sense of belonging to an international community as opposed to a local or national one. There is much less local interaction in today’s world for young people – much of it is done internationally.

    I was taught civics in 3rd form Social Studies. But that was at age 13 and most of my classmates would have forgotten it all by the time they turned 18.

  4. I have met a lot of young people who don’t or won’t vote; however they do like to complain and most fail to see the irony in it.

  5. I’m not sure that civics education is the only answer. How people participate in politics is changing to some extent. For example, people are much less willing to join formal, hierachical organisations and much more willing to engage in elite challenging political activities.

    Dave Mesline has a really great TED video about apathy and how the political process activly encourages disengagement. (http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_meslin_the_antidote_to_apathy.html?awesm=on.ted.com_9dOZ)

  6. My Dad is always asking me if I’m enrolled to vote, even though every time I angrily yell at him, “Of course I vote!” And then he forgets and asks me the same question the next time the topic of politics is brought up. Which makes me wonder, did he vote when he was my age?
    How does today’s statistic of 2/3 youth enrolment compare to previous generations?

  7. In my previous occupation as a commercial photographer, once during the Muldoon years, I was commissioned to photograph a well known politician’s publicity photos prior to an election. I went to the polie’s home during the day and took many family group pictures. At the end of the session he remarked with a grin “oh well off to save the country”. He wasn’t known for his sense of irony.

  8. I agree that civics should be taught at school, However I disagree with some of the sentiments in this article. I am a young person (26) and I have voted in every election I have been able to.

    A larger reason behind the lack of participation among younger people is not the lack of civics education but a sense of disenfranchisement. Serious issues like climate change and resource depletion are highly likely to affect our lives and not, to a large extent, those of the people running the country. I acknowledge that this has often been the case and is not a new phenomena. However the issues at stake, particularly with regard to climate change, resource depletion, and to a lesser extent the economy will affect our live is a more profound way. Limp decisions are being made (globally as well of course) by people who have no real stake in preserving the future. The short term gain for long term pain economic model seems to have seeped into politics. The baby boomers (and I mean no offence) have really done over the future generations and unfortunately continue to do so. Young people don’t feel they can vote on the issues that really matter when they are voting against a tide of opinion based on experiences most of us will not be able to have. Things like buying a house are beyond our reach. Many of us start our professional lives under mountains of debt as we are forced to pay just to have an education (which is effectively an absolute requirement). We are asked to (and we should) pay for an aging population, while our politicians, and some of the older generation, vote to cut taxes, remove social welfare, and altogether gut the mechanisms that would help us do the very same thing. These people who had the benefit of free education and a number of the systems and institutions they are now willing to dismantle. On top of this we are constantly denigrated as the iPod generation who have lost touch with reality.

    On top of this, any political education, or even information we hope to glean from the major Newspapers is largely partisan, and helps to solidify the image of politicians as no-hopers and frauds.

    This is not a woe is us post, and nor does it justify not voting, in fact it should drive young people out to vote. However I think there is a deeper current of dissatisfaction, not just of the present but for the future we are largely being shoved towards. It is not simply a matter of a lack of political engagement due to a lack of education in certain areas. It may not be a conscious position for many of us, but it is certainly there.

    Reading back over this, the compression of this argument into a blog post does it no favours.

    BE: “Reading back over this, the compression of this argument into a blog post does it no favours.” Maybe, but a very thoughtful comment nonetheless.”

  9. Sam, I think you forget that older people had views in their 20s, and they may not have been so dissimilar to your own. Take a look at the history of the Values party. The issues have not changed, the degree of urgency may have, and the issues will continue to be the same for the next century, but some may assume greater urgency.

    Maybe we just need to learn from the Libyan conflict, I suspect the under 25s are going to vote in Libya when they get a chance.

  10. Could it be that the 25% who haven’t enrolled are the 25% who have left NZ and wont be coming home again courtesy of twenty + years of NZ Govt matriarchal and patriarchal anti youth legislation?

  11. You’re either into politics or you aren’t. I wouldn’t mind betting that there are quite a few people of all ages who won’t be voting come election day. They are simply not interested. It would be interesting to get a breakdown of those who don’t vote by age and socio-economic status. Personally, I’d rather people didn’t vote if they have no desire to and they have no idea why they are voting.

  12. In fact, the site below does provide a breakdown of voter turnout by age, income, employment, race, etc. At the last election, about 76% of eligible voters voted. That means a fair chunk – nearly a quarter – didn’t vote.

    http://socialreport.msd.govt.nz/civil-political-rights/voter-turnout.html

  13. 13

    I really agree with Sam that the issue of a low level of youth enrolling to vote is in part due to a sense of disenfranchisement. Although, MMP does counter this to a certain extent as it encourages a wider variety of views to enter into parliament. This is a highly complex issue and it does not necessarily come down to one factor, such as the need for a civic education. If we want to meaningfully we must consider the wider spectrum of reasons for people not voting.

    That said, I completely agree with the underlying premise of this article, which is that there is a need for civic education in schools. I really knew NOTHING about the voting system and the way parliament actually works until I started off at university and a lot of my friends who do not do the same courses as me still have little to no idea about how everything works (I have had to explain numerous times how MMP itself works among other things). This to me seems to be one of the most basic things which needs to be understood in order to participate within our society in a meaningful way (if you do not understand how something works how can you meaningfully engage with it or critique it if you do not think it works effectively). For example being able to make submissions to select committees is the perfect opportunity for people to voice differing opinions about legislation. The problem is that a lot of people are simply unaware that this is possible, so despite the fact that we have these processes in place, they become less meaningful if people do not even know that they are there.

    On a side note people do need to realise that those who don’t vote are not necessary apathetic about politics, but genuinely do not agree with any of the parties positions (I think this is a very legitimate position). We should have the option of no confidence in order to differentiate people who genuinely do not care about politics and those who do not agree with parties policies, like they have in Australia.

  14. Teaching “civics” on top of all the other things that parents opt out of is really going to get Tolley excited.

    Most kids, most of the time learn their attitudes and behaviour patterns from their home and cultural environment, schools come a very poor third.

    Teaching “civics” is not likely to change voting patterns very much among the young.

    Most humans under the age of 25 are suspect.

    Do we really want them to vote?

  15. Now, c’mon most people under the age of 25 are suspect. Do we really want them to vote?

    Parents appear to be asking schools to keep doing more parenting, to hell with education.

    Children learn more about behaviour and attitudes in their home/cultural environments than they ever will at schools.

    Voting is not a priority issue in most homes.

    Teaching “civics” plus all the other life skills that parents do not do will never have any influence on the voting or non voting behaviour of sub 25s.

    Hate to say this JC and BE it could be an age related worry.

  16. Sam makes some good points but when I read about ‘baby boomers’ my eyes just glaze over. How dare people lump together at least two generations and attribute to them all kind of advantage that was only available to a select few. Why should the young know that most of us born after the war entered a grim period of food rationing and totally inadequate education. Certainly the well off and the silver spoon brigade carried on their lives little troubled but they were a minority.
    Things got better but that was because we fought to Improve our conditions. We did this by combining together in trade unions and forcing the rich and powerful to here our voice. Through all history the rich and powerful have never given anything unless they were forced to do so. The young generation of New Zealand have been conned into rejecting Unions by people who carefully keep to their own associations. The professions the employers, the manufacturers the farmers all have strong unions behind them. It is just the wage slaves of this country that they believe should not be able to bargain collectively. You have only yourselves to blame.
    It seems to me that civics should be taught in schools. Thouse who achieve a required standard should be rewarded by.being given the vote at sixteen. This would provide incentive and kick start what hopefully for many would be a life long habit.

  17. You all seem to be forgetting that an individual cannot (or rather, is incredibly statistically unlikely to) affect an election outcome. Even if there are parties that you whole-heartedly support, your vote makes next to no difference to their chances of being elected. Thus, unless you fool yourself into thinking you make a difference or get a “feel good” vibe out of your vote, there is no personal benefit in voting. If the young are abstaining from voting in greater numbers than others it’s because they’re smart enough to realize it’s not worth it.

    (It’s also worth noting that civics is taught in the US, a country which has a much lower voter turnout than NZ. Perhaps understanding the system makes you more likely to realize it’s not worth participating in?)

  18. @peterlepaysan

    I sincerely hope you are joking.

    @Bidrom

    That is a completely fair comment, particularly as regards my comments about baby boomers. I’m not entirely sure that ‘we’ (referring to young folk) ever had much of a choice about unions and collective bargaining. I have a feeling that these were largely gutted before our time. That said, it is completely true that many young people vote on an assumption of future prosperity, which may or may not come to pass. In that regard there is a lot to answer for.

    I do agree that there is an assumption floating around a minority that we have a ‘right’ to a prosperous future without having to work too hard at it. We should really be fighting hard for our own futures. However there is a silent majority of young people (I hate quoting Nixon but it is a useful turn of phrase) that do work hard for their futures, that are engaged and that think of alternatives as opposed to simply complaining. However, just as I foolishly lumped all baby-boomers together, all young people are often lumped together in the same way as spoiled brats expectant of a life of leisure without too much work.

    However, most of the category of young people we are referring to were born around 1985 and only had the opportunity to vote or have a proper say around 2003. The destruction of many of the things you fought for did not happen in the last 8 years, it is something we inherited rather then caused.

  19. Sam what a complete load of bullshit. The paradise you think baby boomers enjoyed did not exist. We were born after a devastating world war that left most of our parents scratching to just get by let alone prosper. Many learnt valuable lessons of self reliance, saving, taking whatever job you could get, and passing those lessons on to us, their children. Many of these basic personal values have been lost due to relative prosperity and state nannyism which removes the need for you to worry about where your next meal will come from. We worked, often part time, to finance our higher education, and when we emerged into the workforce we were confronted with never ending strikes. Now the ipod generation worries about how many minutes remain on their smart phone, and whether they feel like paying back their student loan, advanced by us, the taxpayer. Oh dear, you can’t afford a house in the CBD, close by the cafes and your friends. As a kid coming to Auckland, we lived first in exotic Henderson, where we had to clear our section of gorse first and then half build our own house. Go and get a latte and then go and get a life.

  20. It’s an understandable weakness we all have to attribute labels. It’s so convenient but not very helpful to informed debate. We all share a responsibility to ensure the principals of a fair and equitable society continue, and we can do that by exercising our civic responsibilities. We don’t have to look far, backwards or sideways, to see the results of leaving it to others. Civilization is a thin veneer and is easily ripped away even in the best regulated societies. It is understandable that a first past the post voting system leaves people feeling short changed but our present system and our small population this should not be an excuse not to participate. While people are risking and giving their lives for the right to vote in Arab countries a large proportion in our country thinks it is too much trouble to exercise a right they have never had to fight for. In the meantime the smiley man looks down on us from his blue board, but like all good con men while he smiles he has a hand in your pocket, searching for your wallet. Staying at home on election day will change nothing.

  21. Sam, your comments here are so “on the mark” that I swear you’ve been in my head;

    “… The short term gain for long term pain economic model seems to have seeped into politics. The baby boomers (and I mean no offence) have really done over the future generations and unfortunately continue to do so. Young people don’t feel they can vote on the issues that really matter when they are voting against a tide of opinion based on experiences most of us will not be able to have. Things like buying a house are beyond our reach. Many of us start our professional lives under mountains of debt as we are forced to pay just to have an education (which is effectively an absolute requirement). We are asked to (and we should) pay for an aging population, while our politicians, and some of the older generation, vote to cut taxes, remove social welfare, and altogether gut the mechanisms that would help us do the very same thing. These people who had the benefit of free education and a number of the systems and institutions they are now willing to dismantle. On top of this we are constantly denigrated as the iPod generation who have lost touch with reality. ”

    100% correct.

    In fact, it is a point I raised in a piece I wrote, on this matter, back in August: http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/greed-is-good/

    Personally, I would not blame every young New Zealand to leave this country and head overseas. The social contract between generations has certainly been well and truly broken.

    As for Judy’s suggestion about adding Civics to the curriculum – prior to 1984 I would have agreed enthusiastically.

    However, now I wonder; what is the definition of “civics” when we have voters who elect a government on a promise to cut taxes, instead of investing in areas to eliminate poverty? Create jobs? Put every jobless person into polytech or University (or High School, if they lack certain skills) for re-training?

    How “civic” minded are we, as a nation, when there seem to be numerous reactionaries who scream in panic at the thought of lifting the minimum wage – as if it’s somehow Marxist-gone-mad?

    And how civic-minded are we when a penguin or sign on a Wellington hill, elicits a greater response than cutting $280 million from Early Childhood Education?

    Personally, I think we may have missed that ‘boat’. For far too many of us, “civics” may be a foreign concept and the cult of the Individual is ascendant.

    Hopefully I’m wrong.

  22. It’s not just the definition of ‘civics’ that needs looking at but also the definition of ‘education’. Have we been so brainwashed by the right that we now believe that education in our schools is restricted to areas that employers might find attractive. What happened to turning out a well rounded responsible and thoughful youg minds.

  23. @ Rick,

    A certain Monty Python sketch springs to mind. I was doing that awfully foolish thing, where I was not speaking for myself but for what I felt was the opinion of my generation. As for myself I worked full time throughout University to keep my student loan minimal. I returned to New Zealand to study but grew up predominantly in Austria (I fear the Austrian side of my family could tell you a thing or two about growing up after a devastating war)

    “The paradise you think baby boomers enjoyed did not exist. We were born after a devastating world war that left most of our parents scratching to just get by let alone prosper. Many learnt valuable lessons of self reliance, saving, taking whatever job you could get, and passing those lessons on to us, their children.”

    Not sure this responds to anything I said. It is a point which (without commenting at all on its correctness) begs only the question, if your parents were so instrumental in passing these values to you after a hard slog, why the hell haven’t you passed them onto us (especially given that you state rather unequivocally that we lack them).

    “Many of these basic personal values have been lost due to relative prosperity and state nannyism which removes the need for you to worry about where your next meal will come from”

    Any use of ‘nanny’ and ‘state’ should be looked at sceptically. Is this the ‘nannyism’ that was put in place after the second world war to assist people in rebuilding their lives and getting back on their feet. Is it the same ‘nannyism’ the gave birth to welfare, public healthcare and pensions that was designed to help your parents (and yourself) “scratching to just get by”. The same ‘nannyism’ that saw the reinvigorating of Europe (and I suppose here and Australia as well) after the devastation. Now the same ‘nannyism’ that successive conservative governments have sought to dismantle and take away from us gen Y spoiled brats.

    “Oh dear, you can’t afford a house in the CBD, close by the cafes and your friends.”

    A response to a point never made. I’m pretty sure I referred generically to buying a house.

    “Go and get a latte and then go and get a life.”

    I think perhaps, that you should re-read my comments. Then you should acknowledge that you clearly have a preconceived idea about younger people and that it is actually pretty offensive. It is interesting to hear how hard your life was but terrifying to think of the manner in which you employ those memories of hardship, seemingly to justify mistreatment of others.

    My life wasn’t a walk in the park either. I also pay taxes, but unlike you I am happy to see them go to making a better, safer and more equal society.

  24. @Frank Macskasy

    Enjoyed that article very much, thanks for the link.

  25. The demographics underlying Non-Voting in New Zealand:

    Admittedly, this data is more than a decade old now (from one of the 1990s New Zealand Election Surveys by Political Scientists Jack Vowles and Peter Aimer), but I’d be surprised if the social characteristics of non-voters has changed much.

    The survey includes ALL non-voters (both (i) those who enrolled but didn’t vote and (ii) those who didn’t bother to enrol in the first place):

    (A) DEMOGRAPHIC BASIS OF NON-VOTE:
    (sub-groups with highest non-vote percentage…..followed by those with lowest):

    (1) Age
    18-24 years 29%, 25-34 years 24%…..65 and Over 8%, 55-64 years 7%

    (2) Ethnicity
    Maori 33%, Pasifika 27%…..Pakeha 15%

    (3) Religion
    Other (meaning: religion/denomination other than four largest Christian denominations) 26%, No Religion 24%…..Anglican 15%, Catholic 14%, Methodist 14%, Presbyterian 12%

    (4) Household Income
    (divided into seven income groups)
    Group One (Lowest Income) 37%, Group Two (2nd Lowest Income) 23%…..Group Six (2nd Highest Income) 9%, Group Seven (Highest Income) 6%

    (5) Occupation of Household Head
    Manual Wage Earner 26%…..Managerial Salaried 10%,Professional Salaried 9%

    (6) Respondent’s Work Status
    Unemployed 37%…..Full-Time Paid Work 14%, Retired 9%

    (7) Benefits
    Three or more 27%…..One 16%, None 16%

    (8) Home Ownership
    Rent State 37%, Rent Private 33%…..Own with Mortgage 12%, Own Freehold 11%

    (9) Marital Status
    Single 30%…..Married 14%

    While Age and Ethnicity are important, Vowles and Aimer place a particular emphasis on Income/Occupation/Class.

    Also, some interesting attitudinal differences on reasons for Voting:

    (B) REASONS FOR VOTING
    (V=Voters, N=Non-Voters)

    (1) It is a citizen’s duty to vote
    V = Agree 78%, Disagree 8%, No Opinion 14%
    N = Agree 26%, Disagree 28%, No Opinion 46%

    (2) Voting is important even if it makes no difference
    V = Agree 82%, Disagree 8%, No Opinion 11%
    N = Agree 43%, Disagree 18%, No Opinion 38%

    (3) Your Vote really counts
    V = Agree 83%, Disagree 4%, No Opinion 13%
    N = Agree 34%, Disagree 15%, No Opinion 51%

  26. 26

    Bandar Seri Begawan

    “Most of our politicians work insane hours and spend a lot of time being nice to people who are difficult and unpleasant. Many of them take huge pay cuts for the privilege of doing so. They sacrifice their social lives and often their marriages. We repay them with scorn and derision”.

    The “scorn and derision” comes from promulgating that. And actually believing it. Somewhere between ridiculous and risible.

    And you wonder why the < 25s can't be bothered to vote?

  27. To vote, or not to vote….that is the question….
    Is’nt it just simply amazing, that when a contriversial subject is bought to the discussion table, how many people resort to servere emotionalism to justify their points.
    It is said, that a nation gets the government that they deserve, I would subscribe to that trueism. Recently, I was returning home when a car passed me by. It’s number plate, “MEB4WE”. If this is an accurate representation of singular national sentiment, maybe we should be looking to ourselves for the answer to absenteeism voters.
    Lets not fool ourselves into a false sense of beliefs, that if we only…
    Charity always begins and starts at home. If we are tought to regard ourselves as a nation of people, rather than a nation of classed individuals, we would go a long way towards solving this nations crisies.
    And if you think, “My vote wont do any good”, then here’s another quirky quote, “The walls of Hell are paved with eyes, all turned the other way”.
    This is our country, we owe it to ourselves, our children, and future posterity, to vote. It is our responsibility to do so.
    And, every vote counts….belive me.

  28. I have a family member who’s eligibility to vote (mercifully) falls due just after the next election. She thinks Dan Carter is the only one worth voting for because unlike John Key or Phil Goff, he’s hot. Whatever the hell that means.

    I’m with peterlepaysan, though I think it’s probaly OK to let teenagers vote if they first pass some kind of awareness test. I have a number of them on my staff: they all think the minimum wage is a good idea. If too many teenagers were to exercise their democratic rights everyone over 50 will be in deep do-doos.

  29. Sam is of the view that his generation feels disenfranchised; that “Limp decisions are being made (globally as well of course) by people who have no real stake in preserving the future”

    Well, Sam welcome to our world. When I was your age young people felt disenfranchised on such issues as the Vietnam War, nuclear diasarmamaent and the environment (it is not your generation, Sam that discovered the environment; Rachel Carson wrote ‘Silent Spring’ when you were not even a twinkle in your father’s eye).

    And, sorry, Judy, I do not buy your argument about the nobility of purpose on the part of politicians; they cling to office long beyond the point of being able to do any good.

    “The short term gain for long term pain economic model seems to have seeped into politics.” It has not seeped into politics; it has been there for as long as I can remember. I was young when the UK Tories coined the phrase “you’ve never had it so good” as the country lurched between boom and bust. Ever since govenrnmets have been elected by the bulk of the population the focus has been on short term economic gain to ensure re-election. Read a bit of economic and social history before making statements like that.

    Many of the things you enjoy and now take for granted have been won for you by many of those baby boomers you reckon have done you over. Strangely enogh many of these baby boomers have fought bloody hard for the environment. There is quite a lot of us who also feel disenfranchised now. It’s part of life I’m afraid. I can only suggest that there are parts of the world where you might feel a damn sight more disenfranchised.

    So when you are in your dotage, Sam, and some 26 year old whippersnapper starts moaning about feeling disenfranchised or being done over by what ever particular label is attached to your generation remember what you wrote. In the mean time do what young people have always done and that is to fight for change and to make the world better and hope like hell as you grow up you don’t feel disillusioned and give up.

  30. This is it new.

    Way way back in the 1980s I did a politics course on voting behaviour and the research then was that people under 25 disproportionately did not vote – that was research on voting behaviour in the 1960s and 1970s (some of it from the USA, some from NZ). At around age 25 something changes in people’s lives, making them connect more to established political processes.

    Also, I agree with the poster who said non-voting is not necessarily apathy. It can be a positive political statement. My partner never votes, because he says no one represents his point of view, and it doesn’t matter who is in power, they don’t fix what he thinks is broken. The Electoral Commission did some research on non-voting in the 2005 election and found that a significant minority of non-voters did not vote as a deliberate political act.

  31. i think more people would vote if politicians weren’t such a bunch of limp wristed wet eyed nancy boys.

    I dont really feel any desire to vote for someone who will back down or push through half arsed laws that try to please everyone.

    i think pro voters seems to forget that we are all just apes hell bent on a path of self destruction.

    whats the point of voting for a better tomorrow when its going to super shit anyway?

    its like everyone fighting over who gets to eat the rotting hamburger.

  32. I think Danielle makes a good point around the validity of not voting. I have often voted for “best of a bad bunch” maybe it would be more authentic not to vote. Another option would be to have some kind of Null vote option “None of the above” it would be interesting to see the results.
    Daniel – you take Danielle’s point deeper into despair about the whole human race (or apes) I think its fair enough you don’t vote but suggest you try something more energetic than despair like burning some of that supershit/rotten hamburger down. That would help heaps – truly.

  33. I’d just add James adds to the very valid notion of despair in saying one vote doesn’t amount to squat.

  34. Danielle said (much earlier): “That said, I completely agree with the underlying premise of this article, which is that there is a need for civic education in schools. I really knew NOTHING about the voting system … This to me seems to be one of the most basic things which needs to be understood in order to participate within our society in a meaningful way”

    Well, neither did I, so I set about finding out. Why is it someone ELSE’s responsibilty for something as obvious as self-education? You need to know something? FIND OUT.

  35. @ Sam.

    Thank you.

    @ Zinc,

    “I’m with peterlepaysan, though I think it’s probaly OK to let teenagers vote if they first pass some kind of awareness test. I have a number of them on my staff: they all think the minimum wage is a good idea. ”

    Soooo… people should vote if they agree with you – otherwise not as all? Hmmmm, isn’t there a name for that kind of political system?

    And yes, I happen to think raising the minimum wage is a good idea as well. For one thing, low income earners would have more disposable income – good for your business, eh?