Nearly half of voters feel “alienated” from Britain’s political parties and have admitted they will not vote for any of them, according to new research.
Sparking concerns that a disillusioned Britain is turning into a politically apathetic nation, the survey suggests public political scepticism is not just limited to the major parties – but also extends to smaller parties more likely to win “protest votes.”
In the latest monthly ComRes poll for The Independent, voters were given the option of choosing the three main parties, along with the UK Independence Party, the Green Party, the British National Party, Respect, another un-named party; no party or saying “don’t know.”
In a rather grim outlook for the 2015 general election, of the 1,900 people asked, an “alienated” one in four voters said they “hold sceptical or deeply sceptical perceptions of standards and do not trust those in public life.”
Posing worrying questions about the future of democracy in the UK, the stark results showed older people are much more likely to vote, with young adults being even more “disengaged” with British politics.
As 46 per cent of under-30s said “none of the above” when presented with the list of political candidates, fears have now been raised about a record low turnout at the polls in 2015.
The survey warned that “an entrenched political disenchantment… appears to have acquired a growing foothold in the British public.”
The research, carried out by TNS-BRMB for the Committee on Standards in Public Life, questioned whether the results show a “rejection of the system of representative democracy and for democratic norms.”
Lord (Paul) Bew, the crossbench peer who chairs the committee, told The Independent the rejection by Britain’s youth represents a real challenge to politicians, parties, local organisations and community groups.
The public must be presented with better options he said.
Public office holders must be seen “to be demonstrating the seven principle of public life – selflessness, accountability, objectivity, integrity, honesty and leadership,” he said.
Andrew Hawkins, the chairman of ComRes, said the evidence all points to people being turned off by the traditional party system.
“It seems that the traditional ways for parties to connect with people, and the young in particular, are failing.”
Russell Brand has already made waves with his call for a revolution, encouraging people not to bother voting.
“Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites,” he wrote in his revolutionary call.
“I will never vote and I don’t think you should, either,” he concluded.
But what the comedian has urged has been branded “not only daft but dangerous.”
Writing for the Huffington Post UK, the journalist and broadcaster Robin Lustig said: “The truth is that he has nothing to contribute, other than the self-satisfied smirk of a man who knows he’ll never go hungry or be without a home.”