LondonNet News Headlines
29/05/01
The Business of Apathy
- Cross-party consensus dulls interest in election

MUCH has been made of voter apathy in the election campaign, with polls regularly predicting that turn out will be the lowest for half a century come June 7th.

One clue to the reason for such disillusionment came today when Labour and Tory party chiefs traded blows on their policies for business.

For the Tories, 150 leading business figures today signed a letter claiming Labour "posed a significant risk to Britain's future prosperity," while Labour dragged out Sir Alan Sugar, boss of Amstrad, whose comment that he had been a "tremendous supporter of Margaret Thatcher," but that "after her departure, the Conservatives lost their way," sums up the narrow ground on which most policy is currently debated.

Broadly, both main parties, and the third ranked Liberal Democrats, agree on major issues of economic policy. Even on the public services, all three are committed to similar spending levels, which is why Tory leader William Hague is forced to bang on about Europe and asylum seekers as ways to differentiate himself from Tony Blair.

But, because Labourites and Tories agree on vast swathes of policy from privatisation (yes please) to the future of welfare payments (let the individual carry more responsibility) such issues rarely reach the news agenda, helping to create a feeling among regular voters that their concerns are not shared by those in power.




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