Age can also affect the way people vote. Generally, voting increases with age as people become more politicised about the world. Homeowners and parents especially, tend to turnout to vote because of issues that may concern them such as health and education. There are also large numbers elderly people who turnout to vote, generally called the ‘grey vote’. The reason that there are so many old people who turnout to vote is because of issues that seriously affect them, such as pension and the cost of providing services.
Also, in recent years, the local government have decided that because house value has increased, the more you will get taxed. This also applies to the elderly people and they feel that they are getting literally ‘ripped off’. So elderly people then get the chance to vote for a party which has a history of low taxations, such as the conservatives. Young people across the country statistically don’t really tend to turnout unless they think that they are being affected by government decisions. Only 25% of the people go on to university to study higher education, so the issue of top up fees will only affect a small minority of these people.
Also, young people who do not go on to study at university go on to get a job, or sign on and those who are working may feel that they are getting taxed to much, and those who are signing on may feel that they aren’t getting enough money form the government so, they also have a chance to have their say by voting. Also worldly events such as the War in Iraq or 9/11 can also affect a young person’s way of thinking and this also could affect the way they vote, however only a minority of the young people will be politicised enough by these issues to actually turnout and vote.
There is also a lot of apathy with young people, as they feel that their vote will be irrelevant or wasted. Within the ethnic minorities, there will be a higher vote from the younger people as they will be more politicised by issues such as the war in Iraq and 9/11 because it seems to affect them more as they may be Muslim or have a background connecting to these issues. With the middle aged people in the ethnic minorities, there is roughly the same amount of people turning out to vote compared to the whole electorate.
There is a higher evidence of volatility and this can be proven by the results of the by election in both Hodge Hill and Leicester South where the Liberal Democrats seemed to be more popular than Labour. The elderly people in the ethnic minorities have a history of low turnout. This could be due to several reasons such as the elderly people maybe illiterate or may feel that they are not British enough to take part in the British political process. Also, they may feel that their vote is irrelevant or may be wasted.
Living in an extended family could also be a reason to why the elderly don’t tend to vote as they feel ‘protected’ by the family, however, those with a history of working in the UK may vote. Another contributing factor to the way the whole electorate votes is class. The working class have history of voting for the Labour Party, and the middle/upper class have a tendency for voting the conservatives. The Tories were so successful in attaining power because they encouraged the working class to think of themselves as ‘middle’ class.
Even to this day, many people consider themselves to be ‘middle’ class rather than upper class. Historically, in the Asian community, there has been a tendency to vote for labour as the majority have been working class. This is also changing as more and more of the ethnic minorities are becoming more educated, and hence are moving up in the class system. There is great evidence of class deallignment because more people are going to university where they meet new people, especially middle or upper class people, and after mingling with them, a while later they can become much more politicised by the way the government runs.
Over the last 30 years, there has been tension between the working and the middle class. A typical example of this could include a coal miner who normally votes for the Labour party and sends his daughter to university, where she meets a lot of middle class people, and after returning home she tells her father that she is going to vote for the conservatives because she believes that they can serve the nation better than New Labour. Even in the Asian community or any part of the ethnic minorities and the whole electorate, the same scenario can happen.
In the North of Britain, large numbers tend to vote for the Labour party and as there is more poverty, the unemployed don’t really turnout to vote. However in the south, it is completely different as large numbers of the people vote for the conservatives. This is hardly surprising because in the North East, there is only one Tory MP. The Welsh nationalists vote for the Labour party and in Birmingham it is also the same. However in London, there is a mixture, some vote for the conservatives, and others vote for labour due to poverty.
Black people generally vote for Labour or another party as they see the conservatives as racist and remember the incident which took place when Margaret Thatcher was in reign in the 1980’s. About 10/15 young black South London children died in a fire, and she did not even raise the issue or pay her commiserations. Also, before 1895, in Brixton, there was a build up of tension between young Black people and the white police. The laws that the police used were known as the ‘sus laws’, where the Blacks were arrested on suspicion, and where treated very badly overnight.
This lead to the erosion of respect to white people, which was known as ‘saturation’. This decreased the votes for both the Conservatives but mainly for Labour as they were the party in power at the time. The same with the Asian community, where there were numerous documentaries on the racism that the police showed, especially in Manchester, Oldham, Bolton, Bradford and Blackburn, where there are strong Asian communities. All of these issues and behaviour can affect the voting of both the whole electorate and the Ethnic minorities, but the recent foreign affairs will most defiantly affect the vote for Labour in 2005.