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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

The return to apathy means we’re all doomed

This opinion piece is over 8 years old

Susan Smith wonders whether political apathy means we're all doomed, and invites you to prove her wrong at this year's Gathering

After the excitement of the 2014 referendum campaign, it’s sad that a survey from TNS Scotland this week suggested that many independence supporters will not bother to cast their vote in the general election.

Turnout at May’s election is expected to be around 64%, significantly lower than last September’s 85%. A total of 750,000 voters are expected to reject their right to vote.

For those who got caught up in the referendum, it is definitely disappointing to see that the energy has dissipated so quickly. It isn’t, however, surprising.

A referendum is a simple black and white concept, while the everyday business of running a country is much more complex. The mobile phone generation may enjoy a simple idea, but you can’t run a country, or even a city, with a yes / no tick form – something Edinburgh City Council found out this winter when just 1,719 people took part in its online budget challenge.

The mobile phone generation may enjoy a simple idea, but you can’t run a country, or even a city, with a yes / no tick form

Lets face it, politics is all a bit on the dull side too. Taxes, pensions, health services, education might mean something to some but nobody cares about them all. Politics needs passion to inpsire people to action, one of the reasons Nigel Farage generates more public and media enthusiasm than his more plausible political challengers.

So, does this mean we all doomed? If we can't be bothered to try to change things, are we destined to continue down a path to economic and envrionmental distruction? What do you think?

TFN is hosting a debate on this very issue at the Gathering on Wednesday 26 February. Chaired by comedian Elaine C Smith and with panellists including Daily Record editor Alan Rennie and Oliver Escobar, lecturer in public policy at the University of Edinburgh, it should be a lively discussion.

For those who are more interested in politics than the three quarters of a million apathetic non-voters, the Gathering also has plenty more opportunities to debate current issues. Carnegie UK will discuss the role of the third sector in the enabling state on both days while Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is hosting People power & practicalities of public service reform and debating Growth and fairness – today’s economic challenge on Thursday 26 February.

Cabinet ministers John Swinney, Alex Neil and Roseanna Cunningham will all be at the Gathering during the course of both days, as will Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy.

Finally, Robert Armour’s exclusive interview with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on issues ranging from funding to public services, will be available to read first in the TFN Gathering special.



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Ruchir Shah
over 8 years ago
The couple in the pic above don't look apathetic to me. They look absolutely knackered.