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The information gap
11:21am Saturday 14th July 2012 in Letters
Imagine having £600 in your pocket and you want to buy a TV. Or a sofa. Or perhaps carpets for your home. How do you decide which one to buy? Each person may choose differently, but I suspect everyone wants to make an informed choice based on their own preferences.
In November, each household has that £600 (it is what each household spends each year on policing) and will have the option to exercise a vote in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which will have a profound effect on local and national policing in the future.
However, in order to make an informed choice, the only place you can obtain information on the candidates is a central website.
The Electoral Commission has told the coalition Government that giving voters the information they need is an area of continuing concern and suggests a booklet or freepost mailing instead. That makes sense when seven million people don’t or can’t access the internet.
The Government has not listened, however. Citizenship has been described as a three-legged stool made up of civil, political and social rights. The Government has ensured social rights are ever more conditional and meagre.
I hope the turnout in November’s elections does not reflect erosion in our political rights due to further disengagement and a lack of trust. I suspect it might.
Providing clear and accessible information on candidates is the very minimum that we should expect at important elections.
RKM Bridge, Holgate Road, York.
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