Letter: Reasons behind Tory election swings

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have long supported your correspondents' case for compulsory voting (Letters, 7 May). The outcome of the county council elections on 1 May makes me hesitate. The normal turnout at such elections is 35-40 per cent - from voters with a knowledge and interest in local government. In recent years in the shires this has produced a distinct move towards the Liberal Democrats.

On 1 May, because of the co-incidental general election, the county turnout rose to 75 per cent. Most of these extra shire "Tory tendency" voters, with little appreciation of county council issues, either stayed "true blue"or protested by voting for - and I quote from a voter - "that nice safe Mr Blair". Hence the Tory county council gains.

The natural turnout at county elections will only improve by switching funding progressively from central government to the council tax payers and by better media coverage and their recognition that council elections exist in their own right and are not simply an opinion survey on the popularity of central government.

JOHN PALMER

Councillor

East Hampshire District Council

Portsmouth,

Hampshire

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