No such thing as the ‘grey vote’
By Guest Blogger LEON SMITH
Executive vice president,
The pre-election period is always one which at best is entertaining and is sometimes surreal. We are faced with a succession of party leaders and other politicians tripping over themselves to make promises of what they will and will not do, should they be successful in the election.
Many of these promises/pledges are aimed at very specific parts of our society. Young people – the promises of reduced university fees; elements of society who are working in a lower paid jobs, thus the promise of an increase in the minimum wage and/or pledges of working towards the living wage. And of course the constant stream of promises regarding funding for the National Health Service.
Large numbers of lobby groups either formal or informal attempt with varying degrees of success to persuade the range of political parties to make promises which will satisfy their own vested interests in some way. We know that the political parties have varying degrees of concern regarding the turn out of their voters. It is often noted that many more older people vote than younger people, but do older people represent a lobby group?
Are older people one large homogenous voting block who will vote purely based on what is on offer for older people? e.g. changes in the rules regarding annuities or the raising of the inheritance tax threshold, or indeed contributions towards care fees? Many older people (there is some elasticity on the definition of old) will vote in the way they have always voted. The likelihood is that they will vote on wider political issues or on traditional lines which they or their families have always done. During the course of any Parliament many of us will not be happy with specific, narrow issues which we do not like, however, will these particular issues rank of sufficient importance to actually dictate the way in which we vote?
When it comes to the privacy of the polling booth, I think we are actually not influenced by minor or peripheral issues. Hence my belief that older voters will not be turned on, or off, by their interpretation of the implications of the Care Act, or indeed any other legislation or promises, geared specifically to older people. My suspicion is that there is no such thing as a grey lobby. It simply does not exist.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.