Better to shop than to vote

No wonder politics is out of fashion. It’s the consumer that has the power
By Noreena Hertz
Published: 21st June 1999

Fewer than one in four Britons voted in the European elections; turnout, though higher in most EU countries than here, slumped across the continent. In last month’s Scottish and Welsh elections, turnout was remarkably low for what were supposed to be historic events. Eleven per cent fewer people voted in the English council elections than in those four years ago. In the Leeds Central by-election this month, the 19.6 per cent turnout was the lowest since the Second World War. In the May 1997 general election only 71 per cent voted: again, the lowest number since the war. Political apathy reigns. Yet last month, one million people voted via the Internet and a freephone number to change Kellogg’s Choco Krispies brand name back to Coco Pops. Are we more passionate today about shopping than about politics?

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