Or should we stick with the traditional Thursday?
As part of the package of constitutional changes unveiled by Gordon Brown recently, possibly moving the day of general elections received a cameo appearance. It has been the convention for decades now that UK elections are held on Thursdays, although this is not laid down by statute.
Election days vary widely around the world, with Canada on Monday, the USA and Israel on Tuesday, the Netherlands on Wednesday and Australia on Saturday. Ireland seems to be the only other country that opts for a Thursday, Fridays seem non-existent at present, while the most common polling day is Sunday, which is standard throughout most of Europe and Latin America. European election nights are a much more civilised affair, with even big countries such as France, Germany, and Spain pretty much all complete by midnight-1am, although undoubtedly this is also due to the fact that votes are counted at a much more local level than in the UK.
So, should the UK move to a weekend? Would it actually make much difference in terms of turnout – mightn’t significant numbers of voters be away? Wouldn’t a much more significant reform be introducing four or five-year fixed term parliaments and removing the choice of election date from a sitting PM?
Finally, on the Betfair market for Southall, Labour currently trades at 1.68, the Lib Dems at 3.55 and the Conservatives at 4.2.
Paul Maggs “Double Carpet”
Mike Smithson returns on 16th July
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