Submitted Articles.

This is an article from Gemma Davis.

The Problem of Apathy in Cilycwm

Apathy is a real problem for small Welsh villages such as our own, with residents often feeling disconnected from the events that are happening both within the village and in the wider world, and showing very little interest in them.  It is often reported in the mainstream press that it is important that remote communities in Wales are given a voice: this is a thread that is regularly ‘unveiled’ by politicians courting favour and hoping to localise their voting agenda. With the 2015 general elections fast approaching, this voice becomes even more important and most of the major political parties are appealing to those village residents about finding and using theirs. However unfortunately, even when that voice has been given, many villagers simply choose not to use it.

The Dangers of Voter Apathy

In last year’s European elections, which were our most recent elections, fewer than one in 3 (32%) of Welsh voters turned out and chose to vote. [2] To give that worrying statistic a little more context, that means that for every 100 people living within the village such as Cilycwm, a whopping 68 per cent of those individuals made the decision not to vote. There are reasons for this reticence to invoking your constitutional right and casting a vote: firstly, the European elections were given very little coverage in the Welsh media, whilst the General Elections generally do receive much more coverage. But whilst it’s easy to blame the media (they make a large and relatively easy target) the bigger issue is one of apathy: because voters in small villages feel disconnected from the issues they are being asked to vote upon and don’t see how the results of elections will directly affect them, they simply choose not to vote. [3] They instead opt to sit back and do nothing.

Apathy is Spreading

The apathy that local people are showing is not just limited to voting or engagement on a political level. It is becoming increasingly obvious that apathy is sweeping across all aspects of our community.[4] There is much widespread puzzlement as to why exactly fewer people are choosing to avoid not just the local polling stations but also the pubs, churches and even the sporting events within our local community. We are not becoming a more isolated people on every level. In fact, with the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook continuing to grow and grow, we are overtly at least becoming more social. It seems that local people want to be part of a larger community and have the opportunity to share their lives with others – including their loved ones and acquaintances they know less well. However this interest in sharing and forming a tightly knit community does not extend to actively socialising and engaging with those who share the same postcode. It’s easy to show care and compassion when you only have to click your computer mouse and type a few words, but compassion and engagement in the real world takes more time and effort. [5] However it is also more enriching and forging positive, compassionate and empathetic relationships with your neighbours can even be good for your health.

It’s Time For Change

Welsh communities are communities that need their voice and they are communities that are still important. Engaging with the village and being a part of your local community is the only real way of ensuring that our communities thrive and grow. So many people sit around their kitchen tables complaining about the way their villages are run or about those individuals in charge not only of the government but also of the local council. Instead of complaining, be a part of it! Create the change you’d like to see and you’ll find that not only you but your whole wider community will benefit.


Additional Reading                                 

[1] “General election 2015: 10 marginal seats which could reveal which way the result is going”, Wales Online

[2] “Dangerous Apathy”, West Wales News Review

[3] “Apathy means the views of the people will remain unknown”, North Wales Daily Post

[4] “David Williams asks: Why the voter apathy?” Wales Online

[5]”5 tips for improving self compassion”, recovery.org

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