There was a time when allegiance to a political party, at least in the UK, was held for life. Now, if people choose to vote at all, it seems that the political allegiance of the country alternates between the two main parties.
What is the reason for this? What is the reason for large scale voter apathy? Well, I don't claim to know everything, but I would argue that it is a focus on policy. In an age where politicians are more accessible than ever - too accessible, some would argue - we hear countless promises about what they will do if they are elected.
Unfortunately, the nature of parliament means that election promises are rarely implemented. The uncomfortable truth about politics is that those promises made during the election can easily be voted down or, worse, given up as unrealistic when faced with the reality of governing a country. As a result, the population get the idea that politicians are inherently untrustworthy and casting a vote in the election will make no difference to how the country is run.
The great shame is that, if you were to ask people to which political ideology they subscribe, it is likely that most would not understand the question. Can you, reader, explain whether you are left-wing, right-wing, centrist, centre-left or centre-right? Given the perpetual shift between left-wing Labour and right-wing Conservative governments in the UK, it would seem that a growing number of people either don't know or don't care about their political ideology. At the time of writing, our government is a coalition between right-wing Conservatives and centrist Liberal Democrats.
We have free access to more information, thanks to the internet, than ever before. If you're reading this, and are unaware of your ideological leaning, you owe it to yourself to do some research...
So, short term policy (which may not be implemented within the term of a parliament) or long term ideology? Please feel free to comment.