Harbinger Banner

Well being - help with keeping your mind healthy

Dr Brenda Dawes-Burritt (Psychologist)

1 November

You might have noticed me doing some research this month. After all that's happened this year it seemed like someone ought to observe the voting decisions of the villagers and see if there was anything psychological we could learn from it as a real life experiment.

So that is why I set up stall in the New Inn on voting day. Thanks to everyone who answered my exit poll. And - in case anyone was wondering - I was recording data on my tablet not reading naughty novels. Not that I am embarrassed by that.

For me the interesting thing was not the result so much as the reasons you gave for it (those who were willing to, Ms Reedman and her friends should know I wasn't trying to make any point at their expense).

Well - if my results have any scientific integrity, here's why Doreen lost:

  • Her supporters appeared to come in two types:
    • Those who were impassioned by her message of building a more middle class, honourable village. These were mostly women and the more docile sort of husband. There were more of them than you might expect and most of them had already voted by 11am.
    • Those who were seriously miffed [Word adjusted - Ed.] by something which had been said personally about them or a close friend in previous editions of the Harbinger. As was demonstrated, to my own cost, that can take quite severe forms.
  • Against this was a wide alliance of disparate interests who mobilised in favour of Fran.
    • Those who simply dislike Miss D Davies or some of her supporters. I'll say no more, beyond observing that despite her probable expectations and despite deploying the beauty of Ms Nuttall at all her campaign meets, Miss D Davies failed to command the male vote. (In passing - female voters outnumbered male by 4 to 1, so this was not such a big issue as it might have been. Perhaps the real story here is that Miss D Davies failed to mobilise her male support to vote at all). This was a largish group but not enough to match the queue of supporters Miss D Davies had co-ordinated in the morning.
    • A (small) cadre of committed liberals and free-speechers. Not enough to make a difference.
    • Workers and more highly educated villagers returning from the cities. These votes came in a rush around 6-7pm, at which time, it is fair to say that Fran's future was looking bleak. They largely supported Fran on the basis that Miss D Davies' manifesto was packed with things like knitting circles, selling off land and dull concerts. As most people probably prioritise dinner after work there weren't enough of these voters either. By eight, with one hour to go, Miss D Davies was going to win.
    • The ordinary villager. The young, the uneducated, those who visit the Ship Inn, those who play in bands and drink cider in the park. Those who turn up to vote only when someone makes a desperate pitch to them. Those who really, really despise everything Miss D Davies stands for. It's amazing what Alia Morrow and Fiona Davies can achieve if they bury the hatchet long enough to work together. Forty votes came in after eight. And I'm pretty sure every one of them went to Fran.

What psychological lesson can we take from this? People don't like being told what to do. They don't like people who think they are better. But mostly, people won't normally bother to do anything about it of their own volition.

There was an aspect of the quiet majority speaking here, in a way that is slightly frightening. What would happen to our world if the masses were released from the grasp of apathy? I believe that has often been the source of Revolution.

Articles from other months are linked from the side bar.

Please address all communications for the attention of The Editor, The Mews Office, Market street.

We have a box at the post office for ideas and notes.