I would like to submit a postscript to the recent Law Society election in connection with the size of the vote.
A turnout of only 36 per cent does appear particularly low, familiar to all followers of municipal elections. And it is depressing to have to accept that the same level of apathy applies to members of the Law Society. The profession's lack of response is shameful.
The approximate percentages of the total electorate obtained by the candidates are not great - Mears 18 per cent, Hodge 13 per cent and Pembridge 5.5 per cent. This suggests no candidate had any particular appeal or that 64 per cent of the electorate was willing to accept any of the candidates. It would, therefore, be ill-advised of Law Society members to proceed as if Mears only appealed to a minority.
Perhaps the most baffling aspect of the result is that anyone thought the turnout would be in excess of 40,000 - between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of the electorate. Not only was this conclusion wrong but it was compared with the average turnout for trade union and professional body elections. Therefore, it is made worse by the fact predictions of double that figure had been made officially.
How could this have happened? The only explanation which occurs is that someone has looked at the total number of votes cast (which reached a figure for valid votes in the two elections of 46,140) and concluded that these were all separate voting papers, forgetting that in most cases, each individual item represented two votes by the same solicitor in two different elections.