In this essay Paul Richards observes that voter disengagement, particularly among the urban working class, is effectively bringing about the reversal of the Reform Acts.
He argues that traditional politics is being rejected by those who need political solutions the most. The reasons are manifold, but the implications have not been grasped by political campaigners. The paper stresses that canvassing is often an unwelcome interruption, and a new approach is needed: permission campaigning. This involves building relationships with party activists, members and voters over time, based on ‘permission’ granted through previous engagement.