2024 will be the year of elections for millions - at a time where democracy has never been more at risk

19 February 2024, 10:31

2024 will be the year of elections for millions - at a time where democracy has never been more at risk, writes LBC's Political Editor Natasha Clark
2024 will be the year of elections for millions - at a time where democracy has never been more at risk, writes LBC's Political Editor Natasha Clark. Picture: Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Half of the planet is set to vote in 2024 - more than any other year in history.

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Voters in least 64 countries including the US and the UK are expected to head to the polls in national elections.

Polls across the world from Russia and India to Ukraine and Taiwan will keep the news agenda jam-packed.

In fact, the international stage is at risk of so much shakeup that ministers in Britain have even put off holding an international energy conference until next year.

Tory strategists are of course considering when would work best to hold our own poll - working carefully around the American vote too.

However, I'm told it is not as high up on the list of considerations of when to pull the trigger as some reports suggest.

What will be of more importance for the Tories will be how our economy - which has just gone into recession - is faring, the NHS and waiting lists, and of course, progress towards stopping the boats and activating the Rwanda plan.

Most think the recession and failure to make a dent in the Labour polling lead means May is slipping away as a prospective date, with October and November looking much more likely.

David Cameron's lecture to them over Ukraine spending is just the start of an uphill battle to work with the incoming Nato-resistant Trump team.Meanwhile, across the pond, I hear our Brits in the US believe Donald Trump is poised to make a come-back when America goes to the polls, which will mean yet another huge shift in approach.

Labour, I'm told, are ill-prepared for who may have to become their allies across the pond in a few months' time.

They have strong relationships with the Democrats but there is some discomfort in some shadow cabinet circles at the lack of contacts in Republican spheres.

Brushing him off or dismissing his reach and importance won't bode well for them.

And five years on from our last poll, much has changed in the elections sphere.

Not least the risks which are emerging from AI and fake news.

I was told Sir Keir Starmer was so persuaded by his own AI deep fake video which claimed to show him swearing at staff, he even asked his team whether he'd actually said such hateful remarks.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan too has been the victim of one, where he was made out to have said Pro-Palestine protests should have taken precedence over Armistice Day.

He has openly said of the incident: "We almost had serious disorder."

Thankfully, politicians from across the spectrum came out to call the fakes out for what they were.

But while I, a staunch defender of democracy, will be looking forward to casting my ballot this year whenever the vote will come, I worry that for many, they simply don't share the same enthusiasm.

According to the Electoral Commission's annual report, more people in the UK are dissatisfied with how democracy works than satisfied.

There has been a decline in how many people think votes are counted accurately - no doubt in part influenced by our allies across the pond.

Three in four people think that's partly down to bias in the media.

And with the rise of attacks on MPs, there is evidently frustration in the way our political system itself is run too.

Needless to say, this is damaging to our democracy and we must do all we can to inspire their duty to the ballot box.

Sadly, many of our LBC callers see little difference between the two parties, feel they are all out for themselves, are too focused on infighting, or are simply fed up with politics as a whole.

I hope that our team of reporters and myself can in this, year of the election, manage to deliver to our listeners the stories they care about alongside plenty of informed debate from across the political spectrum.

You can hold me to it.