xx Stop the election frenzy – I want to get off

Today, I received an unwelcome piece of junk mail – my polling card. Why "junk mail"? Because I have absolutely no intention of making use of it. For the first time in over 40 years of entitlement to vote, I have decided to exercise my democratic right not to cast my vote for anyone. The reason for this is partly disillusionment with politics in general and politicians in particular. Frankly, I believe very little of what any of them says. Gordon Brown leads a tired and jaded government

However, my reluctance to vote has just as much to do with a weariness with the whole tedious process. My belief is that the media – press and TV – are largely responsible for whipping up an election frenzy that fails to connect with the apathy felt by many outside politics and the media. I have recently been training myself to switch on the news half-way through, but even this fails to work as the news editors decree that not only will the election be the lead item, there will be a return to it later in the programme. I am convinced that, even if Robert Mugabe was deposed, a tsunami engulfed the South Pacific and a pride of lions escaped from London Zoo, and they all happened on the same day, the lead item would still find the ubiquitous Nick Robinson discussing, with increasing intensity, the horsepower of Nick Clegg's battle-bus.

There is only one thing that would entice me to turn up at the polling station on election day – an additional box on the ballot paper. Beside it would be written, "I'm not interested. Go away and leave me alone". I strongly suspect that, come 6 May, the "don't cares" will outnumber those who have voted for the winning party, whichever that might be. In fact, I'd put money on it.

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DAVID HAMILL

Viewforth Place

Pittenweem, Fife

It was disappointing to note the same tired old rhetoric around lowering the voting age to 16 (Letters, passim), and it's the same old argument in the past that would have been used to deny those such as women and non-landowners the vote.

At 16, young people can leave school, work full-time and pay taxes, get married, join the armed forces and make lots of decisions about their future.

At a time when people feel politics isn't relevant to them, young people need to be encouraged to take part in democracy, not kept out from it.

Citizenship education, youth engagement campaigns and high-speed interactive media have made this generation the most politically aware and educated ever, but the number of people taking part in politics just keeps on dropping.

It's time we recognised the abilities of 16-year-olds, including them in society and showing them the trust and respect that society expects of them.

ALEX ORR

Bryson Road

Edinburgh