This post is a bit more serious than my usual posts, but as the general election is coming up, I think is is important to talk about it. I also seem to be having lots of conversations with people at the moment who are registered to vote, but aren’t sure if they are going to vote, and it got me thinking.
I don’t need to tell you that Thursday is the day of the general election. Everywhere you have looked for weeks, even months, there has been publicity about who you should vote for and why. Every time you turn on the TV there is something reminding you about the politicians and their policies, campaigns and ideas.
I am not going to pretend I know anything about politics. I have done enough research and watched enough of the debates etc to know which way I am voting, but apart from that I really don’t know all that much about it. What I do know though is that each of us actually gets the opportunity to vote. This is an opportunity to have a say. The opportunity to make a difference.
There are societies around the world who do not have this privilege. There are countries where they have too many people and too few polling station so people camp out for days just to have the opportunity to have their opinion heard. There are countries where the people just do not get a say at all.
We are incredibly lucky to live in a democracy and no matter what you may think of each of the politicians, parties and policies, one of these parties, or a combination of them is going to lead our country.
In the last general election, only 65.1% of UK residents who had already registered to vote actually voted. That means 34.9% of people who had registered simply didn’t vote.
I’m not a political journalist, I’m not a mathematician, but even I know that kind of statistic could change everything. If that 34.9% turned up to vote, the majority could lean in a completely different direction, and even if it didn’t, we would then know that the winner of the election is truly the party that best represents the interests and priorities of the majority of our society.
Do we want to live in a society where all the decisions about how we live and how our country is run are made by a party that came to power possibly because such a vast percentage of the population didn’t use the opportunity to give their opinion?
Do we want a society whose growth and future are defined by apathy?
Even if we can’t affect those around us and get them to vote, we can do our part by turning up at the polling station and having our say.
Even if you don’t have much of an opinion, vote because there are people in other countries who don’t get a say. Vote because there are people who have died so that we have the right to have a say. Vote because living in a society defined by apathy is no way to live.
Let’s all do our part and head on down to the polling station on Thursday. Let’s make a difference.
For more information about the general election, the parties and politicians, and where to vote, go to http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting
For the BBC guide on the policies and who to vote for, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/manifesto-guide
I will now go back to my tea, possibly make some more cookies and turn on netflix – there’s only so much sensible I can do in one day!