Thursday, 7 May 2015

Now I’ve actually stopped and thunked – and voted…

There is something extremely liberating about voting – especially, as in Tysoe, we can make up to ten of those important marks – and I don’t just mean the act itself (freeing you from any last-minute indecision); or the bracing rain (and now hail) on the walk home (I knew I should have worn my habitual hat); or chatting with friends and neighbours in the (extremely busy) Village Hall – you are, in one short moment, reflecting the hard-fought battles of our ancestors: and are therefore as equal and important as anyone can be with every other member of the electorate.

It doesn’t even matter if the votes you place (especially, here in bluer-than-blue Stratford-upon-Avon) don’t contribute to who gets elected. You have chosen; have registered a preference, your beliefs; and when the final percentages are in, it will be you, and people like you, who have made the difference. A real difference.

Despite all the negative campaigning; the convention of making promises that can’t or won’t be kept; the uncertainty; the likelihood of a hung parliament; the majority right-wing media casting aspersions that don’t make sense (and yet some gullible people are willing to accept at two-faced value); this is such an important day in our political history. It feels like a turning point – one that may lead to us finally having a written constitution; one that may lead to us finally having proportional representation (PR); one that may lead to people finally understanding how important every single vote is – and that not registering; not turning out; is an abnegation of not just duty, but that “hard-fought” heritage: you are not just letting yourself down….

I could say that I don’t care who you vote for: and in some ways that is true. But, of course, in an ideal world, you would vote the same way as I did…! All I would ask, though, is that you do vote, please – with both heart and mind fully engaged – and, if you have the time, before you do so (especially if you believe that voting doesn’t make a damned difference: as my cheeky quoting of Ken Livingstone, yesterday, suggested), also watch this short, but significant, video from Owen Jones. Every vote counts; and we should be grateful that it does; that we are a fundamental part of such democracy. Just remember to wear your hat.

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