Following from my recent ‘political’ post, and due to it being national voter registration day in the UK yesterday, I want to show you just 5 of the many reasons why you really SHOULD get registered and vote…
1- You are VERY lucky to have a vote…
Up until the ‘Representation for the people Act’ in 1928 in the UK which extended voting rights to women over the age of 21, the vote was restricted to a small minority of the population; traditionally (and unsurprisingly!) to the rich male part. The fight for universal suffrage was a long and hard one, which saw martyrs fall and high prices paid. As a female, I am particularly thankful for the tireless work of the Suffragettes, blazing a trial for feminism to explode in several powerful ‘waves’, a movement we are still feeling the shockwaves of, I think, and hope we will continue to! Thankfully, now in the UK, unless you find yourself in a prison cell on ballot box day, you can skip down to your local polling station, and add your voice to the melody made by the ‘demos’ using their ‘kratia’.
However, in many parts of the world ‘democracy’ is a foreign concept. The people don’t get to choose who decides things for them and, especially for women, no provision have ever been made for them to have a legal right to a ‘say’. Often, these people suffer in the worst way under cruel regimes, think of North Korea/Syria etc. People across the world are extremely limited in what they can ‘say’ or express about the system they live under and so, in solidarity and recognition of their plight, I believe we should use our privilege to A) vote and B) make a ‘noise’ for those who cannot.
2- By not voting, you allow a tyranny of the minority…
Ever wondered how UKIP got seats as European Parliamentary representatives? It’s because people with more moderate ideology didn’t turn up for the European elections (May the 22nd this year, just to let you know). So now we have the ‘extreme few’ who want out of the EU, having a major influence over what the UK says in it!! Creepy, huh?!
(A note especially for young people/students like myself) – If we continue in our apathy and don’t use our collective voice because we are sulky about the Lib Dems forgetting their promises on tuition fees, we will end up with another government that enjoys seeing us squirm, making further cuts and causing tuition fee’s/cost of housing/cost of staying alive to further rocket – then we will REALLY have something to feel sad about.
3- It is SO fun!!!
ESPECIALLY on GENERAL election days 😉 The whole country seems to hold its breath and all you hear people talking about in Tesco’s is ‘That Mr Cameron’, ‘economic strategy’ or (at college) ‘tuition fees *followed by various swear words* – which is kind of weird considering we have decline in voter turnout?!
You get lots of random flyers through your letterbox which all claim to do the same thing and you can enjoy disputing everything that canvassers say on your very own doorstep.
Then, you can pop along to your polling station and put your ‘X’ where you think it will mean the most – so simple!
The TV coverage is always great also, I, who am no appreciator of late nights, am quite able to stay up to watch the results roll in with a tub of ice cream and some popcorn – its so good 🙂
4- You WILL be affected by the policies of whatever party gets into power…
We have all heard that excuse that ‘all the parties are the same, they won’t change anything’.
Well the coalition government certainly have. Blair’s New Labour spent 10 years doing it, and ask anyone about Thatcher’s government, and thy will tell you how great/horrendous her governments policies were. Politics is what changes things – it’s what kicked the crown to the side in the 17th Century to (theoretically) give the people the power. And the parties which have the potential to be our new directors in 2015 WILL make changes that WILL affect EVERYONE – for the good or bad.
5- You have NO RIGHT to complain if you don’t – you tacitly consent to whatever they do…
Socrates spoke about this indirectly when he gave the reasons of his acceptance of Athens judgement on him to his crying friends. If one has lived in a place since birth, benefitting from it and abiding by its rules, one cannot, when a rule is exacted against them, contradict one’s previous devotion by arguing ‘that’s not fair’ – even if you live in an unfair system.
You have to either change things in a law-abiding way (i.e using your democratic voice through voting/getting involved in local politics/ campaigning etc….
Or leave 🙂
To say, ‘I’m not going to vote because all the parties are the same and they won’t do any good’ is like saying, ‘I’m not going to make a sound because, legally, I am accepting whatever is delivered by the next government, and consent to its influence over me.’ They are synonymous and require an indifference to everything, your leaving the country, or using your voice and PARTICIPATING in the most simple way possible!!
There are SO many more reasons why voting is important – the Russell Brand’s of this world might proclaim that apathy is ‘cool’ but, actually, it is limiting to individuals – a double-dose of passivity which will take power from where it should be, and place it where it is best separated from.