This week is election week. Another election. They seem to come round all too often, and what’s the point in voting anyway? Why bother heading out to put your cross in a ballot box?
But voting is really important. Here’s why.
First, there’s the history to consider. The right to vote has been a long fight in the UK, slowly ratcheting up from only big land owners having the chance to vote in 1432, then including men with large rental tenancies in 1832, then all men over 21 but only women over 30 who had property in 1918, then in 1928, at long last universal suffrage for everyone over 21.
In nations around the world they still do not have some of the basic rights to vote and choose their government. We need to ensure we get out there on polling day and exercise our right to choose our politicians. We should not take this for granted.
Secondly, If you come from the most cynical of stand points, that politicians are only out to gain power, then let’s boil this down a bit further. If politicians are out to gain power, then they have to do this by appealing to those who vote. If you want to ensure that politicians implement policies for people like you, you need to ensure that more people like you vote. Politicians will implement policies for those who vote. If you’re 16 or 17, for example, then to get politicians to listen to you the best thing to do is to ensure as many of your friends as possible vote.
I often come across folk complaining about the local council, or the government who say they’re not going to vote as politicians never listen anyway. The very best way to convince politicians to listen is to get out there and vote. By not voting you let politicians off the hook. They don’t have to win your vote and you allow others to decide for you, who likely have very different priorities to yours.
In the Council elections in 2012 less than 40% of those eligible to vote turned out. Those elections were decided by a few hundred votes. A higher turnout could very well have seen a different result.
There is an election on 5th May 2016 and you should not let others vote for you even if you think they are going to vote the same way as you would – make your vote count by using it.