Today is the European Elections. I’m not a member of any political party but I have voted in every election since I was franchised – unfortunately my vote wasn’t enough to bring down Thatcher but it was counted.
If you are undecided which way to vote I am not going to convince you of the best party (though I do urge you not to vote for Farage and the UKIP nutters).
What I will say, is you must vote – despite what people like Russell Brand say. If you don’t vote, how will your voice be heard? You might think, oh it’s just one more vote, what will that matter? You won’t know unless you vote.
We are really lucky to live in a democracy where we have a Secret Ballot Act and where citizens over the age of 18, male and female, are enfranchised. It certainly isn’t perfect but that is because MPs don’t reflect the people they represent – there are still far too many white, middle-class, middle-aged men. Their concerns will inevitably be different concerns to those outside that group. Like women. And black people. And students. And what about a black, female student? How is she supposed to feel when she wonders if she should vote in what might be her first election?
Just over 100 years ago Emily Wilding Davison, a suffragette, was killed by the King’s horse at Epsom. We should remember that many people like her died for the right to vote. So if you are able, then go and vote. It takes five minutes.
Here’s an interesting article written by Toni Pearce, NUS president