Voting: There is NEVER a reason to be silent

May 22, 2014 in Activism, Politics, Slideshow

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I realise it’s been an age since I posted on here, but today I have had a few messages asking me to explain why I feel so passionately that people should exercise their right to vote. By the same token, I’ve seen a few disheartening statuses from people who feel such a sense of disillusionment with UK politics that they see no point at all in partaking in the election process. My answer to you is: THERE IS NEVER A REASON TO BE SILENT. 

I understand completely why so many people feel alienated from the political process, or so severely let down by those who claim to represent us. I understand that you feel that the politicians are in the pay of big business, that all the major parties are the same, that no one is representing your views, that the smaller parties and independents don’t stand a hope in hell, that the political system of our country is broken or, devastatingly, that you believe voting doesn’t change anything.

The way to fix this is not to stand silent. The way to fix this is not to step outside of the process. The way to fix this is not refusing or neglecting to vote.

I’m not going to tell you that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. But what I will tell you is that if you don’t vote, those who do WILL affect your life.

If you go to the doctor, if you enjoy a pint down the pub, if you are in education, if you use water, if you have a job, if you are unemployed, if you own a house, if you rent a place, if you have a child, if you are unmarried, if you are married, if you are childless, if you use electricity, if you have a car, if you use public transport, if you are religious, if you are atheist, if you pay taxes, if you are gay or straight or anywhere on the spectrum, if you are black or white or any other variation… POLITICS WILL AFFECT YOU. If you are alive, politics will affect you.

If you feel dissatisfied with politics, disengaging from the process isn’t the answer. It just means that the people who did vote get represented, whereas you don’t. It also means that politicians can and WILL go on getting away with what they want, riding roughshod over the views of the electorate because we appear to be so apathetic about the very decisions that are shaping our daily lives.

If you truly believe that none of the parties represent your views, if you cannot bring yourself to cast a vote, then please, I beg you, go into your local polling station and SPOIL YOUR BALLOT. You can even have fun with it, draw a picture or write something poignant or witty.

Spoiling your ballot is a valid way of exercising your democratic right. All votes, including blank and spoiled votes, are counted and announced in the results.

Unlike non-voters, blank voters cannot be dismissed as apathetic. You are making a statement. Please, if you are disillusioned with UK and/or EU politics, election time is the moment to improve it.

Polling stations close at 10:00pm tonight. Don’t run out of time to take a stand, however you vote.