I get all excited on election day.
Today is local election day (not for all areas but for many) and also the Mayor of London vote, which I have no say in, but I think Boris is amazing.
So, off I trot after work to try and find my local polling station – there was one sign…right outside. I attempted a short cut which was actually the only way in so if I had gone the way the map seemed to suggest then I would have taken twice as long.
I could sense the danger as I stepped between the used nappies, super strength lager cans, empty baggies and seemingly empty syringes, oh and socialists, and made my way through the door, past two of the locals trying to get elected as my local councillor (the only two with a chance, Labour and Lib Dem – surprise, surprise the Tory wasn’t there), and I cast my vote…she nearly gave me two slips of paper but then obviously saw my bright blue trousers, realised I was a Tory and hence I was one of those only allowed one vote.
It was surprisingly busy actually, for a local election. Maybe 30-40% of voters will turn up. That is really good for a local election.
Anyway, with a heavy heart – I voted Lib Dem.
1. To try to keep Labour out.
2. As a thank you for supporting the Conservatives in government.
3. I actually like their policy of increasing the threshold as to where income tax kicks in, thereby reducing the tax I pay. I know this is a national thing and not local but I never got around to reading the leaflet they put through my door (actually I did but don’t remember much except something about a garden and an underpass).
4. Locally, I like the Conservatives pledge for a referendum on a mayor for Reading (does anyone else think I could make a good Boris?). Also probably the biggest fuck-up in Reading is the Labour-sponsored Shinfield Road traffic fuck-up which everyone hates except those in power that get kick-backs from Siemens Traffic Systems for installing traffic lights across the city. Sorry…town.
5. I think the Tories need a kick up the backside as I only rate their government performance as 5 our of 10 so far. Which is 5 higher than Labour managed from 1997 to 2010, but still, I had high hopes. I will be writing to them in due course.
We shouldn’t take democracy for granted. I don’t think people should be legally compelled to vote, as in Australia, but I do think it is one’s civic duty to at least consider it and pay a little attention to what goes on both nationally and locally.
Nobody needs to watch an hour of BBC Parliament every day, but this stuff they talk about affects your life and if you do not tell the politicians what you want, both by talking to them directly, and voting for them, you will not have your voice heard. Maybe you don’t want to be heard, that is fine and your choice in a democracy, but some of us, in case you cannot tell, have a lot to say.
I told the two candidates on the way out that I voted because Maggie told me to. The Lib Dem, who I met and recognised me, chuckled. The Labour candidate was none too impressed. Ho ho ho.
Though really I did it for people like Mohamed Bouazizi, who’s act of self-immolation changed the his part of the world (don’t Google it if you are easily up-settable) and all those who fought to get the right to choose our leaders.
I don’t have to risk my life for a stable future. Many did. I think voting is the least I can do and if I have encouraged one person to vote by writing this, even if they vote sodding Labour, then I have done my bit.
Enjoy the election x