Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why I won't be voting on May 6th

I have voted in every single election bar one since I turned 18 - my first vote was in 1987 for Bob Maclennan in Caithness and Sutherland.

However, I will not be going to the polling station on May 6th. My vote for Charles Dundas is assured, though, and not just because he's a very nice man and one of my best friends. He stands for true fairness: raising the tax threshold to £10,000 making a big difference to those on lower incomes, a fair start for every child in school, building a fair and sustainable economy and cleaning up politics once and for all.

I will be voting by post. I just had the letter today confirming that my ballot paper will be sent out around 27th April. The reason I always have a postal vote goes back to the one election I didn't vote in. That was the 1997 election campaign in Chesterfield which was around 20 miles from my home. A fabulous campaign it was too, with brilliant people and an HQ right next door to a very good Italian restaurant. Last thing at night we'd order our food and they'd serve it up and we'd take it into HQ and drop the plates back later. I've been lucky to work on some great fun campaigns in my time and this was one of the best.

Anyway, I ended up staying there for pretty much the last week of the campaign. I had thought about getting a postal vote but my husband told me not to be daft, of course I'd get the chance to vote. Yeah, sure, on a target seat on polling day, I would be able to take 2 hours out to go home to vote. The agent would have killed me! I reckon Mrs Pankhurst wouldn't have been too mad, though. We did reduce the Labour majority to around 2,500 which laid the foundation for Paul Holmes winning the seat in 2001 and being a brilliant, hard working, wise MP ever since. Nevertheless, I was not pleased that I hadn't had my say.

I was determined after that that I would never ever again miss the chance to vote so I have always had a postal vote since then. That was very handy as Anna was due very close to the Euro elections in 1999 and in fact we took her home from hospital for hte first time on polling day.

You just never know when something is going to come up at the last moment which might mean you can't get to the polling station - you might have to work late, or your employer might send you off on a course at the last minute, or anything. So it is worth signing up for a postal vote. This site tells you how and you have until 5pm next Tuesday to get it sorted.

That's the same deadline as to get on the register - so if you're not registered to vote, don't miss the chance to have your say. Remember these 32 million reasons to be cheerful - people who are now going to get health insurance for the first time because President Obama won the election in 2008. And how did he win? Because people who hadn't voted before turned out for him because they believed in him. Nobody can change the whole world in a single term, but Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and the Lib Dems offer a real change from the pesky labservatives we've been stuck with forever.

1 comment:

Hythlodaeus said...

I'm also not voting this year. Due to living in temporary accommodation arrangements, my vote is registered at my mother's address.

Just as well really, because there hasn't been anything from Edinburgh CIty about registering (or if there has been, the lease holder hasn't told the rest of the flat).

I am going to miss walking into the voting booth and making my mark. I know it's very romantic of me, but I always find it empowering to make that one little change.


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