Saturday, April 25, 2015

Blogging A to Z: V is for Voters and Voting

So let's talk about voters and voting because it's been an interesting time lately in the US with Hillary Clinton announcing she is going to run for the presidency and in the UK where we are on the countdown to the next general election on May 7th.

In the US it is going to be fascinating to see how women vote and whether Hillary's gender will influence the way people vote in the same way that colour appeared to do so in the election of Barack Obama. Here in the UK, we are one step ahead in our recognition of female politicians with the reign of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister between May 1979 and November 1990. Mrs Thatcher's policies divided the nation and, over twenty years later, their legacies still ignite the most furious and vitriolic debates. However, there's no doubt, that whatever the disputes, Mrs Thatcher will remain one of the most significant politicians of the twentieth century. Her legacy as a women who challenged the status quo and won is even greater.

Embracing change, whether it is on a personal level or as a society or nation is not always easy. We only need to look at the history of feminism and slavery to see that the path to change is often bloody and difficult. Here in UK it is evident we are in a period of political change - the last election resulted in the first full coalition since Churchill's wartime government. And now, as we face another election, no one can predict the outcome with any certainty.

This political uncertainty demonstrates how British voters are aware of the need for change even if they have not yet determined the way forward. Of course, some are focussed on personal circumstances but I think far more are also aware that as a nation, and as a global community, we need to recognise and respond to the increasing inequalities in the distribution of wealth and resources, the consequences of overpopulation and the growing certainty of climate change.

Personal and political change are two of the most consistent themes in my novel The Changing Room (hence the title). In the story, my heroine, Sandy Lovett, deals with personal loss and in doing so rediscovers the political beliefs that lay dormant in her years as mother and carer. Subsequently, when she stands for election to parliament it is a reflection, not just of her personal need to change and add value to her life, but also the need to change and contribute to society.

So to get back to the theme of voters and voting. I think it is very important that voters make themselves heard. In the last general election 65.1% of the electorate voted - but that means 35% did NOT vote and nothing makes me madder than people who moan about politicians and then cannot be bothered to vote. I don't endorse the Russell Brand school of thought that not voting is the surest way of showing public discontent and forcing change. I think it it is foolish to think the status quo will change that way in a democratic society and, unless Brand wants to incite bloody revolution, then the only way forward is to make politicians more aware, and more accountable, through the ballot box.

Like many people in the UK I have lost a lot of respect for politicians over the course of my life. Mrs Thatcher, whether you agreed with policies or not, at least commanded respect. Sadly, some of our recent politicians have been involved in seedy financial and sexual scandals beyond what any of us would consider accidental or affairs of the heart - and here is where our change must start. We need to vote into parliament dedicated men and women of integrity and honor. We need to vote into power men and women who, individually, are capable of putting their differences aside and working with others, if need be by negotiation at a shared table. We need to vote into power men and women who truly understand and accept the responsibilities their job entails and are committed to working for the good of every man, woman and child in this country and the wider world.

Your vote is your voice. Whether you live in the UK, the US or anywhere else, please use it.

(Normal silly service will resume on Monday with the letter W.)

You can check out the other Blogging A to Z candidates HERE.

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  1. You are dead on about voting. If you don't vote, you have no right to open your mouth about anything. I most definitely will not vote for Hilary Clinton in any election. I do not like her brand of politics nor trust her to steer America in a positive direction. In the words of country music poet laureate, Merle Haggard, we are like a snowball headed for hell. Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

    1. Thanks for your comment, Barbara. The worrying thing about people who don't vote is that they usually have an opinion but think they're one vote isn't enough to make a difference so they don't bother. I suppose that in itself is an argument for proportional representation which we don't have in the UK. I liked to see it introduced and a fairer system of representation. But no luck so far....

  2. I'm with you on the need to vote. My local area is extremely unlikely to change from its current labour status whether I vote or not. But if all the labour supporters adopted the stance that it wouldn't matter and didn't vote and all the other parties managed to get their supporters out to vote things COULD change. You can't be part of the debate if you don't vote. I also agree that we could do with some honest politicians for a change.

    1. I think this election might have a bigger turnout, Wendy. (65% was the biggest for years) Unless of course people go for the Russell Brand option. I don't think they will though - too much at stake I think. We have a Tory MP here but he is one of the few with an excellent reputation so I think he'll stay in although the local council has a strong contingent of lib dems and independents. I haven't seen any campaigning for the lib dems here so I think that means they're giving the Tory a free reign and hoping for another coalition. Have heard quite a lot of mutterings about UKIP though.

  3. "nothing makes me madder than people who moan about politicians and then cannot be bothered to vote So totally with you there. Anyway now your elections are done and the results apparently surprising. Anyway, here's to a rejuvenated UK.

    1. A rejuvenated UK would be good, Sue but I think we have along way to go. I'd like to see a parliament that is truly representative of the people. That appears to be a long long way away.

  4. An even worse turn out this year in the UK! You're right we do need change, and not voting isn't going to bring about change. I'm a big believer in if you don't vote, you can't moan about the outcome! I love your header by the way :)
    Popping by on the A to Z Road Trip


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