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.
I is for Igloos, Ignorance and Iguanas J is for Jason Statham K is for Kings and Kinkiness