Why we should vote in the general election

Election fever has gripped the country’s media in the UK; indeed, it is hard to avoid the glee of broadcasters and reporters who are revelling in the stories that the impending general election on 7th May is generating. Politicians are touring the country kissing babies – and feeding lambs – and the polls reveal that the count is going to be tight and perhaps genuinely unpredictable. Still, despite the enthusiasm of the Duracell-bunny-like media pundits (or perhaps because of it), it can be extremely tempting for ‘ordinary’ people simply to switch off, to wonder what it all has to do with them, and to doubt that their single vote is even worth casting.

Well, whatever we think of the media coverage, here are 5 reasons why we should all vote:

People have died to give us the right to vote. The World Wars of the 20th century were all about freedom, including the freedom to vote, and the suffragettes spent years campaigning to give Women the vote. If we don’t vote, or we waste our vote, we dishonour our past.

Voting gives us collective power. Our preferred candidate may not always win, but if we take our responsibilities seriously and research the candidates carefully – their parties, their policies, their opinions, their integrity – then we are better able together to make the right choices for people who will represent us in Parliament. If we don’t, we can’t.

Our MPs are local as well as national – they are supposed to help fight important local issues with national clout – voting for them means that we expect them to work positively within our own local community.

Voting reminds Governments that they are chosen to represent the people. The more people who vote, the more keenly the Government must recognise that it is the people of the country who have placed them in a position of power, not the machinery of politics itself. A lower turnout distances a Government from that tie to the people.

It is our responsibility in a democracy.  Not every citizen in every country has the right to vote. We, on the other hand, have the right to vote for whomever we want in free and demonstrably fair elections, and – above all – this is we why should value this opportunity to vote and exercise our right to do so.

It is not long now until 7th May. Plenty of time to reflect and prepare to cast our votes.

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