THE BLOG

Democracy in Traction

07/05/2015 20:23 BST | Updated 07/05/2016 10:59 BST

Dear fellow voters,

Today we will decide on who will govern us for the next five years, and it will be the first general election that I actively participate in. In previous elections I felt that by voting I was condoning a broken system, the illusion of democracy, and I didn't want any part of the whole sordid affair. What's the bloody point? They're all the same aren't they?

And then the Tories got in.

I have to say I was reticent to speak up at all. I don't seek to be the target of trolls and my objective isn't to upset anyone. My opinions are no more valid than anyone elses, but I have a platform that most don't, and I'm regularly told that I should use it. I should be clear that I am not a Labour party member, and I find it easier to get behind the full-blooded policies of the more progressive fringe parties (among which UKIP are certainly not counted).

However, the first past the post system leaves me with little choice. In the constituency I live the Tories have held a marginal seat since 2010. The potential damage that another five years of Tory rule would do to our public services, the structure of our economy, our relationships with other countries around the world, and most importantly to the general wellbeing of the British people, is utterly intolerable.

I would like to vote Plaid or Green. But no matter how much I've been told not to vote tactically, these other parties simply have no chance of winning this seat. Additionally I feel that if I do vote Plaid or Green, and the Tories hold the seat, then I will have been instrumental in securing it for them.

What if the Tories get in? What if they get in a coalition with UKIP and the DUP? Jesus! UKIP say they want to close down our borders to immigrants. The rhetoric I've heard in my community by those who are planning to vote UKIP is "I wan'em all out". Who are exactly are "they all"? Is it black people, is it muslims, eastern europeans, Is it the Spanish, is it the LGBT community, is this about gender, is it about being able bodied? Where do they draw the line? The end point of their way of thinking is terrifying.

Nigel Farage has got a romanticised view of the past, that he wants to turn our future into: some Postman Pat paradise, where you know the name of the milkman; where you HAVE a milkman! It's 2015, Nige! Trying to turn back time is as futile as trying to get an energy company to lower its prices.

This country needs change. We need to sort out our house. The people are being ripped off and exploited by multinational companies, by the media, by our own elected officials, and all of this has got to stop.

Whether Ed Miliband and the Labour party are the right people to sort it all out is a moot point. David Cameron has presided over the most capricious, shambolic government that there has been in my lifetime. They are scandalous, and they cannot be the right people for the job.

So much of the electioneering that those on the right have done has been based upon fear. Fear of immigration, fear of economic instability, fear of welfare claimants and the unemployed. The politics of fear is the politics of control. If we allow ourselves to be scared of the bogeyman we will find ourselves isolated internationally, without a welfare system, and with an even more pronounced poverty gap than we already have. If the economic definitions of Left and Right are that the Left want to increase taxes and spend on public services, and the Right want to lower taxes and reduce spending on public services, then never has it been more glaringly obvious that the Rightwing getting their own way. Multi-national companies are paying less tax than ever before, whilst the NHS has already been carved up and is primed to be sold off. The trickle-down economics that we have unwillingly propped up since the 60s is so far from functioning as to make it farcical.

This election is important. Mostly it's important in that it can get lots of people engaging with politics. But it's also a massive distraction from the issues that really matter. With our short-termist outlook, how are we going to prepare ourselves for the oncoming challenges: climate change, future economic crashes that will be deeper and more painful than this last one, the way we help to sort out instability in foreign regions, the way we deal with foreign aggressors, global overpopulation, sustainability, and how we take to task those who have ripped us off financially for decades, those who have pilfered public money, those who have consistently failed to contribute (despite being the highest earners in society), those who run media monopolies and dictate government policy through the intimidating power of their influence, and those who've ve protected them all. What we all need to do is start engaging in serious discourse about these matters, before we really do go to hell in a hand-basket.

Mr. Miliband, incremental changes in tax policy are not going to change anything. If you are the right man for the job then when you get into Downing Street you should show the world that the United Kingdom can be a trailblazer in progressive politics, by implementing systemic reformand by fighting the excessive power of capitalism and putting that power back where it rightly belongs, in the hands of the people.

You can vote or not vote, that is your right. But please for the good of us all, engage.

Love to you all,

Charlotte Church